three things

Blogging is a simple but powerful tool that is available to classrooms and teachers wishing to make the most of the connectivity that is part of our world in the 21st century. Blogging is quite simple to set up, easy to control, and fits in beautifully with all key learning areas (KLAs) in your room. (Pericles 2008). 

Happily Blogging @ Belmore (K Pericles 2008) was a great read! It joyfully espoused one of the (many truths) universally acknowledged: A teacher in pursuit of purposeful and relevant learning should have a go at blogging with their class.

Seriously, the way K Pericles had utilised blogging in her school sounds both extremely engaging and highly beneficial to students achieving deep understanding of their topics. Rather than just looking at the activities, I’d like to look at the key ideas behind how the blogs are so effective for student learning. (This is not to discount the benefit of the many activities listed in the reading. There is an enormous capacity for creativity when it comes to blogs, which means that they can be adapted for almost any KLA or topic. However the achievement of a quality learning experience is achieved through 3 things

  1. The article points out that this generation has completely embraced technology. They are unafraid of the new. They are already using the internet and various social media sites* to share information outside of school. By incorporating blogging into the school, we are making their school lessons more relevant because they are delivered in a more engaging and familiar way. The lessons around blogging engage the students and motivate them. *I think there is also a point to be made about how pervasive the internet is in all facets of life. Students are using the internet more than ever before, but a good working knowledge of the internet is necessary to function in our society now, which has rapidly embraced the internet as a platform from which to do nearly everything. Our students should have a good grounding in the new technologies available to them during their school lessons because the internet is going to be a crucial part of their future.

  2. All students can simultaneously be involved in tasks that are engaging, self-directed and differentiated based on abilities and interests. The article illustrated how with the power of blogging and a great quality control framework and posting guidelines, it is possible to have a whole class completely engaged in their separate activities. The quality control criteria is crucial because it makes students think before they post. If they are posting for a much wider audience (such as the whole world) they will be more keen to post the highest quality of their work. This can lead to authentic student self direction.

  3. The wider audience is a huge motivating factor that shouldn’t be underestimated. We all like to be praised and noticed. The students were immensely excited to receive comments from all the way around the world (Pericles 2008) and these comments served as an incredible motivating factor because they suddenly realised that there were people out there who were actually reading what they wrote. Pericles points out that the most powerful part of blogging is the ability to comment – and this opens up a conversation between the author and the audience and makes the experience not only interactive but highly meaningful. supportive, encouraging and constructive critical comments on blog posts from the wide world (apparently the class blog gets 1300 hits a day from a wide variety of countries) is an incredible motivating factor. Everyone wants to perform well for an audience of thousands.

 Pericles, K. (2008). Happily blogging @ Belmore South. SCAN, 27(2), 4-6

Mind BLOWN = irrevelant post.

The term “blog” is short for weblog – who knew that!

Well, obviously K. Pericles, author of one of the readings for this week knew that – but I did not. I just thought “blog” was one of those made up internet words…A bit like how “google” counts as a word now and has been honoured with a special place is the dictionary*.

* I am still unsure if google is a verb or a noun.

I googled it and I’ll check google both technically make sense.

but this is an irrelevant aside in an already irrevelant post.

Anyway I thought the word blog was just something that the interent hive-mind had come up with back in the early days…way back when blogging was “the new black” and was all shiny. Then everyone had to think up a word for it because everyone was doing it.

So finding out that blog actually came from somewhere blew my mind! This post is nothing more than a highly irrevelant, digital exclamation of surprise.  I am aware that the tasks this week did not call for an highly irrevelant, digital exclamations of surprise. However I felt the weblog reveal deserved its own post!

Because, seriously – who knew that before doing the readings?

Pericles, K. (2008). Happily blogging @ Belmore South. SCAN, 27(2), 4-6

Just the blog.

So we’re looking for really great examples of blogs to use with our students. Ones that are regularly updated with age/stage appropriate content, nice layout and are easy to follow. So I went of a search for the best demo blogs I could find. Ones that would provide great examples for students. and here is what I came up with:

Learning legends of Lonnie. 

So this is a good example of a school-wide blog, as it is worked on from years 3-6 at Lonsdale Primary in Victoria. If I wanted to demonstrate a whole school approach to blogging and introduce the students to the concept of blogging as a way to communicate with the wider community (I presume one of the bogs functions is to provide a direct, but passive way of communicating with parents about the various aspects of school life). Big projects are explained, and high achieving students  are congratulated. It would be a good introductory blog as it demonstrates a wide range of what you can do with a blog and students have contributed many of the posts. If I were constructing a class bog with the hidden purpose of communicating with parents – I would show this as an example. it would be good for stage 2/3

Mrs Kolbert’s Class

This is a nice example of a great class wide blog. It is well organised and clear had has a really handy “how to be a good commentor” section. Good comments (and I presume the ability to screen and edit them) increases the effectiveness of the blog as a learning experience. A “how to” guide is very useful for both commentors and students alike.  I can see how it is an educational tool, a means of communicating with parents and a highly effective motivating tool for the students. There is at least one student contribution per day as well as crucial lessons and teacher comments on how the class is going and what they are getting up to.