From now until the end of the year, our class will be taking part in a pilot experience designed to introduce them to weblogs. A weblog, or blog as they are commonly called, is a special type of web page that can be created and easily updated using a web browser. Each new entry has its own date stamp. Each entry has a comments section where visitors to the blog may leave comments to the author.
The idea is to allow the students an opportunity to utilize this technology to read, write and respond to questions, comments or links, while at the same time sharing their thoughts with a real audience, you!
HOW IT WORKS
A few times a week, Mrs. C. or I may post a comment, problem or a link to a website, and invite the students to share their responses via email from home (see the previous post, Leverage, on this page, as an example). Alternatively, we may give kids time in the computer lab to word process a piece of their own writing which can then be uploaded onto the blog. These assignments will not be assessed, rather they are meant to familiarize students with a form of communication which has already transformed many fields within our society (journalism, politics, business), and will soon transform education as well.
Having a real audience is the key component to this experience. In addition to receiving comments from Mrs. C. and myself, we are trying to arrange for other fourth or fifth grade classes who visit our blog to post comments as well. Parents, grandparents, other family, and friends are also invited to visit the blog and respond. Potentially, anyone on the internet could respond to our blog, however, it is not likely that the world at large will stumble across it. Additionally, as the blog administrator, Mr. C. must approve any comments left on the blog before being published on the site.
This blogging experience is designed to minimize risk to your child. The only personally identifying information included in the blog will be their first name. The will be no mention of our school name or our location. Students will not be allowed to post their age, email address, photographs of themselves, or other sensitive information. More directions for working from home will be provided.
Mr. C. and Mrs. C.
Blogs created by fifth grade students in the USA
BBC News article about blogging in a school in the UK