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Tuesday, July 3, 2007

Blogging with Barriers

I have been thinking about the comments people made in response to my Week 2 blogging post about (what else) blogging and I wanted to talk a little about the barriers people mentioned. One big thing people mentioned is that they were concerned their students wouldn't be able to participate in a blog because of a lack of computers and internet access in the home. I think this can definitely be a barrier to participation if you expect kids to contribute mostly outside of class or school. This is one of the main reasons I advocate for finding ways to incorporate technology such as blogging within the normal school day. Many of you noted concerns about finding the time in school to have kids blog and I understand this as well but I also think part of this concern might stem from the fact that we are still thinking about blogging as being something "additional" that we do rather than an integrated part of the curriculum. I would encourage people to look at how they cover different content areas and think about how blogging could be used to achieve some of the goals they already have in place. For instance, if you have students write in journals on a regular basis then it would seem logical to have kids do at least some of this journal writing in a blog. You could rotate through kids so that certain kids are journaling on the blog on certain days while the rest of the class is writing in their paper and pencil journals. This would allow you to make use of the one or two computers you have available in your classroom and by the end of the week the entire class will have taken a turn contributing to the blog. I used to do this in my third grade classroom, although it wasn't for blogging it was more for general computer use. I would have a chart that was posted in the room that showed the 5 days of the school week and each day had a card with a list of 4-5 (or more depending on the class size) student names on it indicating which group of kids could use the computer on that day. The days rotated each week so kids didn't always have the same day. You could do the same thing with blogging and then when it came time to do journal writing or at other points in the day the kids could go back and respond to the blog if it was their assigned day.

Another idea would be to ask the computer teacher, if you have one, to allow the kids to take 10-15 minutes at some point during the computer class to post to your blog. This would give the kids an opportunity to practice their keyboarding skills while at the same time giving you a chance to incorporate blogging in your teaching. It would be helpful to have the kids prepared to respond to a particular post so that they could use their blogging time effectively.


Ms. Borsick (Goddard) said...

I like the idea of asking the computer teacher for the last 10-15 minutes of their time to contribute to the class blog. And to approach it to that teacher as a means of practicing their "keyboard skills". Great idea!
Just last week, I had an old colleague of mine email me with a link to her new blog for her author's page for her book release in January. She was so excited to share it and wanted people to test it out with their comments. So, I responded and left my blog address on her blog. She ended up checking mine out and later called me. We both discussed how we were looking forward to using blogs in our classrooms and how great of a tool it is. The best part is that you don't have to take home 26 composition books to review journal writing.

Jenn Barczyk said...

Good point! Who likes to carry home(in my case 120)journals home each week?

Sister Ghazala said...

Ghazala Khan said: Great idea. Journal writing would work fine with me because I will be working only with two computers next year and we don't know when our computer lab will be ready.