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Blogging 101 | An Enabling e-Learning event

Started by Karen Spencer 11 Jul 2012 10:01am () Replies (58)

BlogPerhaps you have seen other teachers doing it. Maybe you just do it for yourself. You've heard people talking about it but not sure how to get started, or how to take the next step.

Blogs offer a highly flexible technology that can be used across the curriculum to provide a window on the classroom, connect learning to family, create authentic audiences for writing, offer a space for reflection...and a myriad of other purposes related to pedagogy and learning areas.

This thread aims to provide stories, examples, tips and advice on how to harness the power of blogging and integrate it with effective learning.

Guest teachers and champion bloggers - Allanah King ('Life is not a race to be first finished blog), Kimberley Rivett (eLearning for Life blog), and Stephanie Thompson (Teaching the Teacher blog) - will be on hand to answer your questions and share their expertise.

Meanwhile, here's a wee video from Enabling e-Learning: Teaching to whet your appetite. Nic Mason, teacher at Russell Street School, says, "teaching the kids something and letting them experiment in their own way" has enabled his students technological capability to develop. He and his students describe the process, some of the tools, and the learning they gain and reflect on, through creating blog posts:

[Image: freedigitalphotos.net]


  • Kimberley Rivett (View all users posts) 09 Sep 2012 7:59pm ()

    I think that once you decide the 'purpose' for blogging with your class, then you can decide whether the surface features will be most important or whether the content and reflective process will be the focus. For my class, I have never placed a huge amount of emphasis on the surface features as there are many children for whom writing is a huge stumbling block already, so I prefer to have them writing and enjoying it.

  • Cheryl (View all users posts) 09 Sep 2012 6:33pm ()

    re: surface features -  Depends on how you want your blog to be. If it is a display blog then surface features are important and checking and editing needs to be done before publishing. As a contrast, we are using our blogs to improve reading and writing and one of our aims is for our posts and comments to be more accurate in terms of surface features. We expect to see an improvement over the year. The class and I review posts and comments and give each other feedback. We use our writing level expectations as a point of reference. We also have our writing "mantras" that are small sayings like "using i for I = level 1'. "no paragraphs - is not in level 3!".  

  • Greg Carroll (View all users posts) 09 Sep 2012 12:50pm ()

    Surface features are important.  I don't believe at all we should be letting kids off the surface feature hook.  It is a perpetual 'problem' for teachers to have children not naturally using these things despite the fact we go over and over and OVER them.  But shouldn't we be expecting they are knowledge in the same way as basic facts are in maths, or sight words in reading? Part of audience awareness and showing respect for your reader?

    This is something peer vetting before pushing publish solves reasonably easily and outside of the teacher needing to 'check' (in my experience).  It is important to establish the expectation that anything public is correct.

    My 2c worth....

  • Fiona Robertson (View all users posts) 09 Sep 2012 12:23pm ()

    I know one teacher who expects capitals, full stops etc when their class are writing comments and blog post. when it come to writing comments she has the children wirte the comment in the comment box of the post and before they push publish they have to have either her or the class TA check it. If there is no mistakes they can then publish. This way the children are not wasting their time writing a draft for one or maybe 2 sentences. 

  • Jennie L (View all users posts) 09 Sep 2012 11:16am ()


    How important is the proof-reading part of blogging / commenting? For example I expect that my Yr 4/5 class put capital letters and full stops in the right places, however when they are draft writing they often forget and then go back and fix them up later.

    It can be such a task for them to type a comment and I can't always check them before they push publish.  But when I go to moderate them and publish them on the blog I notice the absence of capital letters but there is no option to edit the comment and fix them.

    If the purpose is to get the children writing and sharing with an audience do I publish the comment even though it hasn't met all the requirements of a quality comment? It's out in the public domain and reflects on the school.

    It seems to defeat the purpose to have them write a draft copy of a comment first then type it up and the content of their comments is great but the punctuation lets it down.

    What would you do?

  • Jennie L (View all users posts) 08 Sep 2012 10:02pm ()

    Hi All

    I have just started blogging with my class - I took 4 weeks leave and had a blog to share my travels around Greece and the UK. Then over the past 2 weeks we have been learning about writing quality comments - the reading and writing through commenting my class have been doing has been fantastic - I love how they have had to be critical about what makes a good comment or not and that it gives them an authentic context for writing. We practised writing comments using sticky notes on our work.

    This week our class blog went 'live'  - I am starting with me posting and them commenting - now that they know the requirements for commenting they are applying their knowledge pretty well - and if it doesn't work the first time no-one complains when they have to go back and fix it up because they realise the importance of publishing it for such a big potential audience.

    The best part for me has been the conversations that have started through the comments - they carry them on from home as well.

    My next challenge is to keep them engaged in the commenting and conversations...

  • Kimberley Rivett (View all users posts) 06 Sep 2012 9:58pm ()

    I have to agree Stef, it really is all about regular blogging with the students and engagement is paramount. I would also add that having an authentic audience is huge, but having an authentic learning focus and having real life contexts for blogging - reflection on learning but in a way that students are inspired by - is absolutely imperative. The most impacting student blogs seem to be the ones where the students are driving the learning and they are passionate about deciding on their content. I realise that with younger learners there is a lot of scaffolding involved towards gaining more independence, but the students love the ownership that comes from blogging - it is like no other platform in that respect.

  • Stephanie Thompson (View all users posts) 06 Sep 2012 9:19pm ()

    If I was to use one word to summarise effective blogging it would be engagement. With the student, with their family, with their community, with the world.

    At every step engagement doesn't just happen you need to help make it happen. You provide organisation supports for your learners, you remind parents, you use your network for your blog, you network with other teachers.

    Yes it seems like a lot of work. But much like going to the gym, the task isn't so big if you do a bit each day.



  • Jeanette Hinerangi Eruera Murphy (View all users posts) 04 Sep 2012 9:07pm ()

    Kia Ora Koutou.  When I 'first' started thinking about blogging and creating a webspace I completed what was then known in 2008 as the 31 Day Challenge (Karen has mentioned in her second post here). 

    It was absolutely brilliant as I learnt so much in such a short space of time about things like RSS feeds, page traffic, blog stats, creating a sneeze page etc.  I was able to collaborate with other participants and had to complete a challenge a day (over the Dec-Jan holidays mind you).  It was so very worthwhile therefore I encourage any 'newbies' to find a wero or similar challenge and J.D.I...just do itWink 

    PS: I'm mentoring a couple of teachers who are using Weebly and thinking of setting up a wero or challenge that will keep them enthused and up with the 'blogging play'

  • Fiona Robertson (View all users posts) 04 Sep 2012 12:07pm ()

    At our school we also have an IT requirement where the staff have to comment on our class blogs every fortnight. Also a lot of the senior students comment on our class blogs. Other ways for people to view your blog is to register it on the NZ interface Magazine http://www.interfacemagazine.co.nz/teacherblogs/index.cfm?id=5  Have you thought about participating in quad blogging this is also a way for others around the world to view and comment on your blog. Set up a blog commenting challenge within your class. Have children get as many people as they know (parents, grandparents, aunts, uncles etc. ) to write a comment and put the child’s name who they are connected to when signing the post. Have a prize for the children who can get the most comments over a set time frame.  Find a buddy class at another school where you could comment on their blog and you on theirs. I also have links on my class blog for maths and literacy games and the child need to get onto the blogs to access these. The children then look at the blog before going to the set tasks. This also encourages them to use the blog at home.  

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