After watching a teacher on DVD incorporate blogs into her 6th grade English and writing lessons, I must admit that I feel more at ease about exposing my elementary students to blogging. I now feel more secure about how safe blogging can be for students and that their identities don't have to be compromised while blogging on the internet. As I reflect on how I will use blogging with my 2nd grade students, I believe the easiest way to start off with blogging for children at their age would be to have them display their classwork or projects electronically on the computer.
For example, I would use blogging to enhance a previous social studies project in which students were asked to draw their ultimate playgrounds that included a map key, a compass rose and a brief paragraph explaining all of the items on their playground. This assignment was a take home project that included a clear rubric for students and parents to use as a guide for their projects. At the end of the assignment, students were given an opportunity to share their projects with their classmates. As an extension to this social studies project, I would have the students present an electronic copy of their playground on our class weblog site. By doing so, students would be able to either create their ultimate playground through clip art or saved images on the computer, or they would scan their drawings onto the computer. Then, students would type a brief paragraph explaining in further detail the purpose of the items in their ultimate playground that was presented in their map key.
Showcasing students' work on the internet provides students with an opportunity to connect their learning to technology and society today. For instance, I remember as a kid asking my teachers how certain assignments or concepts related to the "real world" and receiving very unclear responses. Now, students can clearly see how their assignments relate to the "real world" and they are now able to quickly connect their classroom learning experiences to their everyday interactions with technology and society. Blogging in the classroom also provides each child with the opportuntity to showcase their work not only to their classmates, but to their friends and family members outside of the classroom. No longer do parents, friends and families have to wait until work samples come back home or when they are displayed on the walls at school. With the use of the internet, classmates can now display their work to as many people as they choose and at their convenience. By showcasing our work through blogging, our classroom can now become a classroom without walls.
Martin (Presenter). (2008) "Spotlight on Technology: Blogging in the Classroom". [DVD]. Laureate Education, Inc.