Happily Blogging @ Belmore South
I have just finished reading a fantastic article which outlines a teachers effective engagement with using a BLOG in her classroom. I am very fascinated by the amazing possibilities and advantages of bringing blogging into the learning environment. This is something I definitely would like to pursue with my future students to help them engage with their learning and to connect with others outside the classroom. I believe, blogging can be a fantastic way to build a strong community between the teacher, student and parents. Blogs can be extremely easy to set up and maintain, they promote endless creativity and connect learning across all key Learning areas (KLA’s).
Here are three key ideas about blogging that I feel teachers would find useful:
1. BLOGS ARE HIGHLY INTERACTIVE- GLOBAL CONNECTIONS
The main purpose of a blog is to promote conversation and communication between the author and the audience and therefore blogging is a fantastic way to strengthen the connections between home, school and the world. Teachers, students and parents can all form an integral part of the collaboration process of any educational blog. The effective use of a classroom blog will see students interacting with their peers and teachers on a continual basis. Students and teachers learn, share, create and discuss ideas and new discoveries together and thus a real sense of classroom community and identity can be developed. ”
learning does not stop at the door of the classroom” (Percles, 2008, p.8).
Interactive features of a blog:
* Comment boxes
* Links to other web sites
* Images, photographs, video clips, audio clips, polls.
* Calendars, maps and widgets.
2. BLOGGING CONNECTS STUDENTS TO LEARNING
If used effectively, blogging can become a central element to how a class operates. Together the teacher and the class students can read the blog on a daily basis, read aloud new comments, discuss and joint construct answers to questions and responses to comments, explore and connect with other classroom blogs from all around the world and construct comments. Blogs can be highly engaging and relevant to students even when they are away from the classroom. The shared online format is perfect for allowing teachers to provide students with home projects to be completed and posted up for viewing the next day, for completing classroom tasks/homework as well as an outlet for any personal research or personal interests.
3. BLOGGING PROVIDES AN AUTHENTIC AUDIENCE.
Blogs are an effective, authentic communicative tool for students to share their thoughts, ideas and experiences on the web and ultimately take interest and ownership of their reading and writing. Blogs have the ability to provide an real purpose to learning and the activities and experiences occurring within the classroom. Often the only audience of student work is the teacher, peers and parents. Blogs however, provide a much larger, global audience for student work and an avenue for feedback and self-improvement through commenting.
Through engaging with a learning blog, students learn to self-edit their work and begin to really take pride in the work that gets uploaded onto a blog and strive to do their best for their impending audience.
Pericles, K. (2008). Happily blogging @ Belmore South. SCAN, 27(2), 4-6
REVIEW OF EDUCATIONAL BLOGS.
Here is a quick review of 3 fantastic classroom blogs that I feel are being used effectively. These blogs could be used to model to a stage 3 class in conveying what comprises a great learning blog.
1. Life in Year 6
This blog is run by a teacher and his year 6 students at a Sydney based school. It is clear and well structured with a great display of learning experiences presented through the use of text, photographs and video clips. There are also a variety of posts written by the students about the cultural, sporting and other school activities, which the students engaged in throughout the year. I really like the fact that the running of this blog requires a different student to take on the role of being the ‘student reporter’ for a week.
2. Ms Cassidy’s classroom Blog
Early stage 1
Check out this great example of an engaging and collaborative blog run by a teacher and her kindergarten class (6yrs) from Canada. What I particularly like about this example is that on the right hand side of the main page, you can click on the links of each students’ learning blog in the class. On each student’s individual blog is fantastic evidence of the learning progress, with posts consisting of photographs of students work/drawings and short video clips of that particular child’s learning/assessment within lessons. For example, there are clips of students counting by 2’s, making number groups with manipulatives and describing their understanding of capacity through hands on activities. I think this blog serves as a great model of how a blog can allow students and their parents to access and review the learning occurring in the classroom.
3. Ms Ms. Lirenman’s Class Blog
A fantastic array of engaging learning across many platforms of digital technology is showcased on this classroom blog. This month for example, the class has collaborated together to create a class ebook based on Salmon. You can view screenshots of the ebook or download it to view and listen to the class read it aloud. What a great idea!! There are past posts about the class playing a game called, Mystery Number via Skype with other classes around North America. Seriously?!? That is amazing!
Other amazing things this class has done include:
During the 2011-2012 school year Ms. Lirenman students were involved with:
Full of Beans
– a plant seed experiment in collaboration with children from Canada, US, and New Zealand
This school year we will be participating in (list will continue to grow through out the school year):
– with two schools in the UK and one school in New Zealand
This blog is very well organised and constructed. The visually appealing photos of the students engaged in various activities really brings this blog to life! The blog also has many links, including learning links for both the students in the class and their parents to access and a link to individual student blogs, which feature their learning across all KLA’s. Their Twitter feed is also featured. Viewers of this blog can also choose to send the class a voice message by clicking on the ‘send us a voicemail’ icon in the top right hand corner. What a cool idea! The images shown on this blog really convey how digital technology, such as ipads, audio software and the IWB are serving to effectively engage students in their classroom learning. Very inspiring… who wouldn’t want to be part of this class. I would definitely use this blog as a model for all age ranges.
This is a fantastic website run by a Teacher at a Victorian School. Her passion is educational blogging and global collaboration. She provides amazing information and resources to access. This is definitely worth checking out!!