Sunday, January 13, 2013

Creating Community In The Classroom: Student Blogging

MSD Teacher Academy
Creating Community In The Classroom
Session #2: Writing As A Public Act

Today’s session will revolve around the notion that writing is a public act.  This belief pushes students to embrace a greater sense of transparency and see value in sharing one’s thoughts with a class or learning network.  New York City teacher teacher Ileana Jimenez believes writing is a public act and as a result, encourages her students to blog. According to Jimenez, rather than having students write a paper and hand it in only for the teacher to read, waiting for some kind assessment, writing should be public, it should give a sense of urgency and visibility and for students to feel that their writing has a voice in the world.  

Writing for an audience that extends beyond self or just the teacher can lead towards creating a stronger sense of community in the classroom.  Creating spaces where learners can share ideas and offer feedback, threads stakeholders together.  Students come to see themselves as valuable resources and an integral part of a learning network.

During this session, teachers will be introduced to sample blogs from classes throughout the district.  Teacher initiated blog assignments and students posts will be shared.  A few teachers from the high school have been invited to explain how/why they infused the use of blogs into their respective classrooms.  This will eventually segway into a discussion of Kidblog.  Kidblog is a blogging platform currently being used by over a million K-12 students.  Several teachers in district employ Kidblog.  It is a secure site and students can develop accounts without the need for an email address. 

After the Kidblog discussion, the session will end with the Moodle pilot program.  Next year, the district will pilot the use of Moodle in several elementary school classrooms.  This will introduce, at the elementary level, a course management system to students.  Additionally, embedded into Moodle are tools such as discussion forums that promote the publication of ideas and transparent learning.  Moodle like Kidblog is safe and secure and student accounts can be generated by a teacher or administrator.   In an attempt to support the fluid integration of technology K-12, elementary students need access and experience playing with what is often considered tools of the 21st Century. 

Resources for Today’s Session


Blogging Resources