Recently, Wesley Fryer forced me to realize that I am simply "digitizing school 1.0 (as he put it at NECC)". While I thought I was using my classroom blog (www.mrfowler.wordpress.com) in an innovative way, I am pretty much just having my classroom have a conversation with themselves electronically. While this does improve typing skills, it doesn't incorporate conversation with the outside world. For this reason I have a few questions:

1. How do others incorporate blogs into the school day?
2. What type of topics do you blog about?
3. What strategies have been effective in bringing in genuine collaboration between students and professionals in the real world?

I am very anxious to hear what others are doing!

Cheers,
Mitch

Tags: Blogs, Collaboration, Elementary Education, Wesley Fryer, blogging, elementary

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I haven't tried using blogs full time with my English students here in Brasil apart from a few students that study business English and have private blogs that they use to practice their writing skills. They liked this a lot, because their blogs were private they were not too bothered about making mistakes and I corrected their mistakes using the comments sections. I would like to try something involving a whole class as I teach advanced and MEC classes but here in Brasil using the internet as part of classes is something that I have had problems with, especially getting other teachers to be involved too. Their idea is usually something like 'you do it' and we will use what you create instead of getting into it too.

Wikispaces I had more success with, athough they are wikis and not blogs, my students did update the ones we had, although I think looking back maybe I added too much content to the wikis myself and the students then felt there was enough information there for what they needed and didn't update as much as I had hoped. but it was still a good experience for them as in their schools Web 2.0 isn't implimented at all. I'm also curious to see how people started off getting their students into using blogs more and can't wait to see what other teachers post here :-)
Here's a blog I did with my 4th grade classroom a few years ago.

http://evergreengrade4.blogspot.com/

I assigned it as a "job" at the end of the day. While the other kids were sweeping, washing whiteboard, emptying trash, etc. One student was sitting at the classroom computer typing the blog entry into word. I had them type in MS Word and then I copied and pasted it onto the blog after students left. By the end of the year, I just logged in and had the kids do the rest.
I use a blog as an independent activity during reading time with my third and fourth graders. I am encouraging them to write more and elaborate (with mixed results) but their motivation to write about their reading has gone sky high-particularly when you consider how long it takes them to type! Here is my blog address if you want to check it out. http://classblogmeister.com/blog.php?blogger_id=273682 And I highly recommend classblogmeister as blogging venue. It's really easy to set up and you don't have to have an email address or a google account to post.
I have created a blogging site focused entirely on thinking. The students go to this site and we discuss a weekly question to do with a philosophical idea that is focused with a video, image or discussion point. After a classroom discussion the students publish their ideas on their individual blogs.
The link is:
http://thinkersoftheworldunite.gloablstudent.org.au
I would love some classes to join this community, it relates well to any students from years 2-8.

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