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EC&I 831 Final Project, EC&I 831 weekly reflections, Posts October 2013

Preparing for a new adventure: teaching students to blog

Tuesday, October 1, 2013 our EC&I 831 class participated in a session called An Introduction to Blogging with edublogger, Sue Waters .  Ms. Waters shared why people blog, the benefits of blogging, and taught us about blogging etiquette.  I ended the evening’s class feeling rejuvanated and excited about blogging, as well as, ready to share my new knowledge.  But with who? 

Low and behold the “who” arrived in my inbox the very next morning!  One our middle year’s teachers contacted me as she was interested in exploring new ways to motivate her students to write.  In addition, she felt she needed to branch out “getting more with the times”, moving away from traditonal paper pencil work.  Her ultimate goals were: get students excited about writing, engage in the writing of others, and integrate technology.  My mind was screaming “Hello blogging!!!” 

During our session Tuesday night, Ms. Waters shared with us the Audience Effect quote by Clive Thompson: when students write for a real audience, other than their teacher, they put more thought into it.  My teacher’s willingness to expand her comfort level with technology meant that we could meet her goals by: teaching her students how to blog and how to respond courteously to the blogs of others, all the while teaching them the etiquette of blogging and netiquette.

The teacher and I conversed back and forth this week on how she would like to utilize technology more as a tool to reach the outcome and indicators of our Curricula.  As a result, the teacher and I have decided that the first blogging assignment, once we have taught them how to set up a blog, will be for her students to blog about the readings they have been doing in class or on their free time, (she has very avid readers in her class). Though we could have decided to use a Wikispace or Voicethread, we wanted something that would serve multipurposes and continue to evolve.

After reading Reader Response Meets New Literacies: Empowering Readers in Online Learning Communities Larson 2011 The Reading Teacher Wiley Online Library, we are curious to know whether the mechanics of the students’ writing will improve (spelling, punctuation, organiziation)? Will they write more frequently?  Will they contribute or comment on the writing of others?  Will their writing increase in length and in depth?  Will they enjoy writing online through blog posts or will they want to return to using their paper and pencils?

However, before we begin on this blogging journey, I have a few questions.

My questions are:

  • What blog site is appropriate for middle years students, in regards to ease and security?
  • Can a teacher have full control of what is being posted?  To clarify, can the blog posts first go to the teacher and then he/she gives approval prior to them being posted?

Any thoughts or advice will be greatly appreciated!

Mmmm….maybe this could be my final project for EC&I 831….

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About amandahassen

I have been working in the field of Education for the last 11 years. I am presently working as a Curriculum, Instruction, and Assessment (CIA) consultant. I am enjoying the research and the collaboration that this jobs entails.

Discussion

10 thoughts on “Preparing for a new adventure: teaching students to blog

  1. I am excited to hear more about your blogging adventure.

    Posted by jackiesakatch | October 5, 2013, 9:59 pm
  2. Yes! Blogging has definitely enriched my approach in the teaching of writing! Last year I fully launched student blogging. I would recommend Waters’ Edublogs. It allows you to have full moderation of posts and comments, as much as you like. I found it fairly easy to use, though not quite as user friendly as Blogger, in my opinion. I definitely found my students were (generally) motivated to write, and enjoyed commenting on one another’s posts. I emphasized the response aspect almost as much as the posting. I love that blogging allows for easy interaction between students and teachers, and also gives kids personal, real writing to read and respond to! I also gave parents the “homework” of leaving comments on their child’s blog. I loved this interaction, too. Have fun with this! Let me know if you have any questions!

    Posted by Harm | October 6, 2013, 1:49 am
  3. If you are in China, this activity is so easy to be controlled as most Chinese students will choose to post contents as their teacher’s preference. However, I’m not sure in Canada, as I found students here are very independent and free in their minds. About the on-line security, it’s difficult to ensure it due to the Internet property, but it might be better to ask them to open their blogs through the same platform. Good luck!

    Posted by liufeivip | October 6, 2013, 3:31 am
  4. Hi Amanda

    Glad my session helped. You can read about the different platforms used and why chosen here -theedublogger.com/2013/08/08/the-state-of-educational-blogging-2013/

    You can moderate all comments and posts so nothing is published before it is checked by a teacher depending on which platform you use and how the blogs are set up. On Edublogs you do it using My Class -theedublogger.com/2013/10/03/create-and-manage-student-blogs/

    Posted by Sue Waters | October 6, 2013, 9:33 am
  5. Hi Amanda, it’s very interesting for me to learn that blog is incorporated into this classroom. As for the second questions you raised, I think that students might need teacher’s guidance in terms of on-line privacy and proper content. For the first few blogs, it’s probably not a bad idea that teachers have a look at what the students have to say first before they post it online.

    Posted by chxmaria | October 6, 2013, 11:38 pm
    • Thank you for your response Xi. Our school division is very conscious about teaching our students about netiquette. Students of all ages (including adults) need to learn what is and is not appropriate for sharing online. Because of the settings on some of the blogging sites, we will choose one where all student posts and comments will first be approved by the teacher. This will protect both the students and the teachers.

      Posted by amandahassen | October 7, 2013, 3:44 pm

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