Tuesday, February 5, 2008

921-Session 2

Welcome back!

I hope you don't feel too overwhelmed with all of the references and links I sent you. Your first assignment, Deliverable #1, is due before next Tuesday morning (2/12). The details are in the syllabus and summarized here:

Deliverable #1 will be to sign up for your own blog. You don't have to create anything fancy. (A person could lose track of time playing with the details.)




Setting up a Blogger account will also change how you comment on our class blog. Instead of choosing 'anonymous' you will then type in your Blogger user name. Some invaluable resources you should also start to check out are the tutorial links along the left side of this page. They'll walk you through a lot of what you need. Great for the visual learners out there. And lastly don't forget to tell us all your new blog address in your posting for this week.

By now, most of you are getting more comfortable navigating our class blog. You will spend the bulk of this session being exposed to the multitude of possibilities for using blogs in education. Unfortunately, it seems that some school systems use filtering systems that block access to many blogs, but where there is a will there is a way. You can't stop the evolution of technology, so for every blogging service that is blocked I'm sure there will be ten others to take its place. We are told that the rationale for blocking access is to protect the children, but I see examples every week of our students' using inventiveness and ingenuity to circumvent filters by using different languages, or 'proxy servers' to access MySpace. Also, every new cell phone has its own Internet access, so very soon the students won't even have filters to be concered with.





Blogs are popping up everywhere. Just check out the Providence Journal's website: http://www.projo.com/blogs/ and count how many different blogs are available there. I also have 27 high school students this semester taking 'virtual' classes at a vitual high school. They come to the library for their scheduled period and nearly every one of these classes has a blogging component. Check it out:
http://www.govhs.org/

Tomorrow I'd like you to take an informal survey of your students and ask them about their online journal or blog use. (They may call it something different, but the most prevalent is MySpace.com) Obviously the older the students--the higher the percentage of use---but if your survey shows you results similar to mine, then you will be very surprised at the usage statistics. More then 85 % of my students here at the high school use some sort of online journal. The new trend is moving toward Facebook.com. And that number appears to be increasing all the time.

Blogs won't always work for "every discipline--every day," but when you begin to grasp the versatility of their usage you will see that they can be a powerful communication tool. And if such a large percentage of our population is using a certain kind of technology then it is surely in our best interest as educators to become well versed in it.

Watch this video on Web 2.0. It might be a little deeper than we, as educators, need to reach, but it gives us some perspective.



















Then "blog away!!"

77 comments:

Anonymous said...

Amy Messerlian
amy_messerlian@nksd.net

The content presented really helped me wrap my head around how blogs are being used successfully in classrooms and within schools. I appreciate all of the references. I contacted tech support through my school and learned that I could have a blog right on my classroom web page so this is the route I think I am going to go. The setting it up part is kind of easy but making it beautiful is going to take a bit more time. I am already having fun with it myself and after mentioning it to my students they like the idea of it. I wonder how I will decide which activities or assigments should be included on the blog considering there is just so much to choose from. I think I am going to get some student input regarding what they would like to be presenting about. I am getting more and more excited about incorporating blogs into the school day!

ClareO said...

I found that the Blogger Essential Training videos were so helpful. I am completly new to this, so the step by step instructions were great. I enjoyed looking at the different blogs that other educators are using both for the general school population (principal pages) and individual teacher pages. I haven't checked to see if the district can set anything up for me, but in Chariho that tends to be incredibly difficult for a teacher to have access to. Just to change my web page I have to jump through hoops. So I am assuming that it will be easier for me to go through blogger for now. I have spoken to my school librarian who is somewhat of a techie and she would like to collaborate with me on some stuff using blogs. She has offered to monitor students individually if I want to send them down to use the blog. I have an idea I am working on to use it for poetry month in April. I am also thinking about reading week. The ideas just keep coming! I have set up my account with blogspot
http://mrsornburns4thgrade.blogspot.com

Donna McMullin said...

Hi Claire,

I just read your comments on the class page about a poetry blog for April. I have the same idea -- but I'm a media specialist in search of a classroom teacher to work with :-) I have one teacher who expressed an interest, so maybe I'll be doing a parallel project with my middle schoolers. I'm not sure we can "blog" in our district, but I plan to check on Tuesday.

I'm goning to go check out your new blog :-)

Donna McMullin said...

I chose to create a blog with Blogger since it is pretty simple to use and is integrated with the other Google products. I really wanted to try video integration, so I figured the Blogger would be the way to go since I knew it worked with YouTube.

I decided to focus the content of this blog on our coursework since I'm not sure I can even use a blog at school. I'll use it to track resources and ideas, as well as my thoughts about the blogging process. Besides, Blogger so easy to use, I can quickly make another when I determine the need.

Our school is ultra-conservative about Internet use, so I wanted to be sure “security” features such as moderated postings, and the ability to limit participants to only students in our school are available. I would have liked a backup feature, but there is no direct export or download function for Blogger. They did explain how to save a single file on your computer, but the directions were not too “user friendly.”

Since I integrate information literacy skills with classroom projects, I have no fixed class of students of my own. However, some generic things I could do with blogs in the library include: a student book review blog, a book club/discussion blog, a blog for teachers to discuss materials they would like to see added to the library collection, a blog for district librarians to articulate on a regular basis since we have no common planning/meeting time, a blog for a department’s web resources to which all can contribute.

In addition to being a communication tool for classroom use, I also could see a blog being very useful as a communication vehicle for district professional development. I could think of many ways for blogs to enhance post-service training. Pre-readings/discussions prior to summer training sessions; post-training support; online book discussions; unit/lesson planning between buildings; sharing of district "best practices"; curriculum topic hotlists; topical discussions for tech user groups; "Ask the Experts" support, etc.

My blog is posted at http://datadonna.blogspot.com/

ClareO said...

I have chosen to use blogger for my blog as well. It was easy to set up and to use. I have been playing with it a bit and have started to add some links.

I plan to integrate this into my curriculum starting in several ways, but the one that I am really excited about is during poetry month which is in April.

I usually do a poetry unit with my students anyway. Normally I would have them keep a poetry journal, trying out different kinds of poetry. I have a few of those magnetic poetry kits that I use for centers.

I thought that it would be fun to use some online resources and let them experiment online and share what they come up with on the blog. I have already added one link to my page and I am searching for a couple of others, I know they are out there.

I have spoken to my librarian who is willing to help monitor kids as they go down to use the computer lab in the library. I would like to see them go on at home as well. I think I would like to have them not only share their poetry but comment on others poetry (positive comments only for now)

My dream would be for parents to get involved as well and maybe share some of their writing with my students. They would also be able to read their child's work and comment.

My mind is spinning with ideas, please feel free to share any of your comments or ideas. I am finding this whole thing a little addictive. I think my students might really get into this as well. I hope so!

D. Cunha said...

Diane Cunha
dianecunha@excite.com
I’ve been going along reading as many of the blog sites as I can. They are very inspirational. One of them mentioned starting personal, and that made sense to me, so I’m getting my family to blog on ideas for this year’s family vacation. I also set up a science teacher blog, so I can communicate with the teachers in my school about curriculum, supplies, ideas etc. They don’t know about it yet, and I’ll wait until we’re back from vacation to tell them. I have no feed back from the students about their blogging, but I’ll get it after vacation. Security is a concern to me, and I appreciated the different views I found on the resource sites. I’ll need time to think and talk to the IT teacher and administration, but I think I would focus on writing. Blogger.com was OK and I made some progress. I’m away for a few days and I’ll continue working on it when I return, along with the next lesson.

Anonymous said...

Dawn Manchester
dawnmanchester14@aol.com

Well I have done it! My own blog has been set up. I must say it was easier than I thought. The information provided did help me understand what I was going to go through and how I could set my blog. I am still unsure how this will impact my classroom or if my students will ever be able to utilize it. However, if that is the case (due to system regulations) I may use it to blog with fellow teachers about how literature circles are being used in the classroom.
Blog:
http://msmanchesters5thgradeliterature.blogspot.com/

Ms. Dawn Manchester said...

Ok, all is well again in the blogging world! My blog is set up at http://manchesterlitcircles.blogspot.com/
Please feel free to visit!
Dawn

ClareO said...

Donna, Thanks for all the great sites. I can't wait to check them out. I hope my class will be able to use this. I think it would be a great way to get them on the computer and writing. I really like Diane's family blog idea. That would be a great way to have some discussions with relatives far and near.

Anonymous said...

Carol Fishbein
Parker0425@aol.com

I have just returned from a trip out of state and finally got my blog account in order.Aaarrrggghh. I have chosen to use Blogger.com, as I thought the video was extremely helpful in getting me started on that system.

My new Blog account is
http://wint25.blogspot.com

I was interested in the principal from Gowanda High's comments on first using the blog for personal use before trying it with the kids.
In thinking about ways to use it in my school, I think I would first like to experiment with connecting with other teachers in the district to discuss unique projects or ways that they have adapted their curriculum to meet the new GLE's. This site would also act as a clearing house for other 5th grade teachers to share questions, problems, ideas, assessment sheets, math problems of the day, etc.

As teachers in our school, we rarely have the time to share student work across the grade level (i.e. outside our classroom), and I think that a blogging site might be a great way
to be able to see and compare the writings/ideas of students in classrooms other than my own. I think that would help me/us plan our lessons with more focus, as we see patterns of strengths or deficits across the grade level on a regular basis.

If I ever become adept at this blogging 'stuff' (but don't count on that), I would certainly want to try it with my students.
I have several ideas that involve math, social studies, science and language arts, but I have not yet fine tuned them. I do like some of my peers ideas about using the blog space for poetry, as one of my coteachers had suggested a grade level poetry contest in March. Well, you'll just have to wait with baited breath for my final thoughts on its use in my classroom.
I can't wait to check out your blogs, as soon as I can figure out how to do that.
Hope you all had a nice President's Day.
CFF

ennuipotent said...

(Chris L)

I made my first Blog. It is intentionally silly. It will have nothing to do with school at this point. I will make another one for school as I learn more from the readings and figure out a lesson plan to go along with it.

I am interested in setting up a Wiki to add my 9th graders Black History Power points to. Most are special Ed and they really like to use power point. They are adjudicated so only first names initials will be used. I only wonder about the copyrighted images? Hopefully that won't be a problem.
I am on Vacation and will be away a few days but I am bringing the readings with me.

Anonymous said...

(Mary)
Please disregard my first blog address -- had a little trouble w/ Edublog so I switched to Blogger. So, the NEW address is http://marysblogone.blogspot.com/

PS Did anyone use Edublog? and if so, did you have any trouble?

Donna McMullin said...

Hi Mary,

I made the class blog on Blogger (very easy) but wanted to try Edublog since it is essential a tool for educators. I created one tonight but found its interface really clunky and not intuitive.
I am going to keep my Blooger blog.

Amy Messerlian said...

I am fortunate enough to have great technology in my district! We are always using something new and everything I do for my own classroom (writing IEP’s, taking attendance, my gradebook, submitting quarter grades, etc.) is done on-line. Sometimes I do it from the comfort of my den at home sitting in my pajamas. Each teacher also has the option of having their own web page. This was just introduced this year and up until now I haven’t done much with it. Except now that I am taking this class I have found that I am getting truly excited about incorporating it into what I do in my classroom on a regular basis. After doing a little research I learned that right through my webpage I can also have blogs! So that is what I did!

My district uses school center as our web portal and I have found it to be very easy to use. Given the fact that it is accessible right through my district’s home web page makes it quite simple for others in my district to access, not to mention the families of my students if they choose. The easy part is posting prompts and different threads. The more difficult part is making it look “pretty”. So far I have set up different blogging topics, including English, History, and Science. I spoke to my students this past week and asked them how many of them used blogs. I was already aware that they were all using some sort of blog but this prompted the discussion of using blogs in the classroom. They seemed excited about the idea and I am looking forward to getting their input on how they think this could be used effectively in our class.

I feel that this way of assessing my students, having the students interact with one another through an on-line discussion, or letting them have the accessibility to post their thoughts or ideas is fantastic! One reason is that it will keep the kids interested because they are being hands-on with something that they all obviously enjoy doing. Secondly, it is a way to avoid so much paperwork for them to keep organized and for me to respond to and assess. I can have the students respond to a prompt through blogging and not only will this create less paper for me to deal with but it will allow the students to read one another’s responses, which I think is important. I believe I am going to use blogs quite frequently in my classroom, whether it is to respond to a writing prompt or to give their opinion on a lesson I taught. The blog will also give them a place to share their thoughts on what is going on in class or a place where they can post helpful resources to share with other students. It seems the possibilities are endless and I feel the more I incorporate blogging into my classroom the more ideas I will get on how to effectively use them to foster learning!

One of the greatest advantages of the classroom blog is that I have the opportunity to view what it is the student wants posted before it actually gets posted. When I mentioned to one of our technology coordinators I was going to be using the blogging option on our website she was ecstatic! I too am ecstatic because I know this is going to be a great way to encourage my students as well as keep others apprised of what I am doing with my students if they choose to check out my webpage and our blogs.

Please check out the blogging pages I am currently constructing for use in my class. Feel free to provide any feedback you may have. Visit room 121 at www2.nksd.net/amesserlian. Once on my classroom website please click blog from the column on the left.

teklove33 said...

Trish Degnan
ride0605@ride.ri.net

I guess this is a little late but.....
http://woon-elem-maclabforkids.blogspot.com/

I'd really like to use this with my elementary students.Trying to investigate how to get it to open at school (firewall) and when to invite teachers to post. Maybe after some kids have! I'm excited about the posibilites for blogging in both of my schools.

Anonymous said...

Mark Davis
davism@bpsmail.org

Thank you for the great resources on this last session. I think above all else, I am enjoying
this course for the abundance of materials (readings, weblinks, research) that really broaden my
understanding of the content. With the fair-share license, I am glad I will have the opportunity to share some of your ideas with my faculty and help to increase awareness of these resources.

I apologize for getting back to everyone late while I was travelling out of town. I also went with the Blogger service from Google so that my account could be maintained for some of their other blogs that sounded appealing. I must say, as a long-time user of the AltaVista search engine, I've been highly impressed with the number of resources the people at Goodle offer (the book search option, which Dave linked us to early on was amazing!).

The blog I created was devoted to all teachers interested in supporting students with literacy
needs. I named it Blog for Literacy Educators Supporting Schools so that I could have the clever acronym BLESS (http://blessteachers.blogger.com), and so that I could start generating online conversation for a series talks I've add in formal settings. As a reading specialist, I have spent a lot of time trying to find new resources that will meet students' specific needs and keep our faculty active in the role of differentiating instruction. There is nothing worse than the impression that I am a consultant who serves the purpose of administering best practices on teachers. Rather, I would hope to be viewed as an active resource for helping offset the difficulties that often arise with overwhelming policies and support needs of literacy and special education students.

Most of the conversations that I mentioned above have formed at conferences or workshops. Teachers are still infatiuated with the idea of using technology to increase students' motivation and increase their aptitude with new tasks. I have also been fascinated with using technology to increase reading comprehension since so many students are comfortable with webpages, blogs, and other Web 2.0 technologies to gather their information. By providing a kind of professional development blog, I hope to keep the channels open for new and engaging practices that teachers are using to support these needs. Additionally, I think these educators also want an outlet beyond the newspaper and lunch rooms to share their accomplishments and setbacks with the state-wide system for intervention and how we can overcome our barriers and improve literacy globally, not just at the district level.

Of course, I won't deny that I think of BLESS as a practice, rather than a lofty series of enriched discussions. I am currently updating my new server with the latest Moodle software (http://www.moodle.org), an online learning management system that allows for a great deal of Web 2.0 resources and online classroom environments. I've had great success with it in years past, but I have not truly utilized all of its functions. Though I've used it's asynchronous message board forum for online literature circles and Socratic seminars, I've not really allowed students to have the freedom for a truly independent blog that might identify their needs and motivation. Moreover, I would like to see what kind of pre-writing tasks could be garnered from their posts and share ideas with the community through the blog format. I hope to have this operational very soon and share it with you and my students as well.

D. Cunha said...

Diane Cunha
dianecunha@excite.com
Well, don’t worry about being late. I have my family vacation blog site together. I’ll save the rest of my comments for Session 3. The site is cunhafamilyvacation.blogspot.com

Ocean Tides said...

(chris L)
Ok, I'm back from vacation and my real school blog is up.
I hope to have the kids posting some ideas for the science fair and Black History month. Also Career Day is coming up so I'll have a lot of things to Post as we enter March - a long and busy month!

Anonymous said...

Session 2 Comments:

As I have mentioned before, I am not the most “tech savvy” administrator in a RI high school. However, I see the value of web sites, blogs, and the like as communication tools among the members of the school community. I am currently (and plan to be for the foreseeable future) an assistant principal at North Kingstown HS. My primary area of responsibility is discipline for two of the four classes (approximately 800 students). At present, we have a “discipline” site on the NKHS web page. It consists of a couple of pictures and personal information about the two assistant principals and verbiage from the student handbook concerning our discipline policies at NKHS. This site is informational at best. I need to update it to include recent changes to our policies.

In any event, I would like to establish an interactive site (blog) to allow for the flow of information and comments amongst parents, community members, students, teachers, etc. A blog sounds like exactly what the doctor ordered for this purpose. I envision that I or my colleague might post recent occurrences in the discipline/safety arena and invite comments from the outside. Also, it could serve as a vehicle for people to send me their comments or information about activities from outside of the school (involving students mostly) of which I might be unaware, but which could affect the school in some manner.

Building a meaningful, appropriate, valued blog will be my challenge. We certainly have the access to technology at NKHS. Now, I need to use it more.



John Lalli

Dave Fontaine said...

THIS ENDS THE COMMENTS OF EDC921-SPRING '07 PARTICIPANTS. A LITTLE STUMBLING, BUT ALL IS GOOD :-)
DF

Robin Shtulman said...

I've got my blog up. I have to say well, it's a bit embarrassing to have a blog up there with my name on it when I haven't yet anything to say!
http://relevantlibrary.blogspot.com/

Also: I originally created a blog on edublogs, rather than blogger. 1) Blogger is MUCH easier to use; and
2) I couldn't log into the course blog with my edublogs user name.

I look forward to reading everyone's blogs!

Amy said...

I have created my own blog with blogger.com. I was not sure if we should fill out all the information asked, but I did anyway. I created two blogs. I ask if anyone is in the Reading field, to please respond to one of them. I am need for the remainder of the school year. I think this will be great if I can get it up and running within my school. I can do assignments, parent relations, teacher relations, and more. I am excited to continue this activity.
http://amy-teachingtoeducate.blogspot.com/

Pam B said...

I too used Blogger to create my blog. My blog can be found at http://www.nwiowamediacatalog.blogspot.com Blogger was relatively easy to use and it also seemed to provide many features I wanted such as RSS, automatically notifying a "group" using an email address when new information is posted to the blog, and moderating comments posted to the blog. Because I don't know html, it is a little difficult to "fine tune" your page, however. I also discovered that it isn't possible to upload documents or attachments to the blog. That's a feature I really would like to be able to use since I would like to enable users to download documents from the site. When I referred to the help section of blogger, it was suggested using Google.docs and creating a link to any documents that way. Certainly blogspot is a great way to get started.

My blog is an information portal. It isn't something that will be used with students, but rather teachers and administrators that borrow materials from the AEA will be the primary audience.

One of the things I hope the blog will do is to provide information to customers quickly. I want to be able to provide information about changes to services. Sometimes changes happen quickly. One example is van delivery between offices. Since we cover a large geographical area, weather can vary. It would be great to be able to easily alert our customers when things like this happen and items may not be delivered when expected. This of course will happen when customers sign up to receive notifications or a group is selected to receive notifications via email.

I also want to be able to target under utilized features of the catalog. Although we make an effort to share this information via listservs and monthly newsletters, it would also be useful to share this information via a web page when teachers are actually using the Media catalog.

A blog is also an easy way to elicit comments from Media catalog users. Do they like this new feature? How can we do better? How can we serve our customers more effectively and efficiently? A blog seems to be a perfect vehicle to do that.

I am excited about the possibilities a blog will provide. Since all of our schools are currently dismissed for summer vacation, I really won’t know the impact the blog will have until next fall.

Scott Rollins said...

I chose to create my blog with blogger.com, the address is http://mrrollinsskrebelsblog.blogspot.com/

I found blogger.com pretty easy to use, it was thinking of the content that was the hard part! I do feel slightly overwhelmed with potential classroom ideas, but i'm excited about the possibilities. I really do think that I can use a blog in many aspects of my future classes. Being a computer and business teacher, i know the importance of using technology in my curriculum.

One thing i did realize right off the bat was how easy it was to get caught up in designing phase of the blog. I can see how hours can go by trying to get the blog to look just right...not good for my OCD!!

I guess the main "I wonder" question I have concerns students who don't have either computer or internet access. I don't think this is a concern for most of my students, but there are a few that I think this might be a problem for. If i give an assignment that involves posting to the blog, will it be unfair to the students who are without the access?

sinky's blog said...

Set up a basic blog, just to get a feel...http://sinky23.blogspot.com/
I seem to be in the minority, but I see trouble written all over this; particularly after viewing some of the "professional" blogs. Information and technology are certainly keys to the future, but to sit in front of a computer for so long working on a blog? Kids spend enough time with computer games, and on myspace...might not hurt to open a book and read once in a while?
I do like the ability to edit before the posting, and some of the educational blogs have merit....It would serve a nice touch on one's classroom webpage...I just think some went a bit to far....there are other things in life!

Robin Shtulman said...

I wanted to reply to Scott's concern about internet access --

A lot of kids don't have computers at home. Or don't have good computers. It's been my experience that kids who do have decent computers at home have noodled around with MySpace, etc., on their own, and know how to do it.

If we are going to use technology in our courses or as the main venue for turning in work, it would be very important to provide computer time within the school day. Alternatively, there could be after school homework time in the computer lab for anyone who needs or wants it.

msaunders said...

As a high school library media specialist, I have a role as an instructional leader in the
school especially in the use of technology for information literacy. Some of our
teachers are using classroom management tools like Moodle, and Nicenet and a few are
incorporating blogs. Our students are uniformly aware of and using the social networking
tools such as Myspace, despite the fact that the district blocks access on school
computers. The blocking is hypothetical in practice.
Gloucester High School is beginning its fourth year of a summer reading program that
is organized primarily through the school library. We have a list of 38
fiction and non-fiction titles. Titles range from quite difficult to very easy
and include a novel in poems and graphic novels. Students are to pick one title, register
their choice in their English classes and communicate any changes during the summer to
me by email. In early September the whole school will suspend classes for a block one
morning and break out into discussion groups. Each group
will be lead by a teacher, staff or administrator, or volunteer from the community. The list and
another description of the program can be found at http://tinyurl.com/yq6qng
For this course, I have begun a summer reading program blog using Blogger in order
to encourage students and discussion leaders to participate in a dialog about their books
during the summer before the actual discussion in Sept. I chose Blogger because it was the first I tried and I like what I can do with it so far. My blog can be found at http://ghssummerreading2007.blogspot.com
When I have more posts on the blog, I will
email the discussion leaders and encourage them to post to the blog. The difficulty will be
getting student participation when they are on vacation and avoiding school work. I will
link to the blog from the library summer reading Web page and I will ask the public
library young adult librarian, who is also one of our discussion leaders, to promote the blog at the public library.

EPHSTownies said...

Karen Panzarella
kpanzarella@epschoolsri.com

I have my blog up the address is:
http://ephstownies.blogspot.com

It feels great to have the blog up. I have added a couple of links and a short welcome message. I have spoken to my regular education partners and no teachers use blogs in any of their classes. I plan to speak with my building principal and the technology person to see what the districts policy is. I see this blog as a great way to communicate what is going on in my special education class.

Madame Defarge said...

I started my blog yesterday at a most opportune moment, which you can read about at madamdefarge.blogspot.com. I cannot emphasize enough that this is a personal blog, not intended for classroom use at all. There just happens to be this situation which seemed very blog-worthy, and in fact it seemed necessary that I start a blog to address the situation. And since I had to anyway for this class...

I will say it again, not to be a jerk, but just because we're not face to face. Madame Defarge is a personal blog. I used blogger because it seemed the quickest and easiest way to get started, but to set up a class blog, I would use edublogs. While blogger will allow you to preview comments and decide which ones to publish, and while it will allow multiple authors, I wasn't sure that I could screen the posts by those authors in the same way I can screen the comments. It seems edublogs would allow me to do this.

This brings up an important point that was not clear in my mind until I started my blog. Right now I'm commenting to Dave's post. When I write on my own blog, I'm posting. I think I've been using the phrase "post a comment" in a way that was confusing the difference between the two actions. I'm wondering which has the most educational value for our students: posting, or commenting? I think Will, in his discussion on connective writing, would say that ultimately, you want students posting, not just commenting, so that's why I'd want a class blog that allowed multiple authors.

The other reason I would use edublogs is that it is open source. I know blogger is free as in beer, but the code for edublogs is available for public tweaking.

I am brainstorming ways to use a class blog in our utopia curriculum our school is currently planning for next year. We are probably going to use the book Ecotopia as one of our main texts. The premise of the book is that a journalist visits Ecotopia and reports back in various reports and journal entries which comprise the book. It seems like blogs would be a good way to have students imitate his style when writing about the utopias they create. More about that on my blog, later.

pwestkott said...

I'm thrilled to announce that I am now officially a BLOGGER! You can view my initial steps in Blog design at http://mrswestkottnes.blogspot.com. I welcome all comments and reactions to what you notice.

My plans to revise and augment it are exciting while I look for images, student work and settings I'm considering. What fun!! (I guess I sound more like my third graders than like the grandmother that I am.)

My colleagues here at NES had used blogger.com, so after referring to the text, Dave's Power Point and looking at the tutorials, sample blogs and the most helpful video clips developed by "mollyo", I decided to use blogger for my own project. It is easy to design a blog, to revise/edit as I changed my thinking, and it's free.

I find it disconcerting to work on this at the end of our year, because I want to have our students using it, too. Realistically with so few days left that may not happen. We'll see...

However, that has me planning how to use the blog with students, not for them. I'm consdering how I will introduce blogging to the 07-08 cohort. This is my thinking at this point: Doing what is routine in my teaching and learning, I'll share some blogs from other elementary teachers. Students will be given a guiding questions such as: What do you notice about the blog we are examining?

After sharing what we do see (common elements of design, student work, images, archives, etc.), we can begin comparing and contrasting a blog with a website for the obvious objective of getting students to realize how learners are constantly rereading, rethinking and revising. We may do this in reaction to online responses to our work or based on our own decisions. As authors, the final decision rests with us. The learning implications for differentiation, across all curriculum areas seem limitless.

During this designing stage I'm primarily thinking about students as the intended audience. I haven't even begun to consider parents, colleagues and the learning community beyond. Whew! There's much to do.

Happy blogging, 921'ers!

Anonymous said...

I finally got a blog up and running, you can visit it at: http://mrcarneysblogcorner.blogspot.com/

It was really easy to do once I was able to get my computer running again; it was presented in very easy steps. I am very excited to begin using this as a forum for discussion and student interaction about summer reading. Hopefully I will be able to encourage those without computers to visit the local library on occasion, but once summer hits I am not sure they will make the effort. Next year I definitely plan to make this blog a part of my classwork and will make time for the students to utilize it during the school day.

Carol said...

I am an educator and technology specialist at a large high school in Melbourne, Florida. We are at the very beginning of implementing blogs and there is concern about our district shutting them down for security purposes. I'm wondering if this is a concern for other districts as well. We love our blogs, have been very successful with blog staff development and we want them to stay, so I'm taking on this debate within our district. Wish me luck and I'll keep reading your blog for support! Please visit our training blog at: http://carolburns.edublogs.org

Carol

Dave Fontaine said...

THIS ENDS THE COMMENTS, REFLECTIONS, AND INSIGHTS OF EDC921 SUMMER '07 PARTICIPANTS.

MHorton said...

This session was great for giving me idea on how Blogs can be used in the classroom. I am trying to use blogs as a new method for my students to create Showcase Portfolios. In the pase I had used PowerPoint with the kids, but there were problems. The first problem was that the students could really only work in class - there was no real useable method to send the presentations home. Then at the end of the year, I would burn all the Portfolios to CD's for the kids to take home. This took a very long time, since I had to make sure all images and links worked properly, and then work with the kids to get everything up and running.

I believe that doing the Portfolios online will mean the kids can work wherever they have Internet access. They will be able to update frequently, and include images they already have on their computers.

I started this project before this post came out, so I am using Wikispaces for the kids portfolio.

Here is the wiki I have started:

https://team8blue-horton.wikispaces.com/

I also signed up for a Blogger space. I can already see that Blogger is easier to change templates and fonts...

I am interested to see what the kids come up with this first trimester. It will be a learning experience!

Anonymous said...

From now on when you see ride7420 you will know it is from Lisa Casey: The blogging service that I will use is blogspot.com. I have already created one blog on it and though some of the other services sound really interesting (esp the one bg turned to) the students who will be blogging are already somewhat familiar with it. In fact, when I was showing them some examples of blogs (some gleaned from the best of the blog sites you shared, some educational) the students reacted viscerally to blogspot and said, “That’s our blog!” I enabled comment moderation on it and am comfortable being the administrator for it. I did receive one or two off color comments that would have been disastrous had they been posted, and some just typical kid things (postings to the blog saying “I’m home and I’m sooooo booored”.) which I deleted. I need to know that I can control this and I feel I can with blogspot.

Since I am a librarian technology is certainly part and parcel of my discipline. What I try to do in many of my lessons is to educate the students in best practices for using technology. I teach them topics such as cyber bullying, netiquette, personal safety, etc. and of course how to communicate safely in cyberspace. I have taken the I-Safe course and there is a section on safe blogging that I want to share with the students first, as well as the other topics so they know how they should behave in the virtual world, and how to keep themselves safe. I want them to realize the permanence of their work and weigh carefully what they want to say and how they say it (with me in the wings, ready to delete any inappropriate comment! – they are children, after all, and no matter how you stress consequences they just want to press the package.)

What the blog will be I cannot quite say. We investigated the T.A.G. site and they enjoyed the set up of the blooming bloggers and I feel like that would be a great example of what our blog could be. (They immediately wanted to think about colors their page should be; I want them to think about topics.) I would like each 6th grade to have their own blog. I can have them do posts about books and websites; that would be my “discipline”, I can let them discuss topics from other teachers, like endangered animals or farming practices, for example, but research and synthesizing facts and evaluating information is also “me”, and I would like to have the kids pick some topics that interest them and research them on the web, and comment on them. I would like to have other librarians pick up on the blog and have their students respond. I just did the barest, most minimal blog; no return comments, no archive, just a link to the books they needed to read. I am so looking forward to learning how to manipulate our blog into something well designed!

Let me tell you why I think blogging will be very successful and boost my student’s interest in using appropriate search and assessment skills. Last year in fifth grade my students learned (I hope) how to critically evaluate a website. While pondering aloud what topics might be interesting, a normally not-so-involved student shouted “ATVs.” OK, I said, they’re not as safe as dirt bikes (knowing this would needle him). He immediately started a search and came up with some information, too quickly without looking at the site. It was from an ambulance-chasing lawyer. We discussed the site; would a lawyer have something to gain from accidents? Would he post one-sided data? Could we find a better site? And five minutes later he came up with a fabulous government site and started giving us data that was concrete and perfect and I thought Hmmm, yes, this is going to definitely get some students stimulated in a way that I wasn’t able to stimulate them before.

Anonymous said...

I really enjoyed the readings and browsing through so many different types of blogs during this session. I did create one using blogspot.com called "It's Elementary". You'll probably see mmorin10 on further posts. That's me Maria Morin.

Since most blog sites are filtered at the school where I teach, it'll be an interesting challenge to work on the "higher powers" and show them the educational value of certain blog sites and how they can be an invaluable tool to a classroom. I can certainly understand protecting our children from many sites that are out there but as we all know, filters only can do so much. Often times they block appropriate learning material that our students would benefit from viewing.

As a SLMS, it is my job to teach my students how to evaluate websites and surf the web safely. They certainly need information literacy skills, especially since many of them do not even have computers at home.

I'd really like to start a blog at my school as an online book club of sorts. It'd be a great way for my students to connect with others in different classes and in other places while sharing their opinions about what they are reading. I haven't figured out all of the details yet but I think this would be a great start. My schedule at my school is half-flex/half-fixed so I see some classes more than others. This would be a nice way to get more of my students involved in the creation of the blog too. The first step however will be to have access granted.

Ms. Spisso said...

I have started an edublogs site here:
http://tspisso.edublogs.org

Right now, I am envisioning a very basic blog that students can link to off of my main library webpage. Our school system is a member of the RICAT/RILINK consortium of public and private k-12s in RI and we have access to an online catalog system called DESTINY. Currently I put links onto our library site for teachers who are using the library for specific projects. With the way the site is set up now we end up with more categories than we can fit in an organized fashion. I think what I will do is set up a basic blog account for each of my “heavy user” teachers that will link off our main library page. That way I can keep links up all year (instead of continually removing and re-adding them) and can also allow students to suggest links that have to do with topics being discussed in those classes. These blogs will be able to be expanded upon as I work teachers to begin using blogs in other ways. I’m taking another class on Podcasting in Education and I hope to begin working with a couple of teachers on using this in the classroom as well.

Right now my blog will include information on recent library acquisitions, possibly allowing certain users to post book reviews. I also see it as a tool for some of our after-school library activities.

While I’m looking at all these great blogs mentioned in this week’s powerpoint, I can’t help but think of ways to integrate this technology into my library. What am I doing now that can be replaced (and/or improved) by using blogs? Time and resources are limited. I’m also thinking about ways to “sell” blogging ideas to teachers who currently use Edline (as a less interactive type school/home communication device).
-Terri

Reading blog said...

I found the reading this week very helpful. The page with practical blog uses was great. It was also helpful to look at prior student’s blogs. It gave me some great ideas. I created a blog from blogger.com. My blog is www.lincolnhighreadingblogger.com . Please feel free to check it out. I would like to add more to it in the near future.

I would like to use my blog in my ninth grade English/Reading course. In this course the students have independent reading, daily. I thought this would be a good place for students to recommend or share their independent reading books. We really don’t have a great deal of time for students to discuss their book, it would provide them with the time to share the good and bad of their selection. It would also help others make a selection. Students could use this space to write book reviews.

I would also like to use my blog as a book club for students. Many adults belong in book clubs for fun. I want my students to realize reading can be fun. Many see reading as a chore. It would be a great place for students to share and question regarding the book we are reading in class. In class we are working on predicting, summarizing, clarifying and questioning. It would allow the students to practice what they learn everyday. Students need to learn to ask meaningful questions about the book they are reading. They also need to learn how to ask for clarification when they don’t understand something. This space would allow them to do this and have students respond. If the whole class is reading the same book, they would be able to answer each others questions. It helps place the ownership on them. It would also help when they are reading for homework. They wouldn’t have to wait for the next day for an answer from me.

In addition, I would like to use the blog for the reading course I’m teaching at CCRI. I would also like to use this as a book club for the book we are reading in class. Class meets once a week. This would also students the chance to blog during the week instead of waiting a week for clarification or to discuss the book. Many students in the class don’t feel comfortable sitting in a group and discussing the book. They might if they were at their own home blogging. I could also post websites under the Helpful sites section, that pertain to the text.

MHorton, I was interested in seeing your blog. I tried to access your blog but it is restricted. I did sign up to see it.

I wonders:

I wonder what I could do about students that don’t have internet access at home?
I wonder if this will take off like I imagine?
I wonder if how long it will take for students to feel comfortable with blogging?
I wonder if I’ll have to be the one asking all the questions?
I would like to know if I would like to use my blog for two classes, is there a way to separate the two? Do I need to make two separate blog pages?

Jessica

Reading blog said...

Sorry my blog is www.lincolnhighschoolreading.blogspot.com


Maria,
I like your idea about the book clubs with other schools. Maybe our classes could discuss with one another.
Jessica

Anonymous said...

Jessica,

I'd definitely like to discuss the idea further. I'm sure the students would love the exchanging of ideas - virtual book buddies or something of the sort. I wonder how something like this could work as a collaborative project across districts and school levels?

Maria

By the way, the link to my blog is
http://lauroelementary.blogspot.com

I forgot to mention that in an earlier comment.

famous said...

My biggest concern with using blogs is the need to screen comments before they are posted. As educators, we'd be responsible for the content. I'm glad to see that this is pretty much a basic feature in blogs now.

I wonder how I can get some of the overworked/overwhelmed teachers to collaborate with me? To show them that this can work.

I also wonder, since standardized tests are the focus these days, how can we prove that this will help raise test scores?
http://cornerbooks.blogspot.com/
Esther

Dave Fontaine said...

THIS ENDS THE COMMENTS, INSIGHTS, AND REFLECTIONS FROM EDC921 FALL '07 PARTICIPANTS.
DF

Jennifer Long said...

My blog: http://newportlmc.blogspot.com/

Newport's School Library Media Centers: Leading Life-Long Learners

Purpose of blog: initially, to communicate with district colleagues about ongoing projects and practices; optimistically, to gain insight from colleagues around the world, and to garner new ideas for projects and practices.

Ah, the myriad possibilities of the blogosphere... I step away (temporarily) from Dave's PPT experience with an appreciation for the many uses of blogs. I found the educational blogs to be professionally relevant; the media and individual blogs were personally relevant.

I was impressed by the simple yet effective way to use blogs as information tools in schools (bulletin boards, homework assignments, etc.). I was intrigued by the conversational yet professional writing style of Kimberly Moritz, Principal of Gowanda High School in New York. http://ghsprincipal.edublogs.org/2006/07/11/about/

I admired the optimism of Mrs. Ris, special educator, who awakes each day with a "new beginning" kind of smile. http://mentormatters.blogspot.com/

From an entertainment perspective, ProJo Off Beat had me chuckling, my mind wandering to other possible topics for this spotlight. http://www.beloblog.com/ProJo_Blogs/offbeat/

Most profound, though, was Fisch's, "Is It Okay To Be A Technologically Illiterate Teacher?" It caused me to evaluate my own educational practices, "How technologically literate am I?". It left me thankful that I am participating in this course. It also reminded me of my role as an information specialist, and challenged me to offer professional development sessions for colleagues. My conclusion: I have a lot to learn before I can teach, but a good teacher learns along with his/her students, so I'd best just get my feet wet. Guess that's why Fisch won the award for "Most Influential Blog Post."

fhstigerslibrary said...

My blog is located at http://fhstigerslibrary.blogspot.com. I was so excited about how easy it was to create this blog! While I saw it coming to life, I got more and more excited! When my product was complete, my excitement turned into enthusiasm and I couldn't wait to show some of my peers and students what I created! But it gets even better...when I returned to my blog and saw that some students and teachers had posted comments I was beyond excited! I didn't think I would be real interested in blogging because keeping a printed journal doesn't appeal to me and I really never thought I'd want to read others comments when I could talk to them in person but now...I see how this can be addicting, fun, and educational! One feature I was impressed with was when I looked at my profile, my interests, hobbies, movies, music interests, etc. linked me to other bloggers who had these same likes! WOW! What an amazing way to connect to people all over the world!

fhstigerslibrary said...

The purpose of my blog was to connect students, all staff members, administrators and community members to share what they are reading.

I wonder...how this will change the way I communicate my reading interests?

I wonder...how long blogging will be a technology tool before something else replaces it?

I wonder...will there ever be a tool in technology that remains current and stable?

D. Esposito said...

Well I just finish viewing session 2. Once again, there is a lot of information. But that is okay, it is getting easier. I was inspired to go back and visit blogs that I’ve viewed in the past. I am now looking at them with a new perspective.

My blog is http://hvcentral.blogspot.com/

I am still undecided on what I want to do with my blog, but I have a few ideas from the links in session 2. These last couple of days at school, I find myself trying to look at every aspect of my job and see if I can apply it to a blog. I just added “blog” to my Word dictionary because I am tired of seeing it underlined in red. Yes, I type everything that I do in Word first and then cut and paste it where it needs to be. I’m not yet a spontaneous blogger, but I am going to try the “Blogger for Word” tool that was mentioned in our textbook (p. 52).

I tend to look at school library/media center blogs more than any other educational blogs. Some of the blog ideas that I think I might use in my school library are a book/discussion group for teachers and/or students. I am also thinking about using this blog for collaborating with teachers about research lessons. I am new to my high school and have yet to meet all of the teachers in this school. I only get see only a small group of teachers in my library and this might be a good way to reach out to all of them about upcoming assignments.

Another idea for a discussion group with teachers is to reach out and see what materials they would like added to our library collection. I would also like to get feedback on which research databases they find most useful and which are not being used, so we can add others. We are undergoing a renovation and a lot of our materials are boxed up right now. There have been very few additions to our collection, so I know there many new books that need to be purchased. I would gladly welcome suggestions from my students too.

My last idea (for now) is to use this blog to get input from students and teachers as to what they think about the media center. This idea scares me a bit though. As I previously mentioned, I am new to this media center, along with a new part time librarian and a new assistant. Apparently, the media center in the past had been used mostly for socializing. We are working hard to bring the media center back to an academic environment with a manageable social atmosphere. The students are not very happy about this. A blog where they could comment on the media center might be a little unsettling right now.

I’ve also been thinking about some personal blogs. I would like to create a family blog, since most of my family lives far from each other. We have a family photo site, so a blog on what everyone is up to seems like the next step. I would also get a lot of satisfaction out of this. As I get older, I feel like I need to show nieces, nephews and my own teenage children that I am keeping up with technology, even if it takes me forever to send a text message.

feolesalwayswrite said...

Well, I just finished session 2 and I am feeling a little more comfortable. I have spoken to my students about this whole expereince and they are excited to be able to speak to me about their writing, (and I am sure a few other things that I don't really want to know about).
When I set up my blog, I wanted to play with it more, upload some stuff for students, but I don't know how. My real hope is that this can be a place where students can find links about world events and historical moments which they never knew existed, or excerpts of books, poems, articles, that make them think and want to write. I also want them to see the power of their own voices and ask how they can be more effective communicators. I am pretty sure of where I want to head with this. I am hoping to make this part of a grant proposal so I am going to have to work on that. My blog is at http://feolesalwayswrite.blogspot.com/

Diane Feole

Anne Howard said...

I'm only a third of the way through the lesson and already I am overwhelmed! I try not to follow links, but something catches my attention or interest and off I go down another path. I've set up my blog. It's at http://trinityschoolmd.blogspot.com

For right now I'll be using it as a place for students to access websites they are using for research. I'm hoping some of them will leave comments, but since it's seventh graders, who knows. I don't know how to set up a network for them to be able to access my bookmarks on delicious, so this is the next best thing.

I did ask my one seventh grade class if any of them used Facebook and four of them answered yes. What concerns me is none of them are old enough to have an account. We can teach them how to safely navigate and monitor them at school, but what about parents who allow their children unlimited, unsupervised access to the internet?

In another vein, I belong to several newsgroups. Recently, on one, there has been a lot of discussion about someone in the group feeding the newsgroup postings to his/her blog. It's been interesting to read everyone's take on the matter. Half of the group is upset because they thought that the group was private (you have to sign up to the group to have access). The other half more or less expect that whatever they put out to the web could possibly come back one day to bite them if they aren't careful. In looking at the different blogs that are out there for free, the one that looks the safest is b2evolution. I also like the fact that the teacher is the moderator of the blog, much like a newsgroup. But, from just the little bit I looked at it, it looks somewhat complicated and that concerns me. Right now I really need something a bit more user friendly. Maybe over the summer (don't teachers always plan big things for the summer) I'll have some time to look at it and try it out without needing it to be up and running right away.

joannak said...

Wow...I wish I had seen that session's presentation a few weeks ago! I'm relatively new to the Read/Write Web, but I at least recognized the need to get the teachers in my school "on the ball." So, I offered a 1-credit spring course on different web 2.0 tools. I taught myself the basics of blogging through (many, many) trials and errors.

Where does that leave me? A half-decent (O, I flatter myself) blog at
http://welcometoweb20.blogspot.com/

I created the blog as a model for my 25 teachers -- yes, 25 teachers are willing to learn! I post the class's topics, reflection, resources (thanks to this class, I have a few more!), and tips for the them to peruse.

The vision for my blog is becomeing a reality. I want it to be a place where teachers feel safe to question and doubt and think about what they're learning in my class. The first post asked them to reflect on our first session-- we all created our own blogs! Granted, they were without all of Mr. Fontaine's bells and whistles, but they were real, live blogs. There's always something to aspire to!

The comments they posted surprised me. Only about 3 of the 25 participants actually came up with any idea how they might use it in their classrooms. As soon as I began learning about blogs, my mind swam with the possibilities.

D. Esposito (sorry, I can't remember your first name), I really enjoyed reading your comments, as I too am a librarian. I thought your ideas were great. I look forward to the possibilities of book talks, book clubs, thematic units, and research projects going "Blogger" based. I can link them all to my web page, too!

On another note, I have a complicated "I wonder" question, so I look forward to anyone's responses.

I made the interesting move to have my students respond to the question: Does the ability to swith roles from a user to an author increase or decrease the authority/reliability of the web?

Again, the vast majority see blogging as another way to find bias and -- I think someone even said "nuts" -- on the web. I tried to stress the importance of educating the kids to being savvy critical thinkers. I also mentioned that the Read/Write Web isn't the future, it's the present, so (basically) deal with it. The same way we teach our kids to question the authority of any website, we now must teach them to do the same with any blog.

I'd love to hear what all of you think!

Anonymous said...

I am totally blogged-out! Is "blogged-out" part of blogger terminology? I've been lost for days checking out blog after blog. Some were so in-depth that they made me wonder: Will I ever be able to produce and keep up a complex, well thought-out blog such as those that are out there?
My blog is posted at: gus10.blogspot.com.
This will be my social studies classroom blog for now. It will give my students another way to answer homework questions besides pen and paper. This may seem to be very basic, but many of my fifth-grade students are not familar with using the internet. Many lack basic word processing skills. For example, I assigned a research project one month ago, which had to be typed. Out of 26 students, 17 needed to type their report at school because they do not have a home computer. Out of those 17, I had to type 15 reports because my students are unfamilar with the keyboard. (It would have taken them hours to type two pages.) I have only one computer in my room and there are only four working laptops in the building.
So, this is why my blog will be used as an alternate way to do homework.
I wonder:
How can I make use of blogging with my students if most don't have access to the internet at home?

Anonymous said...

The above comment was posted by:
Susan Tennett Adams
Dutemple School/Grade 5

D. Esposito said...

As I thought about what kind of information I was going to communicate through my blog...

I wondered if it will ever reach those technology challenged teachers who avoid using email. Is this going to be another tool that they will avoid?

I also wonder if you can allow others to post (not just comment) to your blog?

Donna

joannak said...

D. Esposito,

I believe that if you allow someone to author a comment, they are automatically able to author a post. However, my life with blogs is at the tender age of three months; it might behoove you to find a second opinion!

Joanna

D. Esposito said...

Thanks Joanna.

Does anyone know if that is correct? Dave??

Dave Fontaine said...

If you wanted to let others post to your blog, rather than just comment, then when you log into Blogger go to "Settings" and then choose "Permission." This is where you can get very specific about who can read, write, and post to your blog. Check it out.
DF

susan t adams said...

Is it a good idea to have others post on one's blog? If yes, should I add everyone's email address or is there an easier way?

A Pisani said...

Andrea
NKHS

Session 2
I started http://historyofmath.blogspot.com/ last semester in EDC920. I haven't quite incorporated the blog into my classroom yet, but intend to fine tune it and perhaps have a go at it during this semester.
I love looking at other blogs just to see how other folks are using them (either educationally or otherwise). I've come across some math blogs that I particularly like (http://math-blog.com/ is a good one to check out) and I really liked http://www.darcynorman.net/ from the Session 2 Power Point.
In response to fhstigerslibrary's question about the longevity of blogging, I think that as long as the internet remains the way it is, we will see blogging continue. Just as the internet has in many cases replaced books as a reference source, blogging has, for many, replaced writing in a journal or diary. Blogging has taken this to a totally different level because now it connects folks from around the globe in an instant. As fhstigerslibrary also commented, that's the sort of thing that makes this medium so addicting! I just don't see this being replaced by anything tremendously different for a long while.

Anne Howard said...

joannak said: "I made the interesting move to have my students respond to the question: Does the ability to swith roles from a user to an author increase or decrease the authority/reliability of the web?"

I had students in the computer lab the other day doing research. I'm not an avowed user of Wikipedia, but I think it has a place as a jumping off point. As I was walking around, answering questions, giving assistance, I overheard a student showing another how you can "mess" with Wikipedia. He called up a page (I don't remember which one) and started erasing contents and entering nonsense words. When he looked up, I gave him the "teacher look". He undid what he had done and no harm done, but what he started to do is my objection to using only one source for research. I really harp at them about finding three sources with the same information to substantiate their original information, but I'm not sure any of them bother. I plan on doing another lesson with them about the validity of what they find on the web and use what this student did as the first example. I would love to think that we increase our knowledge by sharing it, but it seems just as likely that there are those who are mean enough, nasty enough, whatever enough, to undo what others have tried to build up. It goes along with the old saying, "You can't believe every thing you hear." On the web you can't believe everything you read.

I work with quite a few teachers who can't/won't embrace new technology. Using an overhead projector is as advanced as they want to get. They have no use for the computer as a tool to enhance their instruction, but heaven forbid the e-mail server goes down and they can't get their personal mail. At the beginning of the school year I shared the original video, "Did You Know", with the staff. When I saw it last spring I was knocked over by the points being made. After viewing it, I really don't think most of them were impressed or made them care more about preparing our students for lives in a technological future we can't even imagine.

I wonder:
If you are not willing to embrace the current technology to help you teach and prepare students for their futures, why are you still teaching?

susan t adams said...

In response to Anne
I wonder:
If teachers are willing to embrace the current technology to help them teach and prepare students for their futures but don't have the current technology available (computer lab, classroom computers, laptops, LCD screens, ...), Does it mean they should quit teaching?
I teach fifth-grade in a less than perfect part of town. Most of my students do not have access to the internet at home and very little at school. Most of the current technology is not available due to a major budget crisis. I even had to buy my own classroom pencil sharpener! But I'm still teaching because I believe that I make a difference in the lives of my students (current technology or not).

fhstigerslibrary said...

After reading several comments about blogs and getting lost in the links provided in this session, I found that some blogs were much more "user friendly" and easy on the eyes compared to others. I got turned off to those blogs that were visually busy and difficult to navigate. I do believe this is a tool that will motivate and engage all learners to want to read, write and respond more to topics of interest. I do wonder though if the success of blogging has to do with the topic that is being blogged? I think the motivation to want to blog is to blog about a topic that is of interest to you. I wonder if students who are given a topic that is not interesting to them to blog about, will have more motivation and enthusiasm to repsond because it is in a blog format rather than a pencil paper format?

I do agree with those who are not as fortunate as some of us to have technology available in our buildings that they can and do prepare students for the 21st century. Their job however, is much more challenging because they have to do this without the tools that others have. With or without the newest and most up to date technology, teachers can and do make a difference in preparing our youth for the future.

Joan O'Halloran said...

Well, I created my blog - my kids still can't believe it, and neither can I! I haven't added anything to it (I qualify as a 'digital immigrant'). As I continue to learn more about blogging, I am intrigued with the possibilities for improving literacy skills and motivating students to become invested in the education process.

Based on my beginning knowledge of this technology, I see blogging as a wonderful way for students share ideas and learn from their peers. I teach 8th grade Science and my classes are heterogeniously mixed. There is not enough time in a class to hear from every student. Responding on a blog would be a way of making sure that the reluctant (for whatever reason)participants would have a voice.

One of my goals this year is to include current events into my classroom. The written responses have not been what I envisioned. I think that student interest would improve if they did not have to 'put pen to paper' and there is nothing like having 95 of your peers reading what you wrote to improve the content! Students could also benefit from seeing many different levels of writing.

Developing a relationship with scientists who are working in the areas that we are studying might be a good idea. My school department blocks all blogs - I am working on getting this changed. Now that I understand that I can have some control over what is actually published and who comments on it, I am better prepared to plead my case.

At this time I see my classroom blog as a forum for students to comment on a science-related current event. Hopefully it can evolve into a tool that students can use for research complete with links to where they found the information that formed their opinions.

I also really like the idea of creating a blog that looks like a webpage.

My blog address is: mrsohalloranscience.blogspot.com

susan t adams said...

Blogging is a way to communicate ideas, thoughts... Although it is much more complex, faster and can include a larger audience, the end result is the same as when using pen and paper.
When given an assignment, children (and adults) will always respond better when the topic is of interest and/or fun, whether blogging or using a pen.
I think children who don't have experience with the internet and don't use computers on a regular basis would probably put more effort into blogging simply because it's new and exciting.
My children both have laptops and before that, their own PC's. They are very computer literate. They know more than I could ever hope to learn. To them, the internet is like a cell phone, something you have to have but don't give it a second thought. In some of their classes, they have to post to class blogs, whether it's homework, responding to the question of the day or commenting on another's post. I asked them if they preferred blogging or using pen and paper and which was easier. They both said that blogging was better because they didn't have to hand in anything, and they didn't have to worry about sloppy penmanship. As far as content, if the assignment is interesting to them, they will put more time into it. If it isn't, they won't.

Rosemary said...

My blog is located at:
wildcatreader.blogspot.com/

I had fun setting it up and will be eager to use it for...not sure what yet! I'm thinking that I could integrate a blog into a project I'm starting at school whereby students come to a "library cafe" during the lunch periods. I'm working on the logistics but in a nutshell, i want to offer a comfortbale, inviting space for the more eager readers to come to the cafe with a book and their lucnh. I'll provide the hot chocolate. A blog might work nicely for students who may want to form a book club. It's a great venue for book discussions.
Anyway, it's a work in progress.

Leilani Coelho said...

After pulling up both websites my initial reaction was that edublogs.org was best for me. At first glance I thought edublogs.org was more visually appealing and educational than blogger.com. After exploring both sites I chose to sign up for blogger.com. I ended up liking blogger.com because it seemed much easier to navigate through. The deal breaker was when I got stuck and had access to great video tutorial that walked me though the issue. Being a visual learner this was a great help!

After seeing other blogs and exploring blogger.com I now know I want my site to be geared toward communicating with parents. I want my site to be a way for parents to go on see what their child did in class each day and even engage in activities that reinforce what they learned.
My site is http://kindergartenkidsri.blogspot.com/

I wonder the same thing that Susan T. Adams wonders. I have a very diverse classroom and only about 50% of my students have a computer at home. How can I help these students get the same opportunities that the others are getting? I also wonder if there are any special programs or grants available to help low income families get a computer.

Lastly, in response to Susan’s question I think that it’s difficult to find motivation for creating a blog and integrating it into the classroom when most don’t have access to the internet at home. I have a similar situation and it helped me to think of it a little more positively. Yes, some don’t have internet access but what about the ones who do? I think if blogging will help or benefit only one of your students then it’s worth it.

susan t adams said...

I've been thinking a great deal about how my class blog could be accessed by all my students. And thanks to Leilani's comment, I've shifted my thinking from those who don't have internet access to those who do. Since most of my students live in the same neighborhood, I think, maybe, I could buddy them up (one who has internet access and one who doesn't), and they could work together. If this works, at least all would be able to post to the blog.

miggity said...

SSSSSSOOOOOOOOOO much to consider!

I'm up and running with two accounts. According the Network Adminstator, I should be able to access edublogs.org from school. This is great news. But after reading your posts, I looked at blogger.com and liked its ease.

For class purposes, I'll give you http://miggitymee.blogspot.com/. I have a few posts for thought. Conversation would be great!

One is a second on Anne's comment about teacher's disrerding the speed at which technology is enriching education and those unwilling to embrace it.

Also, myspace and predators...
Also, posting = publishing???

Now I have to think of a cool sign-off...

MjS

Anne Howard said...

Susan commented about those that want to use the technology but have no access. I never meant to give the impression anyone who isn't using the latest technology should get out of the profession.

I am fortunate to teach or have taught in very well-to do areas with more technology than anyone could want. Over the course of my 18 years in education I have seen money wasted because teachers have not used what was/is available. I just don't understand not wanting to use what is readily available when there are so many schools/teachers/students who would love to have half of what they have. I know I sound like a mother, "Eat up. Finish everything on your plate because there are starving children out there." I guess it just really makes me sad that we have so much available and so few people take advantage of it.

Additionally it makes me wonder, if you don't want to move beyond 1970's technology, what other innovations in education are you resistant to adopting.

Toby Kimball said...

Hey all!

I am taking a slightly different route - I am going to develop (to start with) a blog which dabbles around the course I teach for the University and my personal hobby of Medieval Re-creation (somewhat akin to Civil War Re-enactors). I figure if I play there and build it, I can then showcase my work for my kids in class and by the end of June have them working on their own personal blogs.

I found the reading particularly amazing in covering the safety issue. The fears I have were expressed, I felt a bit more able to protect my students (mostly from themseleves), and have a far greater understanding of some fo the interdisciplinary route I can ponder and use in the weeks/months/years ahead.

My very rough little blog is located at http://dragonsheorth/blogspot.com and I'll add some pictures tomorrow.

FYI - I ordered the text at amazon but also paid the extra $5.99 for the online version - IT IS GREAT! I'd recommend it for anyone since you can cut and paste specifics into a blog for discussion (I'll save you the excercise right now however!). It was well worth it!

Toby

Toby said...

oppps..that should be http://dragonsheorth.blogspot.com - must have typo'd.

Mrs. Raymer said...

I did it and even as I write this comment my mind is just whirling with ideas.

I, too, was impressed with the writings of Kimberly Moritz and her acute awareness of her audience, and then had to smile to myself when I wondered how many posts she denies being published to the site. I hope none but then reality tells me that there must be some of the same kind of people in her district that there are in mine. I guess my optimism is a bit tainted by the fact that we dealt with a student's petition last week -- she doesn't approve of the fact that we have implemented a new test prep period into our schedule. Hmmm, maybe that could be the first topic I put "out there" for my students.

I particularly liked the informational style that the elementary school in Ohio used and can see that it would greatly benefit our school district. We have a website for our high school. I think there are 2-3 people who know how to post to it so you can imagine how outdated it is. Blogger is so easy to use that it would be an easy way to post information quickly.

My blog was created using Blogger basically because I read through a lot of the past posts and saw the numerous comments on how easy it was to use! Leaving all of the previous posts is a great learning tool Dave as I know you believe. I have read through the archive of postings (I wonder if those are the right words) before viewing each of the powerpoints. I guess it's kind of like reading the questions before before reading the passage like we teach kids to do when taking a reading test. Anyway, it works for me. Maybe someone else can use that method, too.

I'm rambling, I know. Here's my link http://echsguidance.blogspot.com/
It's only the beginning. It has so much potential. It's going to be great!

Anonymous said...

Melissa
Meliss381@aol.com
www.melissaberenberg.blogspot.com


I feel that I could easily integrate blogs into my discipline. Now that I have set up my own blog, I think that each student I work with could create their own or we could set up one for the classroom. For each unit of study that I teach, I could set up a blog with assignments such as the one that we are using for this course. By using the resource to moderate comments, I would be able to make sure that the comments were appropriate before posting them. I could also use the blog as an assessment, student reflection, or even to publish student work. As a reading teacher, we could even form a book club where the students could interact with each other and I would provide them with guidelines. Blogging could be a new means for literature circles. It would also be an efficient way to keep track of the books the children are reading and a way to promote good books for other students to read.

I wonder if blogs will ever be a part of the curriculum. I hope that they will be accessible from school and have the resources to keep up with this trend. It seems that local principals and teachers are using blogs and I am excited to join in on the fun.

D. Esposito said...

Dave

Thanks for the answer on how to let others post to your blog. I set up a personal blog this weekend and invited members of my family to post and comment.

Donna

Mrs. Z. said...

Hi All,

This session was so helpful in setting up the blog and thinking about how many ways they can be used! Unfortunately, all blogs are blocked at our school, so students will have to access our team blog from home. Almost all students have internet access at home, so I don't think it will be a major problem, but there are always a couple who aren't connected, so I'll have to figure that out. Our librarian is on a mission to "un-block" the blogs, and I have every faith in her! But, until then...wiki sites can be accessed, and we are planning on setting up a wike space for an upcoming lit circle. Another teacher in our building did a pilot, and the kids loved it. Right now, I am planning on using the blog I just set up for peer editing/sharing of resources for persuasive essays the kids are working on. I'm sure they know more than I do, so I'm looking forward to their help. I did notice that students must have an e-mail account to add them as users. While I think most of them do, is there any way around this?
Sorry for the late posting, I have been sick all weekend and am out of school today still feeling pretty lousy.
My blog address is: zannellablueteamblog.blogspot.com

Until next time...Steph Z.

miggity said...

FROM MY BLOG... www.miggitymee.blogspot.com

Get the leeches!
"Today's students, of almost any age, are far ahead of their teachers in computer literacy." Nat'l Tech Plan, Jan '05

Too many accept this with complacency and excuses for the 'tech illiterate' of the profession. Here's a parallel to the medical field... Imagine...--Nat'l Medical Plan, Jan '05... Although most doctors see the benefits of penicillin, the use of x-rays to assist in diagnosis and treating the 'whole' person not just symptoms, there are some doctors who prefer to use leeches to suck out evil spirits that inhabit the blood of the sick, provide little pieces of paper with prayers on them to be eaten when feeling a sickness coming on and, if surgery is necessary, just using a stick in the mouth instead of that anesthesia stuff other doctors are using.

How long would this doctor be in business?

John Polinick said...

Well, wow. There are so many different types of blogs and reasons for blogs. You basically turn into a small part of a big picture. I have already set up a classroom blog that could be really useful for my students. Many students have access to computers and they often use them to contact eachother. The children I teach are in the sixth grade, so their interactions are different than high school or even middle school for that matter. I think that children will be able find missed assignments when absent, get clarification from peers, and even initiate some after school productive talk. I also think that this blog could be a valuable asset for parents who want to stay in touch with what their children are studying, learning, and doing in school. I think I may post the daily assignments on the blog or even give individual students this job. It would be a great way to keep the lines of communication open between school and families.
I chose blogger because Providence has basically everything blocked. However, google isn't blocked yet. I may be able to get around the whole blogging issue, if i can log myself into google. Unfortunately, all emails are blocked, and many key words kick off the internet police...
After I started the blog setup, I began to tinker with the options. I had to modify the options to only allow the blog to post after I have OK'd it. I don't want my 11 year olds to say whatever comes to mind. We all know it is a little easier to say something online than it is in person. People sometimes forget that what you write can be seen by EVERYONE. I will create and pass out a permission/acceptable use form for students and their parents also. Once this is complete I will add them to my list and have them sign in. Once signed in then they can post directly. Any problems, and their posting priviledges will be reduced. Posting for a classroom brings up a bunch of possible issues that my pop up. Anyone have any other suggestions? My blog is set up and the address is http://rfkfamily.blogsot.com

Joan O'Halloran said...

My apologies for sending my survey results in late - I was sick last week and due to our rotating schedule I didn't see all classes until yesterday. As it turns out 99% of my students have used MySpace or Facebook. However, they didn't know what the term 'blog' meant.

bream said...

Hello,
My blog site is http://bream-ream.blogspot.com I was amazed at how easy it was to set up. I now have to decide how I am going to use it.

It is so interesting to see how the world of teaching is constantly changing. I have only been teaching for 8 years and in that short time the way we teach and the tools that are available to aid in teaching have dramatically changed. With the introduction of Web 2.0, the face of education will never be the same. It is our job as educators to be on top of the newest technology so that we can deliver our curriculum in the best method possible. That is very hard for many of us seeing that most of us are digital immigrants.

I am a digital immigrant, however I am so excited about the future and what it holds for our students. I am excited and also overwhelmed by everything that is out there. I have been spending a great deal of time reading about Web 2.0 and I just attended the PETE & C conference where I learned even more about blogs, and wikis. My problem is trying to figure out how best to utilize these tools in my classroom. I don't want to just use them - I want them to have a specific purpose and enhance the students learning of the curriculum.

I am in the Family and Consumer Science dept and I teach an array of classes. This marking period I am teaching Human Development I and Contemporary Living. My wheels are beginning to spin and I am trying to figure out how to use these wonderful tools in these classes. I am hoping that I will acquire many ideas from everyone in this class that I will be able to incorporate into my classroom.