Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Blogging in the Classroom Idea

I've seen and heard of blogs being used in a variety of ways in the classroom. I decided one way that I would use a blog for would be for an 8th grade Current Events assignment for their Government class. As a technology teacher, I would coordinate some of my assignments/projects with the content area teachers. The Government teacher required his students to do a current events assignment where the students would have to clip two or three newspaper articles, write summaries and write definitions of a couple of key or new words from the articles. When I was teaching the students how to do PowerPoint, I would have them create a Current Events PowerPoint, with the same basic requirements, except the articles came from online sources (they had to link to the article in the PPT). The Government teacher would give extra credit to any student that would give their PowerPoint Current Events reports in class.

I feel that a blog would be a great way to take the whole current events assignment to the next level. A blog not only allows the student to post the article or links to the article, but it also gives them a great venue to express their thoughts or opinions on the news. The opportunity to get feedback from classmates and others also adds a new dimension to the assignment.
When students know that their work is going to be online, they tend to focus more on their grammar and spelling.


Paul McKenzie said...

Hi Curtis,

You write that blogging would be a great way to take the current events assignments to the next level. You totally gave me an idea that will help our struggling journalism class. What if the school newspaper shifted from paper to the blog. Many online news sources do seem to be modeling their web presences on the traditional blog format. They are also, in a bid to capture readership, allowing their audience to become co-creators of news content as well as giving them the ability to comment on articles. I think our journalism class is really going to love this idea - thanks :)

Curtis Dutiel said...

Paul, you might want to look at using a wiki as well as a blog or even instead of a blog. Wikis can have multiple pages and sections, something you can't do with a blog. Readers can also have comments, and you can control who has access to what people can/can't see.

Paul McKenzie said...

You're right, Curtis, thanks. A wiki would be the best approach for a newspaper. I used to use wikis a lot, but was forever getting annoyed with the advertising placed on them. I don't believe educators and schools should have to pay for advertising-free accounts. The most effective business models for online apps are those where the free versions (limited functionality) are supported by the businesses and organizations that pay for more functionality. This also allows for education accounts that remove advertising too. Here is a link to an attempted Wikipedia for Kids I started a few years ago with four grade 4 classes. It was ruined by advertising. I think I have an advertising-free educational wiki account somewhere. I guess I should try and resurrect it for the next section of the course.

Alshaheed said...

I think this is an excellent way to take an assignment to the next level, and allow student to be more creative and think outside the box.