Blogs: What’s the Big Deal?
I recently read a number of blogs that are written for the audience of an educator or any one interested in education. They are all set up in a way that it is easy to locate different blog posts, information about the author, and other resources that might be interesting to educators. The best thing about blogs is that they make you feel like you are actually having a conversation or at least listening to one with the author and when you add in comments where the author responds it does become a conversation.
In education blogs are used for a number of reasons. As a teacher I can find ways to use them in my classroom. I can use a blog to share what is happening in my class with parents and families, as a way to learn new teaching techniques, or as an actual teaching tool with my students.
To enhance learning in my classroom I would use a blog as a conversation tool for my students. First I will post a question on the class blog, then students respond with their answer, and then students start responding to each other’s answers to have a full fledge conversation on the topic. We already know that when students have conversations about a topic they retain more information. A blog helps to encourage conversation-using technology as the medium.
Here are some blogs that I’ve recently visited:
Discover Educator Network National blog
I read the blog post “Q&A: Harrisburg’s Cheryl Capozzoli on How Anything is STEMpossible”, by Frank Smith. I chose this post because STEM education is such a large part of what is going on in schools right now and having the opportunity to hear about another teacher’s reflection on incorporating it in her school is very helpful. This post is set up with a quick introduction of Cheryl Capozzoli and then proceeds with a question and answer format. I like the use of the question and answer format because it makes me as a reader feel like I am there for the interview. Cheryl Capozzoli is the STEM Coordinator for the Harrisburg School District and through the conversation she shares why she think STEM education is important and what steps are being taken in her district to implement STEM. There was only one comment on this post. I think if more people commented there could be a real conversation about the different ways people are using STEM in their classrooms.
the Aside blog
I read the blog post “Why Multitasking Is A Myth AND Bad For Our Children”. It’s very interesting because I feel like I’m always hearing about why it’s okay for students to have their devices in class and why we should use them in our instruction. I’ve always loved using technology in class, but the use of personal devices has always made me a little nervous. This post uses sound evidence of why it might not be the best idea, because even brief 3-second interruption can double the amount of errors a student makes. A few people thanked the author in the comments on how much they enjoyed the post.
The Principal of Change
I read the blog post “What types of questions are you asking?”, by George. This post begins with the author talking about a question he got on Twitter and then goes on to explain why it’s the wrong question. The question was about keyboarding programs that he would suggest to a school. His stance is that the educators should be looking more into programs where keyboarding would come naturally instead of wasting time on simply teaching keyboarding. I don’t know if I 100% agree with him, but he does have some good points like how kids are able to type so fast on their mobile devices. He says that students will want to find an easier way to type once they get more engaged in learning because the “hunt and peck” way won’t be as efficient, so they’ll self teach. The comments on this page were from other educators and administrators, so it was interesting to see their viewpoints.
G. (2017, March 25). What Types of Questions Are You Asking? Retrieved from http://georgecouros.ca/blog/
Russac, M. H. (n.d.). Why Multitasking is a myth and bad for our children. Retrieved from http://theasideblog.blogspot.com/
Smith, F. (n.d.). Q&A: Harrisburg’s Cheryl Capozzoli on How Anything is STEMpossible. Retrieved from http://blog.discoveryeducation.com/blog/2017/03/23/qa-harrisburgs-cheryl-capozzoli-on-how-anything-is-stempossible/
RSS Aggregation in the Classroom
A RSS Aggregation Site such as feedly.com allows you to subscribe to multiple blogs and then receive updates when a new post is made. This makes it so you can keep up to date on resources you are most interested in. Prior to finding out about this I would bookmark blogs that I liked to read and when I thought about it I would go and visit a blog and see if anything new was posted. Now that I have feedly I can simply go there and my feed shows me if anything new has been posted. This is a much more efficient way to keep up to date with the blogs I follow.
Blogging in the classroom is becoming much more common. Along with this there is an expectation that students will keep up to date with their classmates blogs and comment on them regularly. I would suggest having students create an account on feedly or a similar tool to subscribe to each others blogs. This way they will only have to visit their feed to see who has posted and then go to those blogs to read and comment. This will make the progress of blogging in the classroom much more efficient.
In addition to students keeping up to date with each other’s blogs, they can also keep up to date with my blog. By keeping up to date with my blog, this will help them stay current with assignment postings and updates.
V. (1970, January 01). Presentation on uses of RSS in the classroom. Retrieved April 02, 2017, from http://vtgrrlscake.blogspot.com/2007/02/presentation-on-uses-of-rss-in.html
Critical Evaluation of Websites & Creative Commons
Google Slideshow: https://goo.gl/bseqcG
I created a survey asking my classmates if they teach their students to evaluate websites prior to asking students to conduct online research. I asked this question, because I feel this is a very important component of having our students seek out information on the Internet. It’s too easy for students to find a website with false information. To try and eliminate false information from being used by my student I teach a lesson on this at the beginning of the school year. Since doing this I have found that my students are much more aware of the websites they are using and if they are unsure they ask their classmates and/or me if the site should be used.
I’ve never actually taught my students about Creative Commons licensing, but it has come up when they are working on presentations. We are now using the Google Platform for most of our course work and with Google Slides students have noticed that when they search for images when creating a presentation instead of a Google image search that they are much fewer results. When this happened I took the opportunity to explain what Creative Commons is and how Google only uses those images that are allowed to be used without permission on Google Slides and if they use an image on Google Images and don’t say where they got it from, that is stealing. I think it’s important for students to realize the importance of giving credit to images they same way they give credit for information.
Online Presentation Tools Reflection
I recently tried out some new online presentation tools. View my reflection here:
Infographics: Google Photos & Canva
Google Photos is a great tool to show your students as an option for projects. The process is very simple. All you do is upload the pictures to an album, add text, and then just make sure they are in the right order. Here is the link to my sample assignment: https://goo.gl/photos/KGnW8YF4zKCMtdew8
I used the same pictures from my Google Photos to create an infographic on canva. Canva is very simple to use and I can see my students having a lot of fun with all of the artistic features. For this reason I would suggest having students get all of their research done prior to introducing canva to them. It's to easy for students to get sidetracked. Here is my finished canva on the history of slavery in the United States.
Picture Credits: https://goo.gl/LVBuf3
For this infographic I uploaded a picture to Google Drawing and then used lines to slice the picture in half to show the social media data. The overall process was very simple. I think this would be a great way to have students create a pictoral representation of data in a new way. Here is a look at my social media infographic.
picture credit: https://www.flickr.com/photos/37031597@N05/14406096347
Public Service Announcement Viewing
I recently reviewed two public service announcements on technology. My point o view is that of a parent. Click below to read my reflection on my blog post.
PSA: The Future of Education
I created the following PSA to show the importance of increasing technology in our schools. The audience is intended to be parents, guardians, and anyone else that might have influence over the decisions of the schools. I encourage these people to make their voice heard and let their administrators know they want more technology in their schools.
To create the video I used Adobe Spark Video. I really like this platform because of the simplicity of it. All of the pictures and videos are right there, so it makes it that much better.