We have all been in a situation where we pretend we know what people are talking about, even though we have no idea. Being both a parent and a teacher at my school, I didn’t want to show my ignorance amongst a group of parents as they talked about their blogs. It sounded to me like they were just talking about web pages, but I wanted to see if was right, so there began my introduction and interest in investigating blogging.
The initial blogs I encountered seemed to be mostly diaries of people’s holidays or child’s development and I wasn’t sure whether a blog would be useful for integration into my teaching. As I was browsing the DEET website I discovered Global Teacher and decided I wanted a blog. I wasn’t sure what I would use it for but I knew if our parents were talking about them and using them, then it was something that was likely to become part of our student’s world in the not too distant future if they weren’t already.
After putting out a call for help through the Global Classrooms Project I found help from Heather Blakey. I was fortunate to have the opportunity to work with Heather and another Murrumbeena P.S. staff member (Debby Wall) to get up and blogging. I now see blogging as an integral part of the teaching and learning within my IRC (Information Resource Centre) program. The IRC comprises our school library a multimedia computer lab and interactive whiteboard facilities. All students have a 45 minute lesson in the IRC each week. I have been the IRC teacher just over 6 months, after being a teaching Reading Recovery for the previous 4 years.
My first blog is an information blog. It doesn’t vary much from a standard web page, but it was a starting point. Through it’s creation I acquired the basic blogging skills, and became familiar with navigating around a blogging environment. This blog has now become my contents page for all of my teaching and learning blogs.
I was looking for some inspiration for my second blog and I found it in Heather Blakey’s Magic Garden Project. Through this blog I found my ICT knowledge and skills soared. The students responded to an amazing story telling session by Cora Zon through a range of multimedia projects including digital pictures, animations and podcasts. It also lead to an improvement in our ICT resources as I had to ensure software and hardware were available and operational for students to complete their tasks.
I felt I had been focusing a lot of my energy on the ICT aspect of my program at the expense of the library component. With this in mind and Book Week approaching I decided my third blog would have a library focus. I wanted an environment in which students could communicate with each other about literature with a focus on our library resources. This blog has heightened my awareness of copyright, I found myself removing pictures of book covers I had copied from the internet. I have planned to replace them with student illustrations.
As I look back at my blogs I see growth from one blog to the next. Each blog’s purpose becomes more meaningful as I grow in my understanding of blogging and how I think about blogging changes. Blogs can be designed to suit the purpose of your teaching and learning. The main purpose of my IRC blog was information, the Magic Garden blog publishes and celebrates student work and the Book Club blog encourages responses to and communication about literature. All of my blogs will continue to be works in progress. My goal and challenge for future blogs is to provide a platform for student inquiry and for global communications.
Our students are highly motivated to see their work published on blogs so they can share their work with wider communities. They also enjoy the connection between home and school. It gives purpose to discussions of appropriate and inappropriate sharing of personal details, use of copyright material, permissions for use of photos and many more www issues.
I am excited to about where blogging will take my teaching and learning in the future, and where teaching and learning will take my blogging.
Happy blogging, Angela Houghton