Blogs in the Classroom

What is it?

Blog is short for “web logs” which are websites that can be managed by an individual. These sites do not require knowledge of html coding or other complex design skills. From the ground up, blogs can be created, designed, managed, and updated with text, images, videos, and many more options to catch viewers’ attention (Roblyer & Doering, 2010, p. 198). Blogs can be published online for selected guests to view or can be made public for anyone to see.







Why use it? (Relative Advantage)

Blogs can be used for a variety of reasons, including personal, professional, recreational, or practically anything else you could think of. In education, blogs can be used by students, teachers, administrators, and other school personnel. Classroom uses for blogs are growing in number and creativity. Blogs can be used in the classroom for assignments, projects, or for communication between teachers and students. Blogs began as personal journals, but now have expanded to more public forums. They are also being used to motivate students to write more as a way of journaling or reflecting (Roblyer & Doering, 2010, p. 222). According to a website published by Glencoe/McGraw-Hill (2006), teachers can use blogs as tools in four distinct areas: classroom management, collaboration, discussions, and student portfolios. These are ways that technology can be incorporated into education and to meet the needs of the diverse learners in today’s classroom.

Instructional Ideas

The following ideas for incorporating blogs into classrooms were found on the Web 2.0 in the Classroom blog. For more ideas and information, visit http://web20intheclassroom.blogspot.com/2008/10/ways-to-use-blogs-in-your-classroom-and.html

  • Create a blog to communicate class/school information with parents. Post field trip information, field trip forms, parent helper calendars, general classroom guidelines and more.

  • Create a blog with daily lessons listed for students who are sick or gone. Each day, try to designate a classroom "scribe" who is responsible for posting lessons/materials covered.

  • For really young students - perhaps students just learning to write - use a blog to showcase individual art projects throughout the year. Use a digital camera and scanner to put creative endeavors up for display around each holiday.

  • Create a blog which provides additional, age-appropriate material on thematic units you study throughout the year. Link to supplemental videos, podcasts and websites to encourage extended learning.

Additional Resources

The template for this website was adapted from this document about Blogger.com: http://static.googleusercontent.com/external_content/untrusted_dlcp/www.google.com/en/us/educators/activities/pdfs_GTA/CribSheet.Blogger3.pdf

Example

http://mravery.edublogs.org/




Social Networks in the Classroom

What is it?

Social networks are websites that focus on building an online community. Individuals can create their own “page” inside the social network community that can be viewed by other members. Pages can contain content of all kinds, including personal profiles, blogs, pictures, media, and more (Roblyer & Doering, 2010, p. 198). Social networks are designed to connect people from all over the world to communicate and share through online collaboration.

Why use it? (Relative Advantage)

Social networks are used by all sorts of people all over the world. Social networking provides an avenue for people disconnected by distance to connect by sharing information, pictures, messages, etc. In education, the idea is similar. Educators can connect with other educators, students can connect with other students, students can connect with educators—the combinations are endless. In an online article published by the Huffington Post (12/08/2011), the author writes that educators should not only allow, but should promote the use of social networks in the classroom. Benefits of social networking in education include easy communication among students, sharing of resources among teachers, group collaboration, technology integration and more. Teachers can utilize social networks to encourage students to prepare for real-world situations, as more and more businesses are also jumping on the social networking train.





Instructional Ideas

The following ideas for incorporating social networking in K-12 classrooms was taken from an article (2010) posted on onlineuniversities.com. For more information and ideas about incorporating social networking in other aspects of education, visit http://www.onlineuniversities.com/blog/2010/05/100-inspiring-ways-to-use-social-media-in-the-classroom/.

1. Make literature real. Have students create a Facebook page for a character from literature you are studying like //this class did//.

2. Follow famous people. Many famous people are on Twitter. Have students follow someone related to what you are studying, such as following President Obama when looking at government.

3. Twitter treasure hunt. Use GPS treasure hunting to send students in search of educational clues as //one teacher did//. (Skip to number 22 in the slide show.)

4. Learn probability. //This elementary teacher// uses Twitter to teach the concept of probability.

5. Study geography. Use a combination of Twitter and Google Earth to help teach geography-based lessons. //This teacher// used his network of Twitter followers to create an interactive lesson for his young students. Use her idea to spark your creativity for ways to use these two resources.

6. Connect with other classrooms. //Collaborate with another classroom//, no matter where they are in the world, to expand learning opportunities.

7. Field trips. Use Skype to //bring the field trip into the classroom// when it is difficult or impossible for students to go to the source.

8. Conference with parents. Stay //connected with parents// through social media to communicate their child’s progress.

Additional Resources


Cell Phones in the Classroom

Cell phone usage in the classroom has been punished, banned, supported, banned again, and even encouraged at times. One of the most common discipline issues in classrooms today is cell phones. Educators and administrators have begun to try and combat that issue by actually encouraging cell phone use in the classroom to enhance instruction. Teachers have discovered that cell phones can actually be incorporated into several different learning activities and in some aspect, can motivate students and make learning more relevant to them. See below for several resources that provide more information about the debate on cell phones in the classroom.


http://www.iste.org/store/product?ID=2108
http://www.pbs.org/mediashift/2011/09/cell-phones-in-classrooms-no-students-need-to-pay-attention264.html
http://thejournal.com/articles/2013/01/09/should-we-ban-cell-phones-in-the-classroom.aspx