Who am I?

Jo McLeay The Open Classroom blog

Teacher since 1978, mother of five adult children, lifelong learner...

My children - Emilly, Tristan, Felicity, Lachlan and Kieran

At school I teach English and am English Domain Leader

What are blogs?

use the chat to put in some ideas

A blog is...
a free personal website containing... hypertextual pieces of writing (or content such as video, photos, flow charts, links, music, slides, art) composed by an individual... new posts appear at the top of the page... posts can be edited anytime, even after publication

There is an invitation to...

...make comments, thereby making it a conversation

Characteristics of blogs

simple to get started word document-like editing free a repository of content that lasts

In the 21st century
With the read-write web the power of content creation has been handed over to the user and there is no going back This is the world that we as learners live in This is the world that our students live in

How do we blog?

use the chat to put in some ideas

Before the end of this session

you will have a chance to start your own blog

And most importantly, WHY do we blog?
use the chat to put in some ideas

We'll start with why first...

unless we know why, who would bother?

Why blog?
We can blog for:

professional development reflection identity collaboration conversation Blogging is useful for reflection on and improvement in our professional practice

In December 2005, after 6 months as a blogger I wrote...

"I am amazed at all that has happened, and I haven’t even begun to speak of all that I have learnt from reading, reflecting and commenting and receiving comments. Or the joys and learning experiences of blogging with my Year 9 students and the contact with Clarence Fisher’s class. I would like to thank Clarence for his inspiration and guidance. To top it all off being nominated for Best Teacher Blog in the Edublog Awards...."

Blogging overcomes the isolation of teaching
we learn together it makes our job easier (others help with our research) doing our job well becomes more enjoyable

Why reflect?
Standards of the Victorian institute of teaching Professional engagement “Teachers reflect on, evaluate and improve their professional knowledge and practice.”

Blogging as reflection
The edublogger community models and encourages this Teachers who are passionate about their practice

With reflection I can….
Evaluate effectiveness Identify my own learning needs Visualise future ideas Ask for help Keep up with research

Blogs enable…
Looking back to where you were The benefits of connecting disparate people Learning from others Articulating beliefs and thoughts Refining these

Building community

another way of learning a different way of thinking

If blogging is good for teachers who are lifelong learners....


will it do for students?

What sort of learning experiences do our students need?
In the 21st century…

We want learners who are motivated to be lifelong learners Critically literate in every way Digital citizens Reflective and compassionate I’m sure you can add to this list… (please do)

"Think about it. Kids are motivated. They often want to write more and they want to write better, using proper grammar and spelling because they know they have an audience who will read their work."
(C. Fisher)

Blogging and other interactive tools
Can make students' experiences of learning more enjoyable collaboration helps students learn about students in other parts of the world collaboration means that together we can achieve more than individual classrooms could achieve alone

Some practical points:
Blogs can be set up for free at a few different sites. http://www.learnerblogs.org (for students) http://www.edublogs.org (for teachers) http://blogger.com WRITING BLOG POSTS

Once you have set up a blog, either for yourself, or for your students, you can immediately begin writing and editing posts. It is simply like a word processor. After finishing writing, simply click save and what has been written automatically goes on the Internet for everyone to read.

Your blog’s appearance can be customised. Simply click on the Presentation tab at the top and choose the theme that you like. Many of these themes can be further customized allowing you to place a search box, lists of links to other places on the Internet, calendar, files, etc

Writing online is different from writing on a piece of paper because it can have more stuff on it. For example, a blog post doesn’t only need to be written text. It can also include pictures, videos, links to other websites, etc. We use three rules for writing posts: 1. Divide long pieces of writing into pieces using subtitles. 2. Include links, pictures, videos, etc. to give people more information. 3. Include a catchy title

One of the main advantages of blogging is that students can write a post and others either in the class or anywhere else around the world can write comments on them. To leave a comment, click on "comments" or “add a Comment” on the actual post and write what you would like.

Shaping our learning through comments
Anne Davis muses that:

“Students need practice with the standards that are being taught. Blogging is a great way to provide that practice… helps make it authentic and important to the student. They have ownership … classroom discussions are very important… crucial to take the time to share and reflect on how the comments are shaping our learning.”

How to teach commenting (and why)...
Vicki Davis in Georgia USA has a very useful blog post on this, including:

You show the blog author that "you hear them" Beginners who comment will receive the feedback that will keep them blogging and push them to excellence Remember the power of words Teach commenting

Some comment starters:
This made me think about……. I wonder why……. Your writing made me form an opinion about……. This post is relevant because……. Your writing made me think that we should……. I wish I understood why……. This is important because……

Teaching with blogs and the read/write web...
Using wikis and blogs in a classroom feels different. It should be different. It is meant to be. Clarence Fisher talks about rethinking our classrooms as studios

According to Clarence…
Using wikis and blogs and other online tools is not meant to be something that we struggle to do, trying to find time to fit them in on top of all of the “regular” things we do in our classroom. Wikis and blogs are meant to be a regular part of the classroom/studio.

I heard myself saying…

“I just didn’t know blogging was going to change my life in the way it has”

But it is not for everyone
Uses the intrapersonal intelligence Makes some feel uneasy (the fear factor) Some people reflect better in other ways

Blogging is a tool for learning…. and I cannot now imagine learning or teaching without using blogs.
Thanks to: Graham Wegner Claudia Ceraso Clarence Fisher Anne Davis Vicki Davis and my Virtual Learning Network

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