I have been having such fun this week blogging with a group of very enthusiastic elementary students in my school. I happened to see a class project they were working on laying on my principal’s desk one day. It was a paper “blog” about things that were going on their classroom. I immediately saw an opportunity to convince these students and their teacher to help me out. For my project in ECI 831 I wanted to develop a Wiki or blog that would be a tool that teachers could use at my school to get involved with technology and along with that I was hoping to start a blogging project in my school to use as a successful example. When I saw the paper “blog” I saw an opportunity that I was hoping could be win, win for all of us.
We got started this week after I spent a lot of time deciding where we should set up our blog and how I wanted to organize it. I was able to get a lot of useful information from Fusion: Educator Integrating Technology and from a blog site by Kim Cofino, called “Always Learning: Teaching Technology Abroad.” After doing a lot of researching and thinking I decided to set up my students using a gmail account and have all their posts and comments run through my email. This way I could be in control of what was being posted.
I introduced my eager grade 4s and5s to what blogging was and we watched the video , “Blogging in Plain English” and talked about what blogging was all about. We also discussed some of the safely issues that we had to pay attention to.
Some of them came to me this morning bubbling with excitement. They said that they had taken their parents on to our blog site to show them what we are doing. They asked if it was all right that they were posting on to the site from home. Was it all right that they were excited about writing when they were not required to? Wow!
I was not prepared for the enthusiasm that was abounding and how quickly and easily they caught on. They could not wait to get their ideas posted. Today we talked about making comments and how we could use comments to learn from each other. The class usually ends before we are ready to quit. The classroom teacher and I have made plans on how we can expand our project and hopefully involve another school in our school division to help us out.
I have spent a lot of time thinking about protecting the students and how careful we should be. I have a hard time balancing my attitude about myself and putting myself out there and remembering that not all parents, administration and school boards are as open to that idea. How careful to you think we need to be? Right now our blog is protected, but eventually I would like to open it up so they can have the experience of having comments come from other places. Any thoughts?
There are some things that I already know for sure about this type of project. Students are ready for it, want it and are so open to trying it. They are interested in writing and we now have the opportunity to help them improve their writing and practice it without them even knowing that they are doing it. I can’t wait to see where this project will lead us and what skills we can learn and develop along the way. If you have any suggestions about things that could help us on our way, please let me know. Thanks for the help.
Catch you on the back channel.