First, let me tell you a little about myself and what I’ve come from. Last year, my school did a 1:1 Laptop Pilot Program. Three classes in the sixth grade were testing what would happen if we were to use laptops for most of our learning experiences. My wonderful English teacher, Mrs. Plantan, was subscribing to a few people’s Edublogs and decided that we should try using them in our classroom. She gave everyone in our class an Edublog and let us use them for assignments and personal blogging. Edublogs really changed the way we wrote in the classroom. We were adding to our digital footprint, and we were excited about writing like we never were before. In late winter, Miss Wyatt began her annual Edublogs competition. Mrs. Plantan encouraged us to enter, and before you knew it, my friend Abbey had won an award. She won in the “Connecting To A Global Audience Category”. Ever since she won that award, my class has been encouraged and excited, because we now know that a kid from a small town can do anything when they put their mind to it.
Questions and Answers:
How can teachers make the process easier?
Teachers can make the process of blogging easier for their students by setting an example. If a teacher has a blog, it makes students want to blog, too. The best way you can encourage is to tag some of your students in a fun post. This means that you include their username and a link to their blog at the end of your post. This means that they are supposed to do the same post, but make it their own. They will get to tag people at the end of their post, and the chain continues. Top ten and “favorites” lists always are fun.
How can I easily read all my students’ blogs?
I would suggest getting a Google account. Google Accounts come with a lot of different uses, but Google Reader is what you need. Google Reader is a service that allows you to insert the link to any blog, and it will monitor any updates made on those blogs. You can read all of your favorite blogs in one place. This feature not only is great for teachers, but it’s great for students to read the blogs of their classmates.
What are your 5 most important tips for educators starting out blogging with students?
1. Make a few starting assignments that involve writing in blogs. This will introduce students to one of the ways blogs can be used. As an example, here are some of the posts that my teacher assigned: 1000 Pages, The Girl Who Owned A City, Snowflakes, Freedom, Hair Poem, and The Greatest Fighter of Evil.
2. Encourage kids to blog about more than just what you assigned them. You can do this by showing them examples of kids’ blogs, dedicating one class period a week to free-blogging, or just sharing your blog posts.
3. Be patient for the first few days or times of blogging. There always will be browser, password, and html problems.
4. Write down the username and password to each account. This will be helpful when someone forgets it. If you choose to do this, encourage kids not to change their passwords or the email associated with the account. We’ve had that happen, and this results in making a new blog.
5. Try to use Internet Explorer instead of Safari or Firefox. Firefox works most of the time, but you can trust Internet Explorer not to have many glitches in working with Edublogs.
Good luck with blogging and I hope you have a great school year!