My students and I are working through the 2009 Blogging Challenge. Last week’s challenge was to work on our “about page.” I’m sure this gives a few of my readers chuckles as I am also working through the 31 Day Challenge with several of my PLN friends and have already completed this task once. Isn’t it funny that you can be given the same task in a short amount of time and still find needed improvements? The experience was especially fun with all the students’ inputs. Actually as I write this I keep thinking of a couple “about page” changes I haven’t yet completed.
Last week’s class challenge along with day 22
in the 31 day challenge has me reflecting on my overall blog. I started this blog as an extension of my classroom website to bring in more interactive elements. The process seemed grueling at first not because of the blog itself, but instead the red tape to get the site unblocked for use at school. I can honestly say I had an entirely different outlook trying to add this element back in November versus in years past. In the past after one (or maybe two) attempts to get something unblocked I would move on to another avenue that would be “good enough”. This time was different. If they wouldn’t unblock it, I would just give my students a weekly blog assignment.
Yes, I realize that many students don’t have computers at home, but this would give them 7 days in which to complete the relatively short weekly assignment. We are in a small town with a community center and library within walking distance of many homes. I also talked my husband into my “much needed” iphone. Thus if a student couldn’t use the resources, they could just use my phone internet to read and post comments. During January and February, the phone actually came in handy with our connection to Ms. Michaelson’s Norway class
. It took over a month to get the class as well as the individual student’s blogs unblocked. Then I had to request the comment page for each student:)
Why a new attitude? First was my “get out of the box” moment when I decided to get involved with web 2.0 elements even if I couldn’t incorporate them into my class because of internet filter limits. Next, as I became more involved in web 2.0 elements such as twitter and meet up sessions with people from around the globe, I truly understood that my student’s were being left behind.
When I first started to design the blog, I had trouble deciding what to include. I wanted the blog to be just that, a blog. So I started by revamping our class website. I striped it down to the basics. Then I started on the blog. I decided to record the process through “creating a class blog
” posts. Ok, this posting thing is pretty cool, so I quickly decided I would not only use posting for my student information but also for various personal interest in education. My personal posts (as well as many others) have become great post examples for my students. Though I don’t post as often as I would like, I know this will change during the summer!
The students started by learning about blogs
We used the blog daily for assignments. Then, they each had the opportunity to earn their own blog. The addition of student blogs was definately a highlight to our class blog. We actually change to a Web Design course this week, so I hope we will even have more time for the blogs in the upcoming two weeks.
If you would like to follow our blogging adventure, click the apple rss feed icon on the top right of the page. To learn more about rss feeds, including setting up your own igoogle page, see Sue Water’s post