Intro to Blogs in Education

I’ve been asked to conduct an in-service workshop for our local high school. The original request was for blogs, wikis and everything else Web 2.0 but I’ve managed to limit it to just blogs for starters. Participation is voluntary, so I’m assuming a motivated group of teachers.

I know that I could spend a day or two on the subject, but my challenge will be to motivate and hopefully instruct a bit within the one hour available. I’m asking for help from anyone who has done this before.

I’m considering starting with a short video to get attention. Something like The Machine is Us/ing Us, but I’d like any other recommendations. This could be followed by a discussion of the concerns that teachers may have about using blogs for their classes. Finally, I’ll show how to create a blog and set it up for class use. My first impulse is to use Eduspaces, even though it is more complicated to set up than WordPress.com or Blogger. The social networking aspects of Eduspaces resemble Facebook and the students might prefer this, even if the teachers may need more help with it.

I’ll also create a short list of web resources as a take-away. This list would include Will Richardson, Teachers Teaching Teachers, and Start Blogging. Any other excellent resources for beginners out there?

14 Responses to “Intro to Blogs in Education”

  1. Michele Martin

    Hi Harold–sounds like a great start! A couple of other resources to look at. . . For the past 6 months, I’ve been working on a Wiki for using Web 2.0 in Nonprofit settings. I have a page full of resources on blogging here.

    I’ve also been working on some mini lessons related to Web 2.0, with some intro to technology stuff here.

    If you end up using blogger, there are some video tutorials here and a Video tutorial on getting started with blogger here.

    There’s also a good activity to introduce blogging using paper that’s available here.

    And finally, there’s a wiki on teaching with blogs here.
    Good luck–sounds like a fun workshop!

    Reply
  2. Karyn Romeis

    “Participation is voluntary, so I’m assuming a motivated group of teachers.”

    Just to be on the safe side, I would expect at least one outspoken “atheist” who comes along purely to sneer. If s/he doesn’t appear, great, but it’s better to be prepared.

    I would suggest visits to people like Vicki Davis’s (Cool Cat Teacher) and Jeff Utecht’s (Thinking stick) blogs to show what other high school teachers are doing.

    Reply
  3. Anol

    Harold – as an intro, this might be interesting also, not the representation but (some of the) content – http://incsub.org/soulsoup/?p=823

    Eduspace? I know where are you coming from, but… How about WordPress and introduction to James Farmer’s edublogs.org?

    Reply
  4. Harold

    I thought about edublogs too, Anol. Maybe Eduspaces would be too much for those new to the Web. Still not sure which would be best, but I know that I can only demo one blog platform, given the short time.

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  5. Cindy

    As a teacher who tried blogs in the classroom for the first time this fall – go with the easiest to set up. With everything else to do when moving into something new it’s less intimidating if the technology is as easy as possible. They (we) can always move to a better product when we discover the limitations of the easier one.
    I’d also be interested in hearing how to motivate the students to use them – I assumed that since the net was their gathering they’d be happy to use it, but I got complaints about having to respond to others commments, etc. I started using it as a place to discuss novel questions, hoping that they might find it better than paper and pen – for some it was, others – I’m not so sure. I’ll definitely give it another go next and year. Due to upgrading and moving rooms around, computers were at a premium this term.

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  6. Patrick

    Harold,

    I did this same workshop just the other day, only I was limited to two hours. One of the resources I used was Quentin D’Souza’s Teaching Hack’s wiki page for its resources.

    As for their setup, 21Classes worked well for me, and it’s fairly easy to set up and go. My staff understood it quickly enough.

    Also, I have found that “The Machine is Us/ing Us” video goes over the heads of people who are not familiar with technical language. Just a thought.

    Reply
  7. Harold

    Thanks to everyone for the advice. I’m taking it all into consideration. So far, I think I’ll stick to a simpler blog interface and I’ll see if I can find a more appropriate video. Michele’s paper exercise seems perfect, but time may be a limitation. Anyway, I don’t have a confirmed date yet, so there’s still time for more research and some experimentation.

    Reply
  8. Jacques

    Si tu cherches à montrer une école qui utilise le blogue, je t’invite à aller voir le Centre d’Apprentissage du Haut-Madawaska, http://cahm.elg.ca/

    Chauqe prof et élève contribue et leurs billets (posts) dépassent les 6000 depuis 3 ans.

    Reply
  9. Jennifer Nicol

    Perhaps the workshop is also good opportunity to remind the kids of the public nature of Web 2.0, and to think twice and thrice about what they post.

    Reply

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