Wednesday, February 24, 2016

Exploring Blogs with Students

Note: This blog post is an assignment for TEC-950, an elective class as part of the CUE Innovative Educator Certificate. 

Blogs are an excellent tool for engaging students in critical thinking and sharing between peers and beyond the classroom. 

Blogging expectations created by my
AVID students
I have tried out blogging with students and been unsuccessful in maintaining the blogs due to technology and platform issues, as well as getting sidetracked with other assignments. I tried again in January of this year with my AVID classes, and had students successfully publish one post. However, we haven't gotten around to publishing another post. I am thinking that next week we will write another post to reflect on what we have learned about kindness. I am hoping we can publish at least a few more posts, then share these posts with the digital word to get feedback on our work. 

Together with my students, we have explored multiple Common Sense Media lessons, including Trillion Dollar Footprint, Which Me Should I Be?, and Cyberbullying: Be Upstanding. My students also explored the Digital Compass games to extend their thinking about digital citizenship. It is essential to have these discussions because students will respond to each others' blogs or even blogs of students outside our class, and they will need to represent themselves and our school in a respectable manner. Outside of my classroom, students are constantly on social media, both creating and commenting on posts, and need to understand the impact of creating a positive (or negative) digital footprint. We modeled and practiced appropriate behavior in structured class activities and discussions. 

According to the ISTE Standards for Students, students should be able to "use digital media and environments to communicate and work collaboratively, including at a distance, to support individual learning and contribute to the learning of others" (ISTE Standards for Students, Standard 2: Communication & Collaboration). I am excited because my AVID students have been collaborating on a collaborative essay with Rosy Burke's 5th grade students as part of a NASA competition. We are hoping to have our students blog about their Genius Hour projects, then use a Critical Friends-style format to share feedback and their projects with each other on their blogs. 

For me, blogging has been an excellent reflective practice, and reading others' blogs and writing my own has made me a better teacher. I'm thankful for my blogging community, and I can't wait to continue to empower my students through blogging. 

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