Tuesday, March 11, 2008

Journal # 4

Five Don'ts of Classroom Blogging
Published online by Julie Sturgeon in the February issue of T.H.E. Journal

In her article, Julie Sturgeon states that, according to research, students perform better when they know that their work is going to be reviewed by their peers. This is one of many reasons why blogging can be a very useful and empowering educational tool. However, according to the the author if blogging is going to be truly effective and not turn into a waste of the teacher's time or a forum for expressing negative, hurtful or inappropriate ideas, educators need to carefully plan their use of this tool and teach their students to be safe, respectful, and responsible bloggers.
Sturgeon educators provides with five tips on what to do or not to do when introducing blogging to a classroom:
-First, don't dive right into blogging. Set up specific guidelines for what is and isn't appropriate, inform the parents, have students sign off on a code of honor, and spend time preparing students for the activity.
-Second, don’t confuse blogging with social websites such as MySpace, face book and so on. Focus on the academic nature of the blog.
- Third, don’t jump on the freebies, choose templates that offer teachers more control, and that limit access to the website even if they cost money.
-Fourth, don’t force a sequential or chronological organization on the blog. Sometimes organizing posts by topic or importance to the students is more useful. In general think about the goals you want to achieve with this blog and map out an effective strategy for doing this.
-Fifth, don’t limit the blogging to students. Be a part of the community and give your students the opportunity to comment on your thoughts; this will help you get to know them better

Like many other online resources, if it used thoughtfully and responsibly, blogging can offer many unique and positive learning opportunities.

Question 1:
What are some of the ways that educators can teach their students how to be safe and respectful when communicating online?
One thing that teachers can do, is have their students read The Core Rules of Netiquette ( and have them take the netiquette quiz. Students could also be asked to complete an assignment in which they would give a few examples of what they think would be unacceptable blogger behavior and explain why. The students could then share their ideas, and the class as whole could come up with its own class bloggetiquette.

Question 2:
How could I used blogging to enhance learning and foster collaboration in my classroom?
Students who are working on science fair projects, or other group projects, could collaborate with their peers to create a blog where they would post questions about their projects and ask for advice, as well as make suggestions and comments about the projects of others. Students could also post resources or other helpful hints for their peers.