This is my first post to Classroom 2.0, and I am amazed. I never made friends so fast! :)

I actually have a current question that I thought someone in this network might have an answer for. We have so many options today for what technology to use in our teaching that often it can be overwhelming (and there is always the sense that out there is something better). Miguel Guilin and I have been talking about the metaphor of the "Walled Garden." I'm not sure where he got the concept, but it is creating safe places where students can publish, interact, and exchange online mostly via Web 2.0 technologies that make this kind of activity easy and assessible to students. He is a technology specialist for San Antonio Independent School District and I am a teacher at San Antonio College, and we are discussing how to promote the sharing of writing and dialoguing between our two student populations.

I currently have two assignments with my Developmental English II students where I am asking them to publish to a web publication forum (in addition to our online Moodle learning environment), but I have not yet created this forum/site. Eventually, Miguel and I (I hope) will set up something like a Ning or ELGG site for our student exchange, but I was wondering in the short term for my current students if anyone had a suggestion for a blog or wiki tool that would work for my students.

I was just about to set up a single Blogger blog that we all could post to, but I wondered if there was a better option. In order to facilitate full participation I would probably set up accounts for all my students that are dummy accounts (i.e. not using their real names, probably just first names with our school initials like mark-sac or linda-sac).

Thanks for you help, and I look forward to being part of this community.

Lennie

Views: 39

Comment by Durff on April 22, 2007 at 2:06pm
Lennie - Classblogmeister may be a good 1st step. Since you have college kids, you may evolve past that to EduBlogs quickly. But for making sure everyone is onboard, there is nothing like that metaphor. I think it compares nicely with The Secret Garden, with which I am sure you are familiar....
Comment by Miguel Guhlin on April 22, 2007 at 2:10pm
I'm also looking forward to the conversation!
Comment by Laura Gibbs on September 28, 2007 at 1:37pm
For getting started quickly and student privacy, I am a big fan of the VERY SIMPLE blogging tool built into Bloglines. Students can hide their identity or not (about half my students do not use their real names). It is SO EASY to get started, and since Bloglines is primarily an RSS feed reader it makes it easy to have students subscribe to each other also - and it works very fast, a Bloglines blog shows up in the feed reader instantaneously, so if you are working in a lab setting, students would actually see each other's posts coming up very fast if they are subscribed to each other and blogging at the same time in the lab.

I prefer blogs to wikis because students get a powerful sense of ownership and responsibility with their own blogs, less so with wikis. That's just my 2 cents' worth on that.

Some of my students get really excited about blogging, and I then send them to Blogger.com for more advanced options.

With Bloglines, it is so simple because there are really no options to choose from: just write and blog!

Here are the instructions my students use in getting started:
Creating a Bloglines Account
As the students end me their blog address, I subscribe to their blogs - for me, as a teacher, it is fantastic to get basically real-time updates about student postings so if they are suffering from some kind of techno-disaster (trying to display a 4 meg bitmap image in a post...), I can help them out promptly.

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