Can't say I've gone completely under yet, but I did take quite a break from blogging, at least here. However, I've spent the last two weeks immersed (drowning?) in my student blogging experiment. Much of my time has been spent reading student postings via Google Reader and leaving comments to them. Meanwhile, my bloglines blogroll, which was malfunctioning the last few weeks, is chock full of unread postings. Today there were 756. I'm still afraid to clear it for fear that I will miss some nugget of learning previously undisclosed and containing the answers to all my web 2.0 questions. I need to get over that.
- Introduced students to blogs
- Showed students how to comment on a blog
- Walked students through setting up a blog on blogger
- Taught a lesson on blog safety, using the blogs
- Assigned students topics to write about
- Commented on individual blogs
- Assigned students to comment on each other's blogs
- Showed students how to label their blog postings
- Asked students to link to each other's blogs as part of one posting
- Everything from the above list, but do it during the first quarter
- Spend more time giving an overview of what a blog is earlier in the year
- Research if Blogger or another service (Edublogs?) offers better options for classroom blogs, complete with more oversight capabilities etc...
- Require students to revise some of their entries with specific requirements in mind
- Teach more lessons on creating blog posts and comments to one another
- Emphasize tagging or labeling and introduce more possibilities there
- Get students reading blogs from outside the building
- Remain up to date and vigilant in terms of new issues that will invariably arise
- Connect with another class somewhere else in the world
That last point is my ultimate goal for next year. If we are serious about 21st Century skills, then we need to embrace the kind of teaching and collaboration that will bring it to our students. It would be great to hook up with another teacher and connect our students, commenting on one another's blogs, collaborating on a joint wiki project, sharing drafts of writing.
As I have discussed before, I am lucky enough to have a new classroom set of laptops for next year. If I do nothing more than plop my students in front of those laptops and ask them to write their papers in Word or whip up a PowerPoint, then I am not doing my job. In fact, with this 1:1 computer opportunity, I have a much greater responsibility to bring those flat world possibilities into F14. What would be worse than if the students left my class thinking that school computers are only good for nothing more than old fashioned writing tasks and finding ways to bypass filters to access their Myspace accounts?
I know I'll have more at some point, but it just can't be right now. Stay tuned.