ICT Presentation: blogs and wikis

Why Blog?

“Blogs: great for class portals, an online filing cabinet, e-portfolios… but better: a collaborative space for students and teachers to react to questions and scenarios … Student writing becomes authentic, relevant.”   Will Richardson, Connective Learning: educator, presenter, blogger, author of Blogs, Wikis, Podcasts and Other Powerful Web Tools for Classrooms

21 reasons to integrate blogging into the classroom (thanks to Anne Mirtschin for sharing some of these ideas).

  1. It is great fun!
  2. There is an authentic audience – a potential global audience.
  3. Suits all learning styles.
  4. Increased motivation for writing.
  5. Increased motivation for reading.
  6. Improved confidence levels (via comments and global dots on their cluster maps).   Students can share their strengths and upload areas of interest or units of work.
  7. Blogs facilitate use of text, multimedia, widgets, audio and images – all tools that digital natives want to use.
  8. Increased proofreading and validation skills.
  9. Improved awareness of cybersafety that may confront them in the real world, whilst in a sheltered classroom environment.
  10. Facilitates sharing – students are already involved in social networking – why not extend that to education?  They can share with each other, staff, their parents, the community, and the globe.
  11. Providing them with ‘out there’ web technologies and tools that are in use in the world of work.
  12. Mutual learning between students and teachers.
  13. Family members can view their child’s work and writings – regardless of their geographical location.
  14. Blogs may be used for digital portfolios and all the benefits this entails.
  15. Work is permanently stored, easily accessed and valuable comparisons can be made over time for assessment and evaluation purposes.
  16. Students are digital natives – blogging is a natural element of this.
  17. Gives students a chance to show responsibility and trustworthiness and engenders independence.
  18. Prepares students for digital citizenship as they learn cybersafety and netiquette.
  19. Fosters peer to peer mentoring.
  20. Allows student led professional development and one more……
  21. Students set the topics for posts – leads to deeper thinking activities.

And if you still not convinced:

Focused on primary school children, but a great message ‘Bring the World in, Blogging with your students

Learning with blogs and wikis: Using blogs and wikis to address student literacies

11 Advantages of using a blog for teaching

Blogs in Education

Where to start?

Global teacher, Global Teacher class blog, Student blog, Edublogs video tutorial, Blog tutorial

Why wikis?

Wikis are an extremely useful tool for collaborative projects, sharing knowledge, resource reppositories for students and teacher lesson plan/resource exchange and much more.  Limited technical expertise is required to contribute to a wiki, they are quick and easy to set up.  Think Wikipedia – it is a collaborative writing space that allows users to read, add, and edit text and files of any kind including sound, movies, and even links to other websites. To learn more about wikis visit  “The Seven Things You Should Know About Wikis”.

Free online wiki sites are available at  PB Wiki, Wet Paint, Wikispaces, Wikispaces for Educators and Jottit.  Here are some great sample wikis, which show what you can do:

Wiki: WebTools4U2Use

Wiki: Web2Tools

Wiki: Cool Tools for Schools

Wiki: Examples of Educational Wikis

What are the advantages of using wikis with students?

  1. Relatively simple technology
  2. Promotes “real-world” collaboration skills
  3. Fosters richer communication than synchronous communication (Mabrito, 2006)
  4. Pools strengths of many
  5. Assessable, easy to track
  6. Online collaborative writing produces higher quality writing than face-to-face collaboration (Passig and Schwartz, 2007)

Help with getting started:

Getting started with Wikispaces tutorial

How to set up a wiki at Wikispace

Class blogging prep

How exciting!  We’re getting ready to start  class and student blogs!   We’ll be mirroring some of the activities that Anne Mirtschin’s class at ejourneys for technokids have done, so it’s great to have such a terrific lead to follow.  I’m really looking forward to exploring Web 2.0 tools via blogging and hopefully the students will be equally enthused.   I decided that it would be good to familiarise students with the blogosphere and a few other applications before we dived in, so for other teacher considering blogging, here is an outline of how we are starting:

Photo by Zappowbang

Lesson 1

1. introduce students to an internet portal. This can be an igoogle page, Pageflakes or Netvibes.  Students created a google account and  had fun adding a theme to their page and gadgets such as calendar, to-do list, quote of the day, news etc and I asked that they added a google reader.   They added games and fun things in another tab on their igoogle page.

2. I used the class blog I had created via global teacher to show them how to add a feed to their reader.  We looked at the page layout and widgets on the class blog: posts, comments, blogroll, clustr map, archives etc.  Students read the mission statement and code of conduct.  Thanks to Nancy Bosch for the use of a blog Mission Statement and Code of Conduct via her blog: A Really Different Place.  Parent permission letters are also being sent out as well as students signing a blogging guidelines agreement form.  (Thanks to Gail Casey from Geelong High School for Blogging Guidelines).

Lesson 2

1. Students are introduced to blogs via the links on the class blog.  They visisted The Next Generation of Bloggers, and student blogs at ejourneys for technokids, leaving a comment on at least two blogs.    Since we are awaiting parent permission forms to be returned, students will write a blog post in Word introducing themselves.  This will be added to their personal blogs when created.

Lesson 3

This lesson will be focused on internet safety awareness and I’ll be adding a wiki I’ve created  to the class blog for students to explore.

Lesson 4

This is the lesson we will be setting up blogs via global student. To do this, students students need an email address (which they have) and a username.  Students will add their class teacher as administrator.  To do this: students login and then go to ‘users’ on top right hand side of dashboard, ‘add user from community’, enter teacher email address, change role to ‘administrator’.  The teacher then goes to the class blog and open the ‘users’ link (top right hand side of dashboard), under ‘manage users’ a drop down menu will list the student blogs.

Once set up, students will spend the lesson adding a design to their blog, we’ll be looking at adding widgets and the dashboard in general.

Subsequent lessons

Once students are familiar with the basic blogging platform, we’ll be exploring Web 2.0 tools alongside blogging.

I would like to thank those educators who have mentored, guided and inspired me in what they are doing with their students and who have taught me so much.  Thanks to Sue Waters at The Edublogger, Mobile Technology at TAFE, for her patience in answering my inexperienced questions, John Pearce at Salty Solutions for his comprehensive coverage of my how-to-start-class-blogs questions, Elizabeth Davis at Classroom 2.0 for sharing her Computer Applications syllabus (which I have used as a basis for developing this Web 2.0 applications/blogging unit). And to Anne, who always kindly responds to my pleas and queries. To Vicki Davis who amazes me with her energy, wisdom, knowledge and ability to always be on the cutting edge of anything new!  What an amazing teacher!

Also thanks to all those who responded to my discussion on assessment criteria for blogs at Classroom 2.0. Thanks Nancy Bosch for sharing a blogging rubric.

Finally, to all those I may have omitted to mention.  I could stay up till midnight going through my blogroll listing everyone in this post. Please forgive me for not having the stamina to do so!