Wednesday, 12 February 2014

Blogaholic: bringing it into the classroom

"My name is Reid and I'm a blogaholic".

It certainly sounds right, amongst some teachers admitting that you blog, tweet, or any use any other social media for networking purpose does feel like you confessing a giant sin. They don't really understand the power yet, but they're getting there and these types of queries below help us move them along. So I hope you'll pass this blog post onto 2-3 teachers you know to help them think about blogging in the classroom. This isn't the how to guide, there's plenty of those but one of my favourites as a beginner was Linda Yollis's.

I recently got emailed by a teacher wanting some help on how to integrate blogging into the classroom, in the interest of spreading the love I'm blogging my reply. The teacher was a blogger (not uncommon) but was unsure of how to proceed and they'd used kidblog also. This teacher's pondering was prompted by their signing up to Quadblogging. Their questions were:

Do you have ipads, or lots of computers in your class that you use?
3 favourites
from Room 1
In my classroom there is 3 desktops, BYOD (currently 10 kids) and we have a pod of laptops that come to the classroom for a week every term. We use Blogspot as a platform for blogging.  I prefer the Blogpress app when on the iPads though as it has better functionality I believe plus you can manage several blogs from the one app,

Do all your students have individual blogs?
I run both a class blog and individual blogs (none active right now, given the time of year).

How do you work blogging into your classroom programme?
Blogging into my classroom forms part of the literacy programme, when it is reading time I always include blogging. Students are directed to various blogs through their favourite blogs list, or according to our Quadblogging commitments. When it is time for writing students always have the option of publishing to the blogs. I've seen that some teachers like to have students write drafts each time to their book and have these rigorously checked, I find this onerous and prefer students to write directly to the blog, editing still takes place and the children find it more engaging. Fantastic, or otherwise, pieces of writing can still go from their writing book to the blog as you see fit. I also constantly have planned lessons & other teachable moments to learn about Digital Safety as part of Health - where blogs are often the context and we can model the learning.

My class regularly use the blogs for reading, posting and commenting before school and it can be included as part of a formal homework programme although if the blog is engaging the children will be on it at home anyway. A target for blog views or comments can be motivating also, there was much excitement when we reached 10,000 hits.

Do you QB through your class blog only? 
No, classes that have individual blogs may have these accessible also, it is entirely up to you but naturally the children love having people visiting and commenting on their own personal work.

I understand the basic premise that QB is about, but on the weeks that your class is not the focus class, do you not blog? OR is it just that you are not the focus for the comments?
My classes still blog, even though they are not the focus that week. It keeps them engaged with the practice of blogging and they generally have plenty of comments to respond to also. My class also participate in Aotearoa Quadblogging which means that I always have a blogging focus.

There are heaps of blogaholics and even some recovering ones, I hope that they'll all pass this on to 2-3 people who are unsure about blogging in the classroom.

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