Tuesday, June 1, 2010

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. I am sure that you will be convinced that blogs are not a passing fad. You can't fake these numbers (and its 4 years old). That's probably a reality check for those of you that are just getting familiar with blogs.

Some of you have already begun creating your own blogs (As they are posted I'll place links to them in the left-hand margin).

A few semesters ago, John jumped right in and began practicing with creative headlines and sidebars, as well as with emailing his posts to his blog. Check it out.

I'm placing links to all the course participants' blogs as they come in on the left. Check them out, as well as some of the past participants' blogs and give them a comment or two. It'll be good practice.

Session 3 is now uploaded and accessible, (if you are having trouble use this as a back-up and just do a search for edc921), 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:

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. If you are interested in reading the comments and reflections from previous semesters then you may find them here:
and last summer's are here.

Spring '10 comments here.

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 Delicious.com 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. Some weeks will be easier than others---this will not be one of those. 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. And don't forget, I'm also creating a links to each one in the left hand margin.

Enjoy and have fun!


jfagan said...

Finished with session 3. There is alot there that I will go back and visit. Tried adding some pictures to my blog. So far so good.
It is true that students don't think what they do on IM or Facebook is writing. Teachers should capitalize on this to promote interest in writing.
I polled my students and came up with the same percentages of students using blogs or online journals...Amazing.
I got some ideas about ways to improve my blog and integrate blogging into my class for next year. I am going to try and add a calender.
I wonder what the licensing issues are with posting student work?

Mrs. Borges said...

I had been hesitating on the purpose for my blog as I am the technology teacher and I couldn't grasp a solid use except for posting students Q&A about our next project, when today I came across the perfect opportunity. Our superintendent wanted to set up a tech committee in order to discuss current technology issues and plan for our districts' future growth. Instead of trying to get people from 3 different buildings to meet monthly, I suggested creating a blog in order to be able to hold online asynchronous discussions. Everyone liked the idea and so I am off to create our districts technology committee blog, COOL!

Mr. Schofield said...

My students also live their lives online, especially with Facebook. It seems that this technology is even replacing e-mail among my students. When I asked a the leader of a student group to contact other members with an e-mail, I was dumbfounded when she replied, "Oh, I'll post it in on Facebook, because it'll get to more people that way." Now I have to admit (sorry, Dave), I refuse to have a Facebook account, since I have serious concerns about the privacy issue. But I cannot deny the power that this forum holds for the modern student.

In response to jfagan's comment regarding writing--I told my students that posting on the class blog is tantamount to writing an essay in class and English Language conventions must still be followed. Students are still writing for an academic purpose, so they should treat it as such. The new "IM" language is slowly destroying the language (remember Orwell's 1984 and Newspeak, anyone?). Next time you are on projo.com, take a look at some of the blog responses to articles and you'll see that even adult bloggers are succumbing to using online slang like "U R full of h8". Sorry, but that drives me crazy!

Mrs. Borges said...

This week I did in fact ask my students how many of them used social networking sites like MySpace or facebook and 60% said that they had accounts and used them daily. I surveyed both 7th and 8th grade students. So, if the majority of students are using this type of forum, it makes sense that teachers should as well. In fact, many teachers including myself have facebooks, and have never thought of them as being a blog. Perhaps drawing the line and connecting the dots between facebook and an educational blog will help more teachers I work with to embrace them. I happened to mention his course to a colleague and she said that would be a great way for her to conduct homework. Give students a site to access and read and then post their reaction and thoughts about the article in the blog. It’s amazing how many uses come up when you start talking to people. I really enjoyed the readings this week and the youtube tutorial no del.icio.us. I have just started using a similar social bookmarking tool called Diigo with my students. It is amazing! You can highlight in different colors, bookmark, comment and even add sticky notes to a page and then share that with others in a group, via e-mail, or save it to your library for later. Tools like these are going to revolutionize the ways our students conduct research. I wonder how long it will take for teachers to embrace and use new tools like these.

Mrs. Limoges said...

Our class blog started off with a bang. My 4th and 5th graders were excited to be published on the web. To circumvent privacy issues, they chose "code names" and end their anonymous post with them. The kids are not happy that I have to publish their posts and after a few days I am tempted to let them go on instantly, but already there have been a lot of posts that really have nothing to do with the topics I am trying to encourage them to discuss. I guess as they get used to it they will write more than "HI" or "that was good". I am happy with their newfound postive energy towards writing, now I just need to channel it a bit! I loved the examples of blogs with pictures of student work, I find so often we are so focused on testing recently that we forget to step back and observe daily examples of what are students strengths and weaknesses are.

Coach Kim said...

I am still getting used to this online course system. This is a something to get used to...

I have mistakenly skipped session 2, but went back and finished that up...I did create a blogger account for the high school volleyball team which I coach. I am hoping to use this as a trial run of blogging so I can work out the kinks before using it in a classroom.

I am really feeling that I would like to use a blog as a way to communicate with the parents of my students. Since I am an ESL Middle School teacher, I have a hard time getting parents involved and informed of things going on at school. I was hoping to create a blog to do just that. I noticed that blogger had a translation feature, and although I am not sure how great this tool is yet, I am interested in exploring it to find out if it can help me out with this situation.

I am also thinking about how I could include blogs into my classroom. Since I am mainly the co-teacher in many of the content area classrooms, I am trying to think of how we could use these team wide. My thinking is that we would use them to post information to parents, but to also create a forum for discussion in all of the content areas. Still thinking this through, but more ideas in the near future.