Tag Archives: Blogs

10 + 1 Steps to Meaningful Student Blogging

* students blogging

Three years ago I started blogging with my 4th grade students on a whim. I knew three things at the start: I wanted to get them connected with each other; I wanted to give them a voice, and I knew I had to change the way they wrote. So I started blogging with them – fumbling my way through the how to and the when to.

What I had no way of knowing was how blogging would change the way I taught, how blogging would give my students a way to speak to the world, and how blogs would make it possible for them to create lasting global connections with other children.

Blogging has since become an integral part of my classroom. It’s a way for me to check the emotional temperature of my kids and a way for them to add their voice to the continuing education debate and reach out to other communities. We no longer just wonder how things are done in other countries. We blog and ask questions and get our answers.

So when I meet with any teacher who wonders how to lower the walls of their classroom and create more authentic learning opportunities, my first advice is to get students blogging.

If they’re interested, I share these steps. They grow out of my own experience working with upper elementary-aged kids, and I believe they can help any middle grades teacher successfully launch a blogging program and integrate it

Read more: 10 + 1 Steps to Meaningful Student Blogging | MiddleWeb.

Why Our School Is Going Beyond Printed Newsletters

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Like many schools across the country, Matt Renwick’s school uses printed newsletters to share student learning with families on a weekly basis.

Parents have responded positively to these communications for years, but are we reaching everyone? Probably not. Social media has already proved to be a powerful tool for communication and collaboration, and there is evidence to support its use in the K-12 environment.

Meg Carnes and Kitty Porterfield make a strong case for connecting online with families in their book Why Social Media Matters: School Communication in the Digital Age. They cite data from the Pew Research Center that 75 percent of adults ages 29 and younger use social media. The most recent data from Pew found that 83 percent of adults 18–29 use social media.

The trend is obvious: The overwhelming majority of young parents will be social media users within a few years.

That’s why [he] believes print communications must be augmented with a digital presence.

Here are three examples of how schools can use Web 2.0 to connect with more families. (Note: All three of these tools can be linked or embedded into your classroom web page within your district.)

Read more: Why Our School Is Going Beyond Printed Newsletters | EdTech Magazine.

50 Must-See Blogs For Special Education Teachers

Special Education student using laptop

While being a teacher is never easy, working with students in special education comes with some unique challenges. From writing lengthy IEPs to working closely with parents and other teachers, it takes a calm, collected, organized, confident, and very special person to work with students who often need a great deal more support and assistance than their peers to succeed.

Yet even the best special education teachers can use a little guidance, inspiration, and information to help them to be even better at what they do. That’s just what the 50 blogs we’ve collected here can do.

Read through this updated list (a revision of this list to reflect new blogs and to remove old, no-longer-updated sites) to find resources that will help you teach, learn, and grow right alongside your students.

These blogs are written by teachers and educational professionals who share their ideas, tips, tools, and advice for working with special education students.

Full Text: 50 Must-See Blogs For Special Education Teachers | Edudemic.

Blogging in the classroom: why your students should write online

Blogging

Writing in classrooms seems to me to have two wildly different, conflicting purposes: a limited, traditional and strict purpose – because exams, like many decent jobs, will be about written skill; and a wider, idealistic one: the ultimate method of exchange of ideas in depth. So, first, we should repeatedly use formal tests to acclimatise students to exam-specific writing requirements – dull, precise, necessarily regular. And beyond that, we’d let writing have free rein, encouraging students to be as ambitious, open-ended and wide-ranging as possible. That would mean loosening up most classroom time outside of the revise/test/peer-mark cycle to be about project work, self-directed learning, talk and flexibility; and we’d make the recording of learning a highly flexible process, for students to write what, and when, they like.

So I’ve spent the past few months with GCSE and A-level classes doing absolutely no writing at all beyond sample tests and student blogs.

Full Text: Blogging in the classroom: why your students should write online | Teacher Network Blog | Guardian Professional.

Learn it in 5

Learn it in 5

At the award-winning Learn it in 5, you’ll learn what is Web 2.0, and strategies for using Web 2.0 technology in the digital classroom – all in 5 minutes or less.

Learn it in 5 is a powerful library of how-to videos, produced by technology teachers, for the purpose of helping teachers and students create classroom strategies for today’s 21st century’s digital classroom. These step-by-step how-to videos walk teachers through Web 2.0 technology, demonstrating how to use Web 2.0 applications like blogs, social networks, podcasts, interactive videos, wikis, slide sharing and much more.

Full Text: Learn It In 5 – Home.

How Blogs, Social Media, and Video Games Improve Education

How Blogs, Social Media, and Video Games Improve Education - Brookings Institution

Executive Summary

The appearance of collaboration tools such as blogs, wikis, social media, and video games has altered the way individuals and organizations relate to one another.[i] There is no longer any need to wait on professionals to share material and report on new developments.  Today, people communicate directly in an unmediated and unfiltered manner.

These developments have lowered information costs and altered the dynamics of information dissemination. On some platforms, communications costs have dropped virtually to zero. No longer are communications one way or based on organizational hierarchies. Rather, organizational expression moves in many directions at once and interacts with a wide range of personnel involved in the process.[ii]

The emergence of new platforms has been particularly dramatic in classroom transmissions. As Stanford University communications professor Howard Rheingold notes, “Up until now, ‘technology’ has been an authority delivering the lecture which [students] memorized. If there is discussion, it’s mostly about performing for the teacher. Is it possible to make that more of a peer-to-peer activity? Blogs and forums and wikis enable that. So a lot of this is not new, but it’s easier to do [and] the barriers to participation are lower now.”[iii]

Alan Daly, at the University of California at San Diego, predicts that education innovation “will shift away from experts and capacity building to focus on networks. The budget crisis will continue indefinitely. We have to start thinking about the expertise that resides in the system, and we have to be connected in order to make use of it.”[iv] Daly believes education “is moving away from large-scale prescriptive approaches to more individualized, tailored, differentiated approaches.”

Yet despite the wealth of communications opportunities offered by these changes, their impact on learning and instruction is still not clear. How do these technologies affect students, teachers, parents, and administrators? Do they enable new approaches to learning and help students master substantive information? In what ways have schools incorporated electronic communications in the learning process and messages to external audiences?

[i]Jana Hrdinova and Natalie Helbig, “Designing Social Media Policy for Government,” Issues in Technology Innovation 4 Brookings, (January 2011).

[ii]Darrell West, Digital Schools:  How Technology Can Transform Education, Brookings Institution Press, 2012.

[iii]Howard Rheingold, phone interview by author, July 22, 2011.

[iv]Alan Daly, phone interview by author, April 19, 2011.

Download the Paper (PDF): How Blogs, Social Media, and Video Games Improve Education – Brookings Institution.