Saturday, May 13, 2006

Why Blog?-Classroom Blogging -PART TWO-the serious stuff

A friend has challenged me with his questions to think about the implications of blogging on the net in the classroom.
What he is suggesting ( I think) is that if we are going to allow or encourage or even require our students at school to BLOG. are we facilitating the possibility of our kids to be:
  • vulnerable to predators and other dangerous people ?
  • flippant and careless about the standard of work or writing that they publish?
  • more vulnerable to being cyber bullied ?
  • more likely to participate in cyber bullying themselves?
  • a participant in unsavoury, dangerous, inappropriate discussions ?
after a long and spirited discussion- my initial response is- I DON"T KNOW- the jury is still out for me .
There are a couple of things that we could consider immediately to ensure that our students are safer.
  1. we could ensure that their blogs are not public (a setting that is available on
    but then an important part of the whole reason behind blogs is gone-that is the opportunity for other students to see their work
  2. we could make sure that we regularly check their blogs-a fairly big job but not impossible as the scheduled time for blogging is in class time
  3. we could link all the blogs to one blog so that we can all easily access everyone's blog and simply - we are doing that already-see
  4. we could house all the blogs on our internal server so that the blogs can be shared across our school community but no-one else will access them- this is available to us and is something that we may do very shortly after some more discussion and debate
  5. we could simply say that blogs are not appropriate because of all these issues and that students will do their reflections on other online journals within our intranet- certainly possible but currently the software we have doesn't allow the flexibility of expression that does
  6. we could create a class blog-one blog rather than many and students contribute posts to that - but again, these students are Years 7&8. I think part of the beauty of blogs is the individuality and ease of use for each individual student

and I haven't even considered the other issue of quality of posting-how do we get kids to write for their audience and to write high quality work-after all this is being published. That is another blog and I will think about it some more.

Friday, May 12, 2006

Why Digital Portfolios?

Last year through our North Central Innovation and Excellence Network we applied for some funding to develop a case study of the use of Digital Portfolios. As a school who is keen to use ICT in motivating and effective ways we thought that DP's might provide an opportunity for students and teachers to think about the way they think about and represent themselves and their work.
We engaged Dr Maureen O'Rourke to work with us over a period of 5 days.
We spent much of our time exploring the why and hows of creating Digital Portfolios.
Fundamentally I think that we are enabling our students to document and demonstrate their learning and their thinking in a way that engages and educates them.
Once back in our schools we began the process of working with our students to develop the DPs.

Thursday, May 11, 2006


This is a link to another blog that I have come across that has been posted by LF Bowe who works at the eLearning Branch, Innovations Branch Department of Education in Victoria. eLearning

Wednesday, May 10, 2006

ICTEV Conference this weekend

This Saturday I'm presenting at a conference in Melbourne of ICT teachers from all over the state. As I was preparing and finalising what I plan to share with other teachers I was prompted to think about sending some notes to the conference organisers who would then upload them to the website. Good idea and efficient way to upload notes for participants. Saves a few trees as well.
And then I thought-well isn't this an obvious way to use my blog???
If I put a few posts up that discuss the things that I plan to share and then simply direct participants to the url aren't I using ICT in a real and effective way?
I guess we will see. Perhaps what I will do is ask a few people to go to the blog next week, after the conference and post some comments about what they think. It 's worth a try at least.

Why Blog?-Classroom Blogging

Over the last few weeks my teacher friend Rach and I have been introducing blogging to our Year 7 and Year 8 students. Rach is a first-year-out teacher who is new to our school this year and who also teaches Physical Education and Outdoor Education. She is also a bit of an IT freak and loves nothing better than mucking around on the computer at night when she probably should be preparing amazing IT lessons for her Yr 7&8's. Only joking Rach-you can do all the surfing you like 'cause you seem to have it all in hand.
Anyway, we team-teach 4 periods a week and this 2o year veteran primary teacher (oh that is scary, I've just realised that I have probably been teaching almost longer than Rach has been living) is really enjoying this opportunity to team teach, learn more and more new stuff from both Rach and the kids.

Having said all this though I think one of our key challenges is to think about why we should, could or would use this method of publishing in the classroom.
a few questions that immediately come to mind-and I don't necessarily have the answers.
  • Will it improve student literacy?
  • If so - How?
  • If not- Why not?
  • Will it engage students in the writing process?
  • What do we get students to write about?
  • What is our role in the process?
  • How can we harness this authentic writing and journalling opportunity to also teach and develop writing and thinking skills? (It's the old Reading Recovery teacher coming out in me)
  • Do we allow free reign for topics or do we maintain some direction or control?
  • How do we maintain the privacy of our students?
  • How do we ensure their protection?
I'm sure there are heaps more questions to ask and many more issues to explore. Another time...