This week I was able to review my GAME plan (Cennamo, Ross, & Ertmer, 2009) and get started on the A (Action) piece. I was specifically looking for a blogging site that had high level of security, but was also age appropriate for 3rd graders. Finding and utilizing a blogging site with my students will help me reach my professional goal of developing learning experiences that incorporate digital tools to promote student learning.
I have had several colleagues, both from Walden and from my school site, suggest that I take a look at the blogging site kidblog.org to see if it would meet my needs. I did that this week and was impressed with the security features:
- Teachers have complete control over all student blogs and accounts.
- Students’ blogs are private- viewable only by classmates and the teacher. I can moderate all content.
- The site is fully COPPA (Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act) and does not require personal information from parents
I was also impressed with the ease and efficiency in the setting up of student user accounts. It only took me about 15 minutes to enter student user names and passwords and I was able to use previously allotted district login information so that my students don’t have to remember several codes. This will save us much time when logging on and getting started on the blogging site!
So far, this experience has been a positive one, but the true test of its usefulness will be when my students actually experiment with the site. I will need to plan a few tutorials on the use of blogs and explain my expectations of language usage (correct conventions, grammar) and respectful, thoughtful comments. I am thinking of having my first lesson be a general discussion question (What did you do this weekend?) and just have students practice replying. I am also thinking of incorporating poetry analysis into one of my first blogging activities, as I need to meet content standards in that area and it will also give students practice in thinking, analyzing, communication via writing, and collaboration skills. Before that lesson, I will need to find a good piece of poetry that I think all of my students will be able to gain access to (I have a diverse group in terms of reading ability) and yet be meaningful on different levels so that it elicits good conversation and dialogue. Any suggestions?
Cennamo, K., Ross, J. D., & Ertmer, P. A. (2009). Technology integration for meaningful classroom use: a standards-based approach. Belmont, Calif.: Wadsworth.