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Blogging around the classroom

March 11, 2010

Being a novice blogger.  I decided to ask my students if they knew what it is????  What it was about and such?  The majority of my students (about 95%) had no idea what I was talking about.  The other 5% had heard the word before, but no idea what it meant…  With this in mind, trying to implement “blogging” into my classroom would be at the ground level. 

I teach seventh grade life science.  The students are still developing verbal and written expression.  This is where I believe blogging would serve the best.  Weblogs are not built on static chunks of content.  Instead, they are comprised of reflections and conversations (Richardson 2009 p.17).  This is where I would use blogging in the classroom.  

Posting a question that is conducive to discussion.  For instance…  How can parents with blood types A and B end up with a child with Blood type O?  Is this even possible?  Please give more than just a yes or no….  Be sure to support your answer. 

The idea is to get them to discuss Punnet Squares, Hetero and Homozygous, dominant and recessive genes.  It is possible if both parents carry the recessive O allele.  There would be a 1 in 4 chance of having a child blood type O. 

We are currently discussing Darwin and evolution right now and being in the bible belt, it is very easy to get side tracked on this discussion.  A blog could be set up for the students to debate creation vs. evolution.  This may be difficult for seventh graders to do, but it would foster skills they may need in high school and definitely in college.  You need to come with supporting information!!!!  Richardson writes, blogs can promote critical and analytical thinking (Richardson, 2009 p. 20). 

Another possible way to use blogs in the classroom would be to use it as an introduction to units.  “We are going into body systems next week.  Post some questions that you have about the body or something you want answered by the end of the unit.  If you read a classmates post and you know the answer, please share with them your knowledge.” The intention is to get their brain moving toward the next content strand.  It also promotes collaboration and communication amongst peers.  Dr Thornburg mentions this being another benefit of new technologies in the video, “Technology and Society.”

These are some methods of using blogs in the classroom.  I know it is not using them to the fullest extent by any means.  There is little collaboration.  Blogging would be new to my current students and I feel I would have to keep it pretty basic at the beginning.  We could add or expand the dimensions of the blog as we progressed. 

Richardson, W. (2009). Blogs, wiks, podcasts, and other powerful web tools for classrooms (2nd ed.). Thousand Oaks, CA: Corwin Press.

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6 Comments leave one →
  1. March 11, 2010 11:05 pm

    I think you’ve hit on one of the great possibilities of Blogging: as a means of discussing upcoming ideas and lessons before a unit in a textbook. As always, the more students are encouraged to communicate with each other and with the teacher–even outside the classroom–the more they will learn. It’s also a great way to open up dialogue with some students who would otherwise not verbally share their ideas in class.

    • March 12, 2010 10:08 pm

      That was my thinking behind this idea… You have the dominant personalities in the class that tend, despite our best efforts, to speak up and out more than others. I was thinking the shy students or the ones who never really speak unless spoken to may open up more via this application.

  2. March 12, 2010 7:31 pm

    I agree with you that your biggest challenge would be to start small. Do all of your students have access to computers at home? Or will they be blogging in school? That’s one of the biggest considerations I have made in the past using blogs. Coming from a school where about 70% have internet access at home (and I teach at-risk students so that number drops to about 40%) it can be extremely difficult for students to blog outside of classtime. I guess that’s a decision you’ll have to make regarding your class.

    Since you mentioned that you are new to blogs, Richardson (2006) writes that we should be well-adjusted to blogs before we require our students to do so. Perhaps even introducing your students to what can be found on a blog and how it can be useful would entice them to check it out. To work slowly towards collaboration and as publishing places would be the eventual goal.

    References:

    Richardson, W. (2006). Blogs, wikis, podcasts, and other powerful web tools for classrooms (2nd ed.). Thousand Oaks, CA: Corwin Press.

    • March 12, 2010 10:19 pm

      I definitely have to get better before implementing it in the classroom. Internet access at home would be my greatest challenge to overcome. I am at a low socio-economic school and although I do not have the exact numbers I would say that we have around 65-70% of students with internet access at home. Fortunately, Like Thornburg mentioned in Technology and Society, the price of technology is getting cheaper and cheaper. So while I am moving from novice to expert in this field…My students can be acquiring the needed technology at home. ; )

      Reference:
      Laureate Education, Inc. (Executive Producer). (2008). Technology and Society. Baltimore: Laureate Education, Inc

  3. March 14, 2010 2:01 pm

    I’m hoping that is the case. I wrote in our discussion this week a comment about Dr. Thornburg mentioning why aren’t corporations, knowing that the students of today are their workforce for tomorrow helping districts purchase the technology they need to be a 21st century student.

    Schools are having to come up with money for these new technologies that they simply can’t afford. I know in our budget there has been a freeze put on all spending. We won’t be getting any new technology in the near future.

    Honestly, how irresponsible is that of society to let that happen?

  4. March 14, 2010 9:37 pm

    I think everyone is in survival mode right now. I do not think any corporations are thinking that far ahead… I have not done much research on them, but corps do this in Charter schools right? Again, I am not being definitive, I am just wandering…

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