Tuesday, February 12, 2008

921--Session 3

So there may still be some skepticism in some of you about the practicality and positive uses of this technology. After all, it does seem like every time we hear or read about blogs and children from the news media--- they have a negative connotation. Briefly skim this report published by Nielsen: http://www.nielsen-netratings.com/pr/pr_070117.pdf
I am sure that you will be convinced that blogs are not a passing fad. You can't fake these numbers.

And more importantly, Session 3 is now uploaded and accessible, but before you do that I want to introduce you to a simple tool to help you monitor both my blog postings and the comments from your fellow participants.

Please visit: http://wikidave.wikispaces.com/How+to+subscribe+to+blogs This link will visually walk you through the steps to set up a Bloglines account. Its primary purpose is to deliver to you every new blog posting by me and every new comment by your fellow participants. It has a lot of bells and whistles, but don't get distracted by them. Follow the basic instructions and it shouldn't take you too long.

Additionally, I'd like you to watch this tutorial. It is on 'Social Bookmarking.' We are all familiar with the ability to save favorite websites in our "Favorites" folder, but what if you had the ability to see other edc921 participants' favorites? What if you could benefit from the greatest sites found by other teachers? What if you could access their favorites, as well as your own, from any Internet connected computer? Check out this tutorial and sign up for an account, (optional) and help us by 'tagging' all the great sites you find with an 'edc921' label. If you are apprehensive, visit Del.icio.us and do a search for 'edc920' and you'll find all the websites used from that course. I haven't started tagging for this course, but maybe we could do it together.

Pace yourself this week. There is a lot to go over, so don't put it all off until the weekend, and don't forget to visit your fellow participants' new blogs. All addresses should be posted under S2. I'm also creating a links to each one in the left hand margin.



Anonymous said...

Diane Cunha
Thoughts on Session 3:
Looking at what Class Blogmeister by David Warlick could do really looked nice, but as I read over his blog he commented about the amount of work and support the site takes and what time he can honestly give to it. He mentioned having RSS issues and his response was to deal through some company, that’s their job. So I might try a site like this, but I want to know I can get the help I’ll probably need. The thought of him sitting on his couch in his basement is … not comforting to me.

I want to review and possibly update our school’s Computer Use Policy. I spoke briefly to our IT person today about it and what we can do to educate the students to be safe internet users. The IT person at school has been so helpful in all that I try to do.

I viewed a presentation on one of the award sites, of an Australian elementary school teacher (3rd ) and his year long journey of bringing blogging to his class and fellow teachers. He tried a number of different bogging services as his needs evolved over the year and also had some amusing tips, “Don’t all push the ‘submit password’ button at the same time.” But a recurring theme was his difficulty in getting IT support at his school. His needs were at the bottom of the IT list. I can feel his frustration because I’ve been there too many times.

So I wonder what types of support people have at their schools? Do we all have IT people who can/will help? I’ve grabbed my lap top and run down to the computer lab so many times this year and that will make all the difference to me. Having that support. (I even erased my gradebook!) That’s it for now. I want to submit this before I download Session 4. Maybe I’ll write more later. Have a good week everyone. DC

ClareO said...

I read an article the other day about a 4th grade class in Virginia that was using podcasts in a unit about colonial Jamestown. They were recording journal entries as if they were living during that time period. I thought it was a cool idea. I was thinking when I get good at this stuff that I may have my students record their poetry and put it on the blog for all to hear. It would be exciting for them, and would be a great fluency activity to record and hear themselves read. It would also be a neat way to share what they are doing with their parents and other family members. Just an idea in the making mind you. We'll see how it all pans out.

Amy Messerlian said...

I can’t believe how much information is out there on blogging. There are even awards! Amazing! I was fascinated by the statistics regarding the amount of students who use blogs. I learned a lot this session, including that blogs can be commercialized (hey, $6.24 is better than nothing at all) and with how rapidly the use of blogging is growing.
I like the idea of giving homework assignments where the student has to post on the classroom blog. I have a feeling that I have more of a chance of having them complete the assignment than if I had given them a handout or book assignment to complete. The students seem ready to start giving this type of blogging a try so I am hopeful that it will be successful.
Responding to Diane, I also am quite fortunate to have access to more than willing and excited to help IT people! They are always there to answer questions or teach us new things! I have checked out everyone’s blogs and it is nice to see the diversity. They all look good!
Doing a little research on my own I learned that the Gartner Group forecasts that blogging will peak in 2007, leveling off when the number of writers who maintain a personal website reaches 100 million. I read that on Wikipedia.com. I have started to venture out a little bit and have even posted a comment on a fitness blog. I mentioned to my dad who is currently undergoing chemotherapy treatments to find a blog where people are going through the same thing he is. I am still captivated by the diversity of blogs on the web and the number of people who use them.

MDavis said...

Mark Davis

The article David posted from Nielsen NetRatings really got me going. My friend, who is pursuing
a degree in educational technology, was asked to produce similiar Web 2.0 products for his
courses. I steered him in the direction of using this data for some of research and we so
impressed with the possible impact that we can began moving ahead with some on-going projects.

I told the group that I had used the Moodle (moodle.org) software for online classrooms for
several years, but I had not really explored the blogging feature which has come around in the newer versions. What impressed me was how many kids were really into this in a format that never occured to me: MySpace and Facebook. Somehow, I never equated their postings as a blog, but it was quite clear from the book and presentations for this course, that this was exactly what was occuring. I felt foolish for not really moving ahead with this sooner!

Beginning this week, I set up an online classroom with a co-teacher in English to try and integrate a lesson plan with blogging. I also had the students complete a more in-depth poll from the informal I did for our second session regarding their uses for technology. It was interesting to hear questions like "What's a podcast?" from one student and another who could rattle off productive uses of it. Most of all, I think I liked knowing that the students were well-equipped for these types of discussions but equally motivated and intrigued that their teachers were considering them for a class assignment. Yes, it's like a shock and horror that these adults know what goes on when they enter cyberspace!

In thinking about Diana's question, I am very fortunate that we have an in-house technician for
all computers and a strong technology plan in my school district. That's not to say that we are maximizing our resources fully or doing earth-shaking new ideas, but we have a good rapport for asking questions, experimenting with new technologies, and developing our current ones to the classroom with ease. I've been fortunate to use everything from tablet PCs and digital whiteboards, to video conferencing and professional-grade studio recording equipment to accomplish tasks for non-technology classes (such as a content area course). My experiences show me that many teachers fear using technology in the same manner as others might have feared the film projector or digital gradebooks. Once things begin to move (efficiently) there is a sense of doubt that we will not be able to recover from a situation of peril while students wait eagerly for the next step.

But I want to be honest here, blogs only interest me in a casual sense. I don't doubt the power
of using them as an educational resource or as a means of publishing conversations across great distances, but I don't see myself becoming an avid blogger like some of friends. I admit that similiar technologies such as RSS have been a powerful way for me to get a quick update on the movement of my favorite music artists and keep tabs on news/sporting events. But I just don't feel like stepping up on a soap box for politics, educational issues, or journaling purposes. For a long time, I used my personal webpages with these things in mind. I felt empowered about speaking my mind and disillusioned enough to think that anybody cared. But now I'm a bit cynical when it comes to share my opinion. I'm not entitled to it as much as I believe some think that I am. Additionally, the globalness (for the lack of better word) that comes into play seems overlook. In other words, my local, personal rants about change limits my scope and gives a false sense of importance, when in fact anyone in the world could go out there and respond to me with a distant, biased remark.

What I am saying is that I look forward to an on-going discussion about how powerful blogs and similiar "sounding boards" can be and how limited our vision often is. We certainly see plenty of articles encouraging bias and egotism in order to be an active participant (http://www.cnn.com/2006/TECH/internet/10/17/shortcuts.blogging/index.html) or the danger of adolescents sharing intimate and personal information about themselves with little protection over the content or their safety (http://www.cnn.com/2006/EDUCATION/05/23/transcript.wed/index.html). Althought I enjoy an active conversation, a book talk, or an online support group, I don't feel comfortable yet with the exclusive, spotlighted focus of a self-written blog where I would be open to criticism when I simply shared my thoughts. Sounds a silly, but I think it's an anxiety that my colleagues and I expressed in different ways as we prepared for integrating more online conversations and I would value your thoughts if you care to share.

ClareO said...

I was so impressed with all the different uses of blogs within education. There is so much information out there it just makes my head spin.

After looking at all the award winning blogs I was able to envision some ideas I could take back to my own site. I am still completely intrigued by the use of podcasts. I enjoyed listening to the English students from Portugal with there descriptions of themselves. The elementary teacher in me is seeing (or hearing) fluency lessons written all over that.

I also enjoyed looking at the Duck Diaries. I guess I am drawn to those blogs that are very elementary classroom related. The upper level ones are great, but I have a hard time looking at them and seeing my application. I get inspired by those lower level teachers who have their kids writing, singing, or reciting stories, songs, poems, and ideas. This is where I find myself spending most of my time, reading what these little ones have to share.

I am a little nervous about deliverable #2. I am not sure I am ready to have my kids jump in and start blogging. I am surely not ready to go forward with my poetry unit yet. I am wondering how I can integrate something I am doing right now into a blog discussion with my kids. Maybe I will pick a core group of kids with parents I have good contact with to kind of test the waters. Rather than jumping in whole class on the first try. Is anyone else feeling the apprehension?

carol fishbein said...

As I look through the many examples of award winning blogs, I am struck by how some teachers have been out there all this time using a tool that I had no idea even existed. Having many ESL students, I truly loved the use of Podcasts to recite descriptions, and the ideas of one of my peers to use podcasts in her poetry blog.
It is unfortunate that "Deliverable 2" came when it did, since for the first part of my deliverable, I wanted to get other 5th grade teachers in the district involved in sharing curriculum ideas. However, one school is being "SALT" evaluated this week, and the rest of us our dealing with this being the last week of the marking period, with testing up the wazoo and grades due by the weekend. It was not a good time to stress out teachers more by asking them to start sharing some of their science ideas and activities with me. So my deliverable is still just a work in progress.Hopefully, by the next 2 weeksI can get several teachers to respond to my blog sight.
Yes, deliverable 3 will probably be overdue by then, but I'm getting more into the process than the grades right now.
I did not try using the blocking of the anonymous bloggers this week. Since I had trouble downloading Unit 3 until yesterday, I didn't know we were supposed to play around with that. Frankly, I didn't have time yesterday to do it, but I will. I know, however, that I will not want to stop all anonymous blogs because then I couldn't get other teachers to respond, or let my kids go on-line. {Am I right that they can only go on as "Anonymous"?}
I do think, however, that the delayed publishing is the way I'll probably set up my site. As one of my fellow bloggers learned, it took me a while to understand why my comment was not automatically posting 9since they were using the delayed post screening). At first I thought that I had hit the wrong button (something I seem to have a true knack for); it was only after I re-typed my message that I 'got it'. Sorry for the double message.
Gotta get back to grading papers, but look forward to opening the next session tomorrow.
I find this blogging stuff addicting.

Anonymous said...

Session 3 Comments

They’re everywhere! They’re everywhere. Blogs, I mean. I have read a few blogs, usually on a sports internet site and I have certainly heard of blogs being used in other arenas politics, medicine, etc.). However, I was not aware of the extent to which they are used. I was also not aware of their already wide-spread use in the area of education. The work being done by teachers around the world is impressive. I have fast come to realize that blogs can and do help students learn and teachers teach. I am not aware of many such blogs being used at North Kingstown HS, but I need to look into it. One of our teachers, Amy Messerlian, is currently in this class with us. She is excited about the potential of blogs in her classroom and has already developed a blog and has implemented for her students’ use. Amy raves about the blog’s acceptance and use by her students.

As I stated in my earlier comments to Session 2, I envision using my blog to communicate with the school community on matters concerning discipline and safety at the school. I do not predict the same level of passion and use as Amy enjoys from her students, but I am okay with that.

I would also like to take the opportunity to applaud my classmates who have their blogs up and running. It is so important for us to use every tool possible to engage our students. Many (most?) are proficient in the use of blogs and comfortable with them as methods of communication. For us educators to add blogs to our toolkits of teaching techniques can only help in the teaching and learning process.

I must now begin to investigate the use of blogs (not web pages, such as we already have here at NKHS) by other administrators at other schools. I suspect there are many who have beat me to it. I hope to gain from their experiences and to incorporate any useful items from their blog experience as I develop my blog.

John Lalli

Dave Fontaine said...


ireallylovetoread said...

I just received the "textbook" for this class, and am in the process of reading the first part. It is really interesting; I can't wait to utilize this technology next year!

Lisa A. Pereira said...

I just created my first blog! The address is mrspereira@blogspot.com

Amy said...

Grade One Classroom
I was very excited to see the other teachers in our field sharing their blogs. I think that Grade One Classroom was very beneficial for me to view. I was able to identify with the teacher. She has a blog that is monitored by her. If there is anything that she does not want on the webpage, she has the power to keep it off. This teacher made some very good points. I am also responding to a fellow classmates response. Although we see our students avoiding reading a book and preferring to use a computer for games and my space, when we think about it and start to use these blogs, kids will write and respond because they are intrigued by the notion that other people aside from the teacher are seeing and reading their work and it becomes amazing for them to see that someone in New Zealand is interested in what they have to say.

I think the use of blogs may seem overwhelming to many teachers, because it is indeed some work, but that is because they lack the experiencing in putting one together. It is time consuming AT FIRST, but once you have the hang of it, time flies.

It is really a neat experience to see all the different types of blogs there are and how teachers use them. Flickr is interesting with all the pictures you can use.

I have a feeling that if I can get through this course and be able to use a blog properly, I will be administering them into my classroom very shortly.

Madame Defarge said...

I wrote my comment on this session on my blog at madamdefarge.blogspot.com.


Pam B said...

This session looked a little closer at using blogs in education. One of the things that struck me was how blogs are helping to change the landscape of the classroom. I know of course, that technology has had the potential to remove the limitations of the physical walls of the classroom for sometime now and has done that in many schools. Through the capabilities of technology, students and teachers are able to communicate and collaborate with others all around the world. I think blogs are just one more testament to this and I think make collaboration and cooperation with counterparts from distance places even easier.

By the use of blogs, students can collaborate and communicate with others all around the world. This was evident in the testimonial given by the first grade teacher in the video clip. Her students were in contact with students from New Zealand and as a result were interested in learning more about their international classmates. Although I couldn’t connect to the Polar Science web site, this project provided students the opportunity to collaborate with other students from around the globe as well and learn from practicing scientists. What a real life learning experience! This is something not easily done with the typical resources found in most classrooms. When students share comments on a blog, they are not just writing for their teacher or for classmates in their geographical classroom, but they are writing and communicating with a “real” audience. Comments can be shared by anyone from anywhere. This makes writing more real for students and when writing is more real, students are motivated to write more accurately and more carefully.

When we looked at the edublog awards, we saw that students were not the only ones to benefit from blogs. Teachers could more easily collaborate with peers across geographical distances too. Blogs are providing professional opportunities for teachers so educators can also learn from colleagues around the world. A great example was the K-12 Online Conference blog. Another example was Linda Hartley’s blog. She used the Flickr site to visually share classroom displays as a means to demonstrate how displays can enhance learning. Communication in this instance was enhanced by visually seeing the displays of others. Again, a confirmation of how blogs enable communication and collaboration.

It does appear to me that students are more than ready to use blogs as a vehicle for learning. They already feel comfortable with MySpace and Facebook. Many use blogs to communicate with friends. Since students are already using these resources it only makes sense to try and incorporate these resources into the classroom as well. Yet I do have to wonder how many educators are ready to incorporate blogs in their classrooms. I didn’t have the opportunity to query teachers about their use of blogs because schools I work with are already dismissed for summer vacation. Yet relying on teacher librarians I have worked with this past year, I feel pretty sure that using blogs in the classroom is very limited. Part of the reasons I think it isn't happening are technological skills, access to computers, safety concerns for students, a limited understanding of what a blog is and frankly comfort in maintaining the status quo. As this class progresses, I hope to be able to ease some of those fears and concerns. How do I prove the value of blogs and wikis in schools? How do I continue to encourage teachers to integrate new technologies in their classrooms to continue to make education relevant for students?

EPHSTownies said...

Karen Panzarella
I have no idea where the time goes when I am on line looking at all the different blogs, next thing I know and three or four hours have gone by. I have been viewing the links in the presentation as well as looking for other special education teacher’s blogs. If anyone finds any excellent special education class blogs please let me know.

I enjoyed the flickr blog idea this is something I plan to try with my class in the fall (we use a lot of pictures as well as a program called Writing With Symbols (some of my students have picture schedules), K12 on line was also excellent. The online conference is such a great idea and one of the 2007 conferences will be special education.

Our class will post two group stories we work on this week. One titled Thank You to Our Partner and the other about of breakfast field trip to the Elks Club. The blog will also be used to continue to post information to families about class activities.

This week I can really see how blogs can be used in the classroom. I plan to attend RITTI training this summer and will be trying to get other teachers in my high school interested in using blogs. This course has opened my eyes to how fast technology is changing.

pwestkott said...

My reactions to Session 3's reading, PPT and the many Edublogs that Dave sent our way are:

There was much to consider as we worked through this week's work. While I was mostly drawn toward those that dealt with primary and intermediate classrooms and students, I was struck with how blogs can meet anyone's purpose. We may need to simplify that purpose by determining who is the intended audience. The Portuguese teacher of English did this as she exposed her students to ways for using our language.

Then there was John Pierce's blog that through his archives shared his journey developing and using blogs with students. I liked the FAQ's approach. By the time his blog had traveled the course of a year, John had asked students to evaluate using blogs as learning tools. Was anyone surprised that these kids described this as "Fun"? Plus, it was enjoyable listening to his Australian English.

"Duck Diaries" evolved out of one of those teachable moments used to motivate students, especially young ones, as ithey mmerse themselves in everything they can about a topic.

Linda Hartley's use of "Flickr" opened my eyes to the potential of what this software has to offer. I need to consider how I might use it, too. It may be my "primary" experience but I love the visual impact Flickr provides.

K12 Online turned out to be a rich resource for our work. One link lead me to another and another. Four or five hours can pass quickly as I meander around, searching, absorbing and hopefully, refining my own thinking in the process.

During an iced tea break from garderning today, I tuned in the end of an awards program for comedy. Jerry Seinfeld was being honored as the first recipient. His acceptance speech was a parody of why there is no need for awards and the shows where they are presented.

This brought me back to awards for EduBlogs. Some group of people determined the need to showcase qualities of EduBlogs that had been developed for a specific audience. In this instance we were the audience. Their diversity made us notice what their purpose was and for whom it was intended. I can believe that these award recipients were just as pleased to be honored as was Seinfeld in his closing remarks. The" rhetorical sensitivity" was evident. A comedian, teacher or student think and then write what they value and wish to communicate. Blogging demands that!

So, that brings me to my "wonderings":

While examining my cohorts' blogs, I noticed how some of us have jumped right in and changed the dynamic of our work. You appear to be fearless and share your thinking while it is in progress. Then there are others, like me, who think and plan and consider what I want to communicate before writing anything. Since blogging is such public writing, I want to be careful how I communicate. I'm feeling the stakes are higher.

I'm wondering if this is more a reflection of personal style, rather than willingness or discomfort with blogging at this early time.

Also, my one reservation about this social discourse is how to measure people's comments. What I mean is that I value my collaborative experiences deeply. At NES, we always have opportunities for participating in a book group or at least one Professional Learning community (PLC). We share some common goals that demand research and practice, followed up with debriefing among colleagues. I always learn more than I have to offer.

Maybe, I'm feeling the same way about EDC 921 - there's far more to learn from everyone than I can offer. In all candor, we have yet to begin interacting to each other's comments and wonderings. Maybe we aren't ready.

It wil be intersting to notice how our online social interactions begin to emerge and network among us.

I need to end this with I'm unsure how to move toward the next "Deliverable". This coming week's "homework" seems to raise the stakes. So how do we utlize blogging in our own teaching and learning?

Scott Rollins said...

Scott Rollins
Session 3

I found it really interesting to look at the award winning blogs as well as my fellow colleagues’ blogs. I admit that I was skeptical at first about the realty of actually using a blog in my classroom. I thought it was a good idea but I wasn’t really sure about how to practically use one in my courses. It has definitely helped to look at the award winning ones. As I look at some of them, I find myself thinking of lessons or tasks that can be done through blogs. I like the idea of actually cutting down on the paperwork that I’m handed each day to sift through! I pride myself on having a classroom where the students should feel comfortable enough to speak out on any topic. I really am buying into how creating a class blog will foster a more comfortable feeling in regards to each student’s opinions and concerns.

I do have to say that I wish I had taken this class in the spring so that I would have some “guinea pigs” to test my blog out on! With this being the end of the year, I don’t really have time with the students to test out some lessons. Taking the course now should give me time to really develop some lessons over the summer and have them ready for the fall.

I particularly thought the Portuguese teacher’s blog was really good. I also thought it was cool but a bit nerve racking to think that people all over the world can read my blog…LOTS of pressure! I have already spent several hours testing out colors and layouts, Dave was certainly correct when he mentioned how much time you can actually spend looking at others blogs and playing with your own!

I also wanted to thank some of my fellow classmates for the helpful suggestions/comments on my blog. Its always good to get an outside opinion.

Robin Shtulman said...

Grrr. Arrgh. I just wrote a long and thoughtful (and eloquent ... and brilliant) comment, hit the "publish" button, and got an error message. Sigh. Here goes an attempt at re-creation:

I think it was Amy who mentioned the fact that classroom teachers may feel too overwhelmed to try blogging or other new things. As the librarian, I feel it's part of my job to find one or two new tools to explore, get the basics of, and then try to demonstrate for everybody. Sometimes I do a whole staff professional development session, sometimes I teach interested staff one at a time. Often, if I just take the time to walk them through an introductory example, their hesitation dissipates.

This year, I showed everybody the basics of using blogger. Only one teacher took me up on it, but he was very successful. We worked together on the blog for a little while, and then it morphed into something that more closely matched his teaching style. He reaped big benefits when some of his classroom parents became frequent commentors.

I know that his success has led more of our teachers to be interested. They'll supply the content area knowledge and creative brilliance that I lack, and they'll forget that they ever felt afraid of blogging!

msaunders said...

Maybe I'm beginning understand the usefulness of blogs. I have subscribed for years to email lists on topics useful to librarians: one through the ALA and one that includes the users of the library management program (the catalog and circulations software) that we use plus a group list from my state school library association and another for the young adult librarians in our regional library system (public and school). I find these email lists very useful and have most of them set to digest mode, but keeping current on those takes time. I couldn't imagine opening every blog that interests me even once a week to find out what has been posted and who has commented. "Waste of time," I thought.
Now, having "subscribed" to each of my classmate's blogs using Bloglines and also to a few of the blogs from our readings, I begin to see the point of Bloglines. I can go here and indentify the new postings and comments without having to check each one individually. What a great idea! Blogging may be useful after all.
Mary Saunders

Robin Shtulman said...

Okey-dokey. I subscribed to bloglines. Thanks for the very clear directions! (And thanks for putting them in note form, instead of only video!)

Michael Skeldon said...

OK, so I created my own blog:


I've had a few issues, but I'm off and running. I just got the text from Amazon and I am astounded at the sheer variety of things people have done with the technology.

One question haunts me, however.. How do I get my blog listed on the class page?

A little help?

Anonymous said...

Tom Carney
ride 8398@ride.ri.net

Session 3

I was really glad to see that there was an easy way to check updated blogs without having to sign on to each account. I have subscribed to bloglines and I am adding links to some of the useful educational blogs that we have seen in the sessions.

This session really clarified just how many uses there are for blogs in education. The award winning blogs were really neat and they open countless ideas for the future use of my own blog page. It just seems like so much at first, but with each passing session I am learning that with the right methods at your disposal using this technology is not as difficult as it first appears.

I told my (former) seventh grade students to post comments to my blog page on books that they are reading this summer but have yet to receive anything. I am excited to begin working with these ideas so that I can form them around my own indiviual style and make them effective for my classes.

Dave Fontaine said...


Reading blog said...

Until this class I never realized that blogs even existed. Educators are doing terrific things in their classrooms using edublogs. It’s great to see so many people excited about it. In the Coming of Age assignment there was a special educator who used a blog in her classroom with a small group of girls. I thought it was great they went over the rules and the students signed their agreement. I just wonder how the parents felt at first. I can picture parents at my school having concerns about their children using blogs. I also have the concern about the students that don’t have access to a computer at home. I am a reading specialist therefore I do not have my own classroom of students. I co-teach with other teachers. I’m just not sure if the teachers would be willing to give up their classtime to go to the library. I am also going to have to check the library to make sure we would be able to access these sites.

It was very helpful to see all the different varieties of edublogs. I can tell the educators spend a great deal of time on the blogs. I wonder if they started out knowing exactly what they wanted to do or if it just fell into place as it went along.

I can picture where I would like my blog to go but if I don’t get participation from students it won’t take off. The blog may end up going in a different direction. I’m going to discuss it with the teachers I work with this week. I am going to discuss the blog for my college class with my students this week. I am going to post a prompt and see if anyone posts comments.

I am also curious as to how other educators assess the posts. Do they have rubrics for participation?

famous said...

Another thought about reading habits of teens. As noted in the beginning of the session, many teens don't think they're reading, but in fact they're online for a good part of the day and reading blogs, etc.
I'm citing an article, though it's not available online about how reading isn't just about books anymore:
Braun, Linda W. "Reading--It's Not Just About Books." Young Adult Library Services. 5:4 (38-40), 2007.

Maria said...

I feel like I've been away on a trip to a deserted island for a long time. Wow! There are so many blogs out there. Maybe having an almost 3-yr old has prevented me from being more literate on the subject. I feel like I've missed so much.

I spent the week reading blogs, following links to others, looking at the examples from Session 3 and thinking about how all of this can change the way we teach and learn. It's great to see that Australia and the UK seem to have embraced this technology in their school cultures. It seems to be catching on a little more here in the US in various settings. I think there is a great potential for change in the way we prepare our children to learn and how we keep records of their progress. (Of course there are concerns too) I wonder what education in our schools will look like five years from now as technology continues to boom in our society?

I liked the classroom examples of the blogs that I saw - the video of the first grade class and "Duck Diaries" were really well-done. Blogs seem like a great way for parents to keep up with their child's education and the happenings in the classroom. Our district is always searching for better ways to get our parents involved. I wonder if this will be something that school districts will encourage at some point?

As for now, my district filters just about every blog I've tried to access. It's frustrating to see that in some places, teachers and students are allowed to reach new heights with their teaching and learning but in other places, there are so many walls being put up to "protect" students from the dangers out there in the online world. I wonder what good this really is, especially when it seems that a very high percentage of students are already using social networks and the like in their everyday lives (PEW report)?

I could go on and on here but I've got to get to work now. I'm still working on my Tech Dept to gain some access to several blogs, including one I'll need to create for my students for this class. My blog that I've already created is probably going to be an educator blog with no student interaction. I'm going to try to get my peers in the district to jump on board so we can use it to discuss our ideas, etc.

Anonymous said...

I always find research reports on human behavior interesting. While reading the report on teenage use of social networking sites, I was thinking about how my high school students use the internet. There is definitely a predominance of myspace users- but I find that some of my more “sophisticated” students, those who will attend a four year college post-graduation, tend to use Facebook. I wonder why? Has anyone else working with YA’s noticed this? I haven’t explored either well enough to be able to discern the difference between the two.

I don’t believe that social networking tools are necessarily “the enemy” but they are blocked by our school’s filter. I always teach students about safe use of the internet as well as being smart about pictures they post online (the cheerleading squad was disbanded last year after posting pics of themselves doing shots at a weekend party-duh!). The filters today are pretty good though and there should be no excuse why IT departments can’t let through non-offensive blogs (which at this point I am still able to do). I do feel that filters are necessary in a school environment. It is impossible for me to be aware of what every student is doing on a computer at all times-though I do try. A few years ago, student in our district did leave the state to meet an older man she met online. I wonder what liability would be on an individual teacher if it were found that she was contacting him from a school computer?

I found the readings about blogs as good tools for learner autonomy and voice very interesting. Also the discussion about how blogs are primarily a tool for facilitating conversation. At what point does the English teacher edit blog entries? Is blogging a form of communication/education that will “stick” with today’s students? or do they just identify this medium with social networking?


Melissa Horton said...

I know I am a bit late - or maybe just last minute - but here is my Blogger site.


I am enjoying this site, but Blogger is blocked at my school. I am trying to have students create Showcase Portfolios online. I have chosen to use Wikispace, since it is not blocked at my school.

However, Blogger just looks better. Maybe next year I will speak to my tech department and see if they can allow Blogger.

Dave Fontaine said...


Anne Howard said...

I was introduced to del.icio.us last June when I was attending a workshop in Charleston, SC. I absolutely love it!!

What I have not been able to find out, and someone may know, is how to set up a network so that you are only sharing bookmarks within your network.

I'm really lax about updating my web page(I'm not really lax, there are issues) and last week I wanted to have my 7th grade students access some links I found to help them with a project. When I mentioned I needed to get on my del.icio.us site they all started laughing. None of them had ever heard of it before. I glowed for a few minutes - I actually knew about something before they did!

Donna said...

Is anyone having trouble getting an email verification from Bloglines? I've tried 3 different email accounts (comcast,yahoo and my school account)and I have not gotten an email verification yet.

D. Esposito said...

The previous comment was from d. esposito (Donna Esposito). I was signed in using my personal blog. It's tough keeping all of these accounts straight.

bream said...

I was introduced to del.icio.us at an in-service day at my school. I have been using it ever since. I absolutely love it. It is so easy to use and the best thing is that I can use it regardless of what computer I am on or what server I am using. I am however unfamiliar with how to share my saved websites with others and how to retrieve what others have saved.

joannak said...

I, too, created a delicious account last year and am thanking my lucky stars for it. I have everything organized, bundled, tagged, and ready to go! I was so sick of forgetting web addresses on my home computer when I knew they were on my favorites at school. Yay for delicious!

joannak said...

Whew...blogged out! I think this session really opened my eyes to the applications of edublogs. I already realized that I could have kids work on homework assignments and share ideas and respond to class via a blog, but blogs like Judy O'Connell's "Best Librarian Blog" put my pathetic ideas to shame.

Does anyone else feel like the more you learn the less you know?!

I am shocked by the level of professionalism of many of these blogs. I keep thinking of blogging as "making the web yours" and "a place to publish yourself." Thanks, Mr. Fontaine for pointing out that most of these bloggers have been at it for years, but -- oh, my -- they're intimidating! I couldn't believe the Polar Science blog. It was beautiful as well as educational and interesting. I could hardly wrap my head around the ideas Nancy White wrote about in her "Blogs and Community." I was shocked at the amount of information that focused solely on blogging communities. I didn't know it could be so complicated!

I think the two blogs that I enjoyed the most were the
Best Teacher Blog (Have fun with English 2) and the Best Audio/Visual Blog by Linda Hartley. I believe that both of these blogs found a balance of professionalism, education, and that snuggly-homey-teacher feel. I followed Linda's bulleting board slideshow into Flickr, and then into usefulwiki.com. I was looking for background info concerning the purpose of the bulletin boards. Why were they created? What was the student's unit/assignment/focus? Don't get me wrong, I enjoyed the presentation of creativity and ideas, but an attached "lesson idea" would be helpful for teachers reading the blog.

Once again, I am not surprised by the commercialization of blogs. As Mr. Fontaine said, money does make the world go round (although, I don't think you'd get much of a spin for $6.24)! But the fact that anyone who wants to make a little fast cash can add some code to a blog and -- viola! Instant advertisement -- is compelling. And as I went through the steps to become an AdSense user, I noticed that one mentioned being "approved" to post an ad. I wonder what those qualifications entail? Quality of the blog? Authoritativeness? Sanity?! I didn't see any tools by which the blogger would be measured. Is it then up to the discretion of Google?

Speaking of Google's discretion...I loved reading that "Google technology understands the meaning of a webpage." It reminds me of the YouTube video about the exponential growth of technology. There is an assertion in the video that one day a computer's "thinking" ability will outmatch that of the human mind.


miggity said...

Few comments, questions...

Is there a way to put the most recent posts at the top of the blog here? I know that has been asked but I didn't see the answer.

John P., can you make available your user policy?

I have now signed up with del.icio.us! I'll be bookmarking and sharing with colleagues.

Has anyone taken a class from U of Pheonix? They have an email program that organizes strands of emails, the responses, etc. What would that be called? I think blogging would be better for our class if it was organized better, by topics rather than sessions.

I'm still working on a cool sign-off.

Donna said...

After some technical difficulty, I finally finished Session 3.

Once again... a lot to absorb. I agree with joannak, sometimes I feel like I know less today than I did yesterday. I found some of the blogs easier to follow than others. I thought the Duck Diaries was really cute and very easy to follow. So right now I guess I am at the lower elementary level for understanding and following blogs.

I found Nancy White's Blogs and the Community a little overwhelming. Polar Science was impressive. A great blog to share with science teachers.

My favorite was the best librarian blog - HeyJude. It has so many useful tips and links. I bookmarked her Web 2.0 notes.

I started using del.icio.us a couple of weeks before this course began. I also set up a Furl account. I'm using both right now, but I think I like del.icio.us better.

Another Web 2.0 term that I was confused about was a Ning. I came across it in some of the blogs in this session and now have a slightly better understanding of what it is.

I've learned so much in the past 3 sessions. Hopefully my understanding will pass the Duck Diaries level.

FHS Library said...

Kim Crotty

I agree with Joanna's comment "the more you learn the less you know." I even feel like I'm learning a second language with all the new technology terms and acronyms. I feel like a jack of all trades and master of none. However, this class has forced me to focus my thoughts and ideas on specific tools. I am encouraged right now becuase I have been focusing only on Blogging. I actually feel like I'm accomplishing something by focusing my time on exploring blogs, reading blogs and creating blogs.

I also have a del.icio.us account and have found it to be extremely useful! I use it for teaching and also for my personal use.

FHS Library said...

Kim Crotty

With the changes in technology and the Web 2.0 tools, I do believe our AUP needs to be updated. Has anyone done this in their district and would you be willing to share it? I did take a look at some of the AUP links that were noted in our book but if anyone has one already in place, I'd love to see it!Thanks!

Anne Howard said...

While our AUP is rather generic, I think this is the most useful wording. If we get too specific then students can/may use this as a loophole enabling them to engage in unacceptable practices without consequences.

Our AUP is in our school handbook. Go to http://www.trinityschoolmd.org/documents/StudentHandbookWeb.pdf
to access it.

A Pisani said...

I have really enjoyed looking at all of the blogs everyone has created! Adding those links was a great idea, Dave!
While checking out all of the blogs I noticed Melissa Berenberg had a slide show on her page and I loved it. After viewing the tutorial on how to customize the header on our own blog pages, I went to give that a shot and I noticed the option for adding a slide show! It's up and running with some cool fractal images! I love it!
I haven't set up a del.icio.us account yet, but I will take a look at that next.
I am also having a hard time getting my Bloglines account set up. I think Donna mentioned that it took her a while to get an email confirmation, and it looks like I am running into the same issue. I'll keep checking on that!

D. Esposito said...


Yes I did have a problem with Bloglines account setup (it was acutually a Comcast problem - they were blocking the verification emails, because it they assumed it was spam - even when I unchecked the filter spam option.) I don't know who your email provider is, but that may be the problem. I contacted both Comcast and Bloglines -sent a email message). Bloglines fixed the problem. It may take a couple of days - you will get a instant receipt email for your problem, but then it will take another day or 2 for the verification to come through. Be patient, I was not and now I have 4 Blogline accounts. Comcast on the other hand, left me a phone message that they first need my email address to fix the problem (which I gave to them at least 4 times). Yet another reason I am thinking of getting rid of Comcast. Hope this helps.

Jennifer Long said...

Session 3:

While listening to the EduBlog Award mp3, I twirled about two main threads of thought: First, there are many, many people out there, creating many, many terrific blogs; Second, even the techies have tech problems, as was evident with the Skypecast portion of the announcements.

With the awards playing in the background, I perused the links from the PowerPoint. I particularly enjoyed the blog from Teresa Almeida d'Eça in Portugal. (http://fwe2.motime.com/). I enjoyed her conversational tone, her easy-to-read format, her imbedded assignment links, and her fun audio files. Here is a classroom project that felt like a social networking site; I can imagine her students’ enthusiasm for the project and their engagement with learning. I also enjoyed Hartley’s flickr site, and was inspired to sign up for a flickr account of my own. What a great way to preserve and share all the work we display in schools! Finally, while getting lost in the 2007 K12 Online Conference site (terrific!), I found Drew Murphy’s “Step by Step: Building a Web 2.0 Classroom”. With intelligence and a (corny, but fun) sense of humor, Murphy presented ideas for incorporating Web 2.0 into schools. This clearly-delivered presentation will serve as my guide for the process we will soon undertake.

I mention the Skypecast issues with Edublog award announcements because on my blog (http://newportlmc.blogspot.com/), a colleague mentioned using skype as a collaborative tool, in addition to the blog, when we are working on our district projects. I am intrigued by the use of skype as an alternative to cell phones, and as a way to incorporate conference calls. I need to look into this a bit more. We plan to use the blog for asynchronous communication, more readily fitting into our everyday lives. We would supplement with skypecast during times we want to bounce ideas off each other’s immediate ears, perhaps during the drafting of documents that we work on collaboratively.

Has anyone used skype for collaborative, conference-call type situations? Successes? Challenges?

Susan T Adams said...

I've gone through this session's slide show three times. Each time (spending hours at a time) concentrating more and more on the different blogs, and I'm feeling a bit overwhelmed.
I really liked Linda Hartley's blog. She found a way to archive bulletin boards using web 2.0 technology. In my district, only 20% of the classroom walls can be decorated, and the bulletin board outside of my room can only be decorated for five days at a time. That's right, five days! Then I have to take it down, but I can put a different one up. I know, it doesn't make sense!
I also liked "K12 On Line Conference 2007." This is one that would take days to read and watch if one was to hit every link. I went to two. I read one and watched a 44 minute video by David Warlick. He said,"We are preparing our children for a future that we cannot clearly describe and this has profound implications on how and what we teach." I put this in because it states how many educators feel. Many of use don't quite know what to do right now in the classroom. or if we do, we don't have the technology!

Mrs. Z. said...

Hello All,

Whew! So much info, so little time. I never realized how many blogs are out there. (My son makes fun of me everytime I saw the word "blog." I'll be laughing last when my blog is a complete success--I hope!)

I set up the bloglines account and can already see the benefits of this one. I haven't tried del.icio.us yet.

I hope to set up a flickr account as I see this as a great way to display student work. The RI fire codes have me very limited as to how much I can display, and this is always so frustrating for me. In addition, I think parents would love to see work on our blog.
The potential is endless.

I thought the Polar Science blog was so interesting, and I'm definitely intimidated by these award-winning blogs; they really are so well done. Thanks for linking us to classmates' blogs; they too are looking fantastic!

I tried to have everything in place for students before vacation in terms of giving them the info on the blog, etc., but ran out of time. I really want to send home a letter similar to the one in our book, so parents know what's going on and permission is given for kids to participate. All have signed an internet use agreement, but we're in new territory here, and admin has to know about it as well. Still the problem with blocked sites at school, also. I have to admit I'm a bit nervous and have to have strict guidlines for the kids. However, I hope to start right in on the Monday we get back and do some peer editing.

My biggest fear in all of this is time. It's so easy to get lost in all of this great collaboration and material!

Until next time,
Steph Z.
P.S. Dave, Kathy Sullivan says, "Hello."

Anne Howard said...

In looking at all the different blogs for this lesson I am inspired but also hoping that these weren't first attempts at this. Earlier this week I set up another blog for the movie class I co-teach. Each week the students have a question to which they are to respond in writing. I have two students with disgraphia who use a computer in all their classes. Additionally there are several students who rarely turn in this assignment. My co-teacher and I thought this might be a way to get the students a little more jazzed and actually complete an assignment. So far, not one student has posted a comment. They were given the option to do it the way they have all year (paper and pen) or on the blog. I am now thinking that using the blog can't be an option. If I want them to take advantage of this technology I may have to mandate its use. This really bothers me. I would much rather do something online than have to write it out by hand. And I wonder if the students are reluctant to use new technology because most of their teachers don't use it. I am now getting nervous about the next several assignments where we have to create lessons and then come up with ideas of how to get the staff interested. I thought my biggest hurdle was going to be getting the teachers to buy into all of this; I didn't expect I'd have to win over my students as well.

Anonymous said...

Kim Crotty

Thanks for the link to your AUP. I printed out page 70 to use as an example.


joannak said...


What?! I can't believe you set up a blog, pushed for its use, and still no takers! I bet you were surprised (not to mention bummed)!

I wonder what is holding them back? No computers at home? Intimidated by the technology? Afraid to put themselves "out there"? Did they have enough instruction as to how to get on the site? hmmm...

I can only imagine how disappointed you are. I bet, though, that if you have one or two students buy into the blog (do you have any kids you trust enough to be guinea pigs? Create a little peer pressure?), little by little you will see it grow. Don't give up yet -- it may take until the end of the year to become the blog of your dreams!

I loved your comment, by the way. "I thought my biggest hurdle was going to be getting the teachers to buy into all of this; I didn't expect I'd have to win over my students as well."

Shock of shocks!

Anonymous said...

Joan O'Halloran

I have been through parts of this powerpoint twice and I am still trying to take it all in. After some 'browser button' issues I now am a del.icio.us user - I even tagged a site! This site had lots of links for teaching with blogs, including several examples of student safety. The Bloglines registration was actually easy.

Like several others, I was very impressed with the Polar Science blog. So much so that I am considering using it as an example of what my students could experience with Web 2.0 technology when I try to convince my school department to change the no blogging policy. Creating a slide show, via flickr, of student work would be a great way to create a connection with parents and the community. Parents of middle schoolers don't always have the time to come into school to see experiments, projects, and presentations etc. This technology would be one way to increase parent/community interaction. I'm fairly certain that that's a School Improvement Plan goal! My case just keeps getting stronger.

The Hey Jude site impressed me with its great organization and wealth of information. I will revisit that site once the information overload subsides.

After reading everyone's posts, I feel a little overwhelmed. I have no idea what an AUP is and there is no way that I can experiment with having my students use my blog without getting permission. That might not happen before this class ends.

I wonder how teachers with similar situations deal/dealt with these issues? I also wonder about the use of nonsense 'word verification' - what is the point?, and how do I get my post to show up as a link?

Looking ahead to DELIVERABLE #2 - what standards should I use? Everything I do in science is aligned with physical, life, and earth science middle school GSE's. Do I need to include GSE's from other subject areas?

joannak said...


I can help with two of your questions. One, an AUP is an Acceptable Use Policy that is usually adopted by your district.
Two, the "word verification" is silly, but really important. If I'm not mistaken, it's a safety measure to ensure that we aren't sending our personal information to organizations who may want to collect it. A human being is the only one capable of "reading" the letters, therefore, we are promising that we are human and sending information to other humans in good faith. I think Blogger has a link to this information...


Hope this helps a little!

Leilani Coelho said...

W ow!!! What a lot of information to take in. The blog that intrigued me most was Linda Hartleys blog. Being a K teacher I related most to hers than the others. I think that by integrating something similar my students they will have an opportunity to build communication skills. Each month when a new bulletin board goes up they get so excited. They love seeing their work displayed and can’t wait to see what’s next. I think that by posting images of classroom bulletin boards it will motivate students to communicate with others about what is displayed. Therefore it won’t be just a display.
I also found the Polar Science blog very interesting! After navigating through the site I began to think of a way I can integrate a thematic unit on polar bears with blogging. I am playing around with some ideas and for an introductory lesson and I think I want to introduce blogging to a small group of students vs. the whole class. I agree with Clare O that jumping in whole group might be too overwhelming.
I really like the whole concept of bloglines. I think by using this service it will save me a lot of time and energy. HoweverI did have a difficult time registering. It took me 3-4 tries before I got a confirmation e-mail. Did anyone else have this problem?

I wonder if by having students take pictures of journal entries and uploading them to the site vs typing them will defeat the purpose of a blog?.

Anonymous said...

Session 3

I have actually emailed the technology coordinator for my school district to inquire about the implementation of blogs. I had received an email response telling me to read about the security guidelines of using children’s’ work and having it accessible on the Internet. Well. Good news…it can be done. So I would appreciate some input on some ideas. After this session’s PowerPoint I have really enjoyed the visual and audio aspect of Flickr, slideshows, and interactive quizzes. I was thinking of possibly doing an interactive book club similar to literature circles and/or some type of weblog writing. I work with grades 3 to 5 and I would appreciate the feedback as I brainstorm an idea. After I decide on what I am going to do I have to meet with the technology coordinator and Principal in order to abide by the legal aspects and guidelines.

After discussing aspects of blogging with the technology coordinator, there is access to the creation of personal websites and hopefully in the future the technology plan will be written to keep up with the current trends. I feel that Edublogs can be very useful in a classroom and stimulate student learning to a whole new level. I had really enjoyed Duck Diaries and the collaboration of the different grade levels. It is nice to take something already from the school because it is personal and more meaningful for the children. Duck Diaries was also integrated across different academic areas. Each grade level focused on the same topic and used different skills such as questioning, observation, making conclusions, and use of manipulatives such as a calendar. It was nice to see a group effort on one blog. Another successful group blog was Polar Science. There was a focus statement which guided the outcome of the responses. I feel that science and medicine can make great gains with such collaboration and group interaction.

Flickr is something I plan on incorporating into my edublog. I am a visual learner and also gain great ideas from seeing other educator’s classrooms and student work. Linda Hartley’s visual blog displayed such clear visuals of student work, classroom organization, and bulletin boards. I enjoyed the slideshow and I feel I could use this to help upload visuals and help to customize blogs.

Have Fun With English! 2 displayed Interactive Quizzes, art drawings, as well as summer messages to students. This teacher’s blog was very inviting and allowed for students of the past to keep on interacting. After exploring all of these different types of blogs, I feel that I have been inspired to incorporate all of these components into my classroom.

I wonder when children will start to consider their technology habits as educational. Our society and social interaction is affected by our knowledge and we just need to transfer the idea that reading, writing, and text messaging are also a type of tool for learning. If we can step into the shoes of today’s students and use their knowledge towards our lessons, we can correlate learning styles to each individual.

bream said...

I have been looking at many blogs all week and I am trying to digest it all. The more blogs I look at the more overwhelmed I feel. I am still trying to figure out how to implement a blog into one of my classes.

I know that there are teachers in my school district using blogs, however I am going to check with the tech dept. just to make sure I don't need anything from the students except the signed AUP. I had never thought of this before - glad this was brought up.

JPolinick said...

After viewing all of the new blogs this week, it is evident that blogs can be used for all grade level students. Blogs are so easy to start up, I may have my sixth grade students create them in small groups near the end of this course. They have really taken an interest in my classroom blog, and it was a little surprising how many children had a computer available to them. There was only one child in my room without easy access to a computer. The blogs in the slideshow this week illustrate many ways to utilize blogs in the classroom. I was thinking that in addition to student work, maybe some good additions to blogs may be rubrics, how to clips, short video clips displaying ways parents can help their child. The possibilities are endless.
After digging a little deeper in blogger tools, I am glad to see all of the tools available. I have added a couple of photos, and once back at school I plan on bringing my camera.
Miggity, I decided to use the schools AUP, but I am working on one now. I will let you know when I finish it.
Just a quick heads up on feeds. If you have Vista, you can add a feed gadjet to your sidebar. I have done that for this site. Once on your sidebar, it stays and updates on your desktop.
I do wonder why new blogs appear at the bottom of the page. I find it annoying. Is there a way to have to new blogs appear on the top of the page and work their way down? It is the way we naturally read.

Mrs. Z. said...

Some feedback, please...
In thinking about my lesson plan, I definitely want to use our blog for peer editing of student writing, and class dialogue. Here's the thing. I have 85 students on my team, and I'm having some fear about how to manage all of the posts and comments. I'm wondering if I should start out with one class (but I hate to exclude the others), run a pilot with volunteers, or ? I do like the blog sites I've seen with the kids' individual blogs linked to from our main classroom blog. I think this would be a nice space for them to create a digitial portfolio of sorts, but then they would have to invite users, etc. (At this point, I have our blog private.) Any suggestions?

Steph Z.

Mrs. Z. said...

After reviewing my lesson, I realized that I had not included what potential problems might occur in implementing it. I had previously commented that having 85students presented somewhat of a problem to me because I was not sure I could initially roll out the blogging experience to all of them. I wondered how I would manage all the posts and comments on our main blog. I eventually would like to see each of them have their own blogs that would be accessible from our main one like some of our model blogs have, but at this point, I have taken Dave's advice to start small and am piloting the blog with only one of my classes.

Also, because I want to use the blog for peer editing purposes, I foresee that there may be some issues with valuable comments. Eighth graders tend to tell each other that their papers are "great!" without really looking at or understanding the constructive commenting process. For this reason, I included some "commenting starters" on my rubric. I also liked the commenting etiquette insight from tedneward.com that addresses this issue.

Lastly, I anticipate the usual technology problems--couldn't log on, etc., but most of my students are pretty internet savvy, so hopefully, those will be minimal.

Thanks to S. Adams regarding my standard for complete sentences and correct grammar. This year, more than ever, I have seen one-word answers, phrases, and a general lack of attention to punctuation and grammar. It's very frustrating!!!