The backbone of any type of collaborative effort takes place in the context of communication. Many features of collaboration tools are geared toward the facilitation and management of effective communication among team members. Depending on your grade level the following collaborative technology tools can facilitate […]
“A blog is merely a tool that lets you do anything from change the world to share your shopping list” ~Unknown DESCRIPTION: Educators blog for many different reasons. They blog about their experiences teaching, their philosophies, and their methodologies. They share projects their students are […]
My 8th grade students are participating in a 40-day blog challenge. Each day two different students post an idea on our Tread Lightly blog of how to be a good steward of the environment by recycling, reducing emissions, using less packaging, planting trees, etc. Our blog project was inspired by “Tread Lightly” a 40-day challenge sponsored by Taking It Global. Go to: http://treadlightly.me/challenge.html and read about their challenge.
From October 24 to December 2, we will join others around the world in blogging about our commitments and encouraging others to do the same on our class blog located at: http://ccassinelli.edublogs.org
Since I only see the 8th graders twice a week I needed them to work on this project outside of class. I divided the students into teams of four. Each member has a specific job to assist their teammates with their blog posts. Here are the roles:
- Production editor – Your job will be to make sure your teammates post their entries on the correct date. You will also be in charge of moderating any blog comments on your posts and assign someone to respond to the comment.
- Technical editor – Your job is to help your teammates with how to post their blog entry. You should be pretty good with computers and willing to spend some time learning about Edublogs.
- Creative editor – Your job will be to assist your teammates in selecting images, media or creative entries to go along with their blog post.
- Communications editor – Your job will be to check the spelling and grammar of your teammates blog posts and maintain communication between group members.
Each teammate drafts their blog post in a shared Google Document and we maintain the 40 day schedule on a shared spreadsheet. Writing on a shared document allowed the students to write and edit their post and see what their teammates were planning. I wasn’t too concerned about duplicate ideas – I just encouraged the students to put their spin on their idea or support it with different facts.
Students are required to support their writing with facts and citations and give credit for images used. Some students are planning on making motivational posts using Big Huge Labs and comics with ToonDoo to post along their writing. Towards the end of the 40 days each team will add an embedded Google Form to survey their readers or check their knowledge.
One of the ways to be successful whenever you start a blogging project is to make sure someone is reading the blog and students are receiving comments. I signed up our class with Comments4Kids http://comments4kids.wikispaces.com/. Teachers list their class blogs on this wiki and I direct my student to visit those student blogs and leave comments and have them invite those students to follow our 40day challenge.
We’ve received comments from a variety of classes – like students from Gary Bertoia’s 9th grade class at Saigon South International School in Vietnam and Russ Goerend’s 6th Grade Language Arts and Social Studies classes. Having other students read and comment on their blog post have motivated our class and raised the quality of writing. Students are teaching each other and moving forward with this project with little teacher intervention though I do moderate all incoming comments.
Please consider joining our 40-day challenge and tell us your idea for reducing your carbon footprint on the environment at http://ccassinelli.edublogs.org
After discussing an article about how the Obama administration is using technology to make a difference and encouraging community service, I asked my students in my 8th Grade and Computer Applications classes to reflect on their experience of using technology to “Be the Change in The World”. Here are a few responses taken from their blogs:
I don’t really know if I have changed the world all that much… I’m just glad for a chance to help get the word out. Hopefully this will help in some small way to change what’s going on. ~Bree
Having this blog has shown me the power of the web. It is becoming more and more apparent that the web will become a very important tool for people all over, from high schoolers to Barack Obama. Even young children are just as web saavy as their parents. With the mass global population online we must use it to get information out to change the world, whether it be steroids and drug awareness, global warming, or recyclling. We must be the change we want to see in the world! ~Taylor
Using blogs to tell others about abortion has really helped me think about how big of an issue this is. When children and teens of this day and age use the modern materials, such as the internet, to tell others about what they think on big issues in our world today, it gets people thinking about what they can do. ~Emily
Creating and writing in a blog was interesting. I learned a lot from having one. I hope that my blog changes the world, its hard to say if it did. If my blog affected atleast one person that would make me satisfied. A lot of people use technology so it is smart to use technology a source to get through to people and change the world. ~Ashley
Using technology to improve the world is very effective because many young people use it. Spreading news through technology will help change the world because when they see the serious problems that our world faces, they will hopefully be motivated to help out to make the world a better place for themselves and for future generations. ~Sophia
I used this blog to get the word out about other fuels besides gasoline we can use. This experience was good, but because the blog was so infrequently visited it is hard to feel the word reached very many people. ~Eddie
Using a blog is could be a smart way to change the world and spread your ideas. By using a blog, you can access the information about whatever the issue is at any time. ~Marcus
Having a blog has been exciting and a relief to me. Exciting in the sense that I met new people who commented on my blog and I learned how to manage a blog. A relief, because I feel like I’ve helped at least one person out there dealing with cancer or family members with cancer, just as I am. I think that using technology is very useful in many ways: it can spread information very quickly, connect many different people, as well as be personally useful to the user. To be honest, I wish I could have had more time to work on this blog; it was probably one of favorite projects from this whole semester. ~Vivian
One year ago I began blogging at edtech VISION. Previous to that I had only blogged for my Masters of Educational Technology about my Action Research Project for Pepperdine University and occasional posts at Classroom 2.0.
Anyone who knows me will understand that a one-year anniversary is a big deal for me. I’m the queen of startups. I get excited about something new and charge head first full of excitement and energy.
My husband teases me that I have two speeds – fanatic and couch potato. I will begin a new project – whether its a new piece of software to learn or painting a room – and I jump in and completely immerse myself in the project. I will spend hours focused and gleam as much information as I can. My enthusiasm continues for awhile and then slowly the newness wears off and the project turns into “work” and there the project stays. Sometimes half-finished, sometimes done (but not cleaned up – yes, honey I am admitting to the mess I left in the garage) or sometimes i only occasionally pay attention but my heart is not really into it.
This blog almost became victim to my disease. Last Fall I went for almost a month without any postings. I wrote …
It’s not that I haven’t been connected. I am been dutifully reading my Bloglines and occasionally participating in Classroom 2.0 but just haven’t felt inspired to write lately. The truth is the end of the term, grades and personal activities have taken up my time (life? What’s a life?) and I haven’t felt the tug to share.
I also gave myself permission to take off time from this blog during the holidays and around exam time in January.
The thing that I noticed was even though I wasn’t blogging much, I was still connected to my network. I dutifully read postings in my Bloglines account, I added new people in twitter, I began listening to EdTech Talk and participating in the chats.
But the thing that really brought me back to blogging is my need to process what I was reading and reading a post somewhere who wrote in a post to not worry about blogging for an audience, just begin by describing what you do with your students.
So I began blogging about my classroom activities and began to get excited about sharing what I was doing with my students. i focused on the learning that was happening and not just the tools. I used my blog to prepare and promote workshops I was offering at local conferences. I blogged because I was inspired not because I felt like I needed to post something profound.
I am much more of a talker than a writer – but blogging has been a great exercise for me. I love meeting people at conferences who I have been following in Twitter or if I read their blogs. I have a different voice inside my head when I now see their posts and responses.
I love having the opportunity to broaden my personal learning network through the OETC EdTech Cadre, the monthly meetings of the local Catholic school tech teachers and the great folks at Google Teacher Academy.
Blogging for me will never replace these interactions for me – I’m too social. But I do value the quiet time I get to just get my thoughts down and reflect on how much I have shared and learned this past year.
So thank you to everyone who has taken the time to join me in my little corner of the blogosphere. I love having you here and I appreciate more than you will ever know when you take the time to say hi, leave a comment or respond to a twitter plea.
Thank you .. God bless – i can’t wait to see what the next year brings!!!!
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