Wednesday, 3 April 2013

Module 2: Exploring the use of blogs in K -12 learning spaces.

"Blogging is to writing what extreme sports are to athletics: more free-form, more accident-prone, less formal, more alive. It is, in many ways, writing out aloud." - Andrew Sullivan. 

"What is this 'blog' you speak of?" Having to ask this question felt just as embarrassing as on Year 6 Day when the kids asked me to take pictures for them on their iPhones and hadn't a clue how to switch the camera from 'selfie' mode to normal mode (I hadn't even stepped foot into the world of smartphones yet)! 

Last year I finally had my first experience interacting on a blog as our 5/6 coordinator developed one for our students to share their ideas, experiences and understandings with each other based upon our units of work and key school events. This year, using blogs as an educational tool has become a stronger part of our learning culture in the senior school. Personally, I feel that the key benefit of using blogs for learning is being able to provide our students a platform to share their ideas and reflect on their understandings with each other in and outside of the learning space. Blogs give the students' writing life; therefore, making it a more meaningful and purposeful  learning experience for all. Although, it is early days and we are still learning and trialing the best ways to implement the use of educational blogs, it is clear to see that it is moving us in the right direction of being facilitators of learning by allowing the students to interact and learn from each other. 

Another key benefit of this is that it allows the school community another way of becoming more involved in the students' learning at their own leisure. This year, the 5/6 students were asked to teach their parents how to write a blog post to share their own experiences and understandings. By asking the students to familiarise their parents/families with our school blog this will hopefully encourage the St. Mark's community to continue their involvement in this way and provide another avenue for students to share their learning with their parents. 

Blogging for learning as also assisted students with practising the writing process. As all posts students write need to be moderated before they appear on this site. By setting grammar and punctuation expectations early on, the students are aware that only '5 star quality' posts are excepted.  

One of the small challenges of using blogs as a tool for learning is having to moderate all students posts as this is a time consuming process but it a price worth paying knowing that we can use technology to provide our students with an opportunity for rich collaboration, discussion and reflection. 

Recommended: Kath Morris' "Primary Tech"  - Blogging and students with Autism Spectrum Disorders

                                               Why did I choose Blogger? 

For this module, I chose to use Blogger as I have already started to gain familiarity with using Global2 Edublogs with our students. Additionally, I thought this would be a really good opportunity for me to further explore the Google Toolbar and it's functions. Now that I have a Google account, I am just beginning to enjoy some of the benefits of having so many things linked together such as my gMail, Google Docs and a range of helpful gadgets on my Google page and best of all being able to access these things any time or place with internet access. 

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