Thanks once again to Linda Yollis for her magnificent work on class blogging – thanks to these delightful students, for the effective and practical tips about the importance of leaving authentic comments.
I have just left a post on my techno6 blog about our upcoming 3 day trip to Melbourne. It made me realise how blogging has changed the way I view things and the world around us and how I hope it is beginning to change the way my students view the world as well. Instead of having spent many wasted hours of time and wasted paper creating a “Camp Book” to take with us, I have posted simple instructions on what I want to encourage the students to “do” whilst we are in Melbourne. As if simply enjoying our visit to Victoria’s beautiful capital city isn’t enough! I wrote:
“Our visit will have a bit of a different focus now that we have entered the world of blogging. I imagine that most of you will be bringing a camera and that most of you will be looking for opportunities about which you will be able to “blog” on our return. We need to have a sensory focus on our trip. What do we see, hear, smell, taste and feel? We need to notice things and people and we need to enjoy every second of our trip! Our homework this week, will be to obseve, record your thoughts and to take photos. I know we will have a ball.”
I know that on our return, we will get some beautifully observant writing from our trip away and that the students will have broadened their outlook on life through simply approaching our trip with our senses sharpened. I know that they will be looking for some great photos, so that we can complete our “Photo a Week” project. I also know that they will be looking at things in terms of “good blogging opportunities” as well, so that when we return, they can use some of the web 2.0 tools to recreate or retell their trip. I also know that there is a rainforest somewhere breathing a huge sigh of relief, when it processes the fact that there will be NO useless camp booklet created, to be left wrinkled and soggy in the bottom of a suitcase in Melbourne.
A rather pleasant and unexpected outcome of the classroom and individual blogging has been the things I have learnt about our students. I check the individual blogs of my students most weekends and I have had the most extraordinary insights into who they really are. The powerful thing about this is that the incidental, personal things I have discovered, are the things that make the students who they are. They are the previously unknown things that they bring to school with them each day, and influence whether they are going to be happy and settled, or upset and distracted.
For instance, I have learnt that:
• one student goes rodeo riding when he goes to stay with his dad
• another student travels to Queensland every now and then, to see her dad
• despite being “all grown up” on the outside, most of the kids adore their pets and have an amazing soft spot for them
• most of the children “blog” with a very mature sense of responsibility and an enormous sense of pride
• several of them are involved in sports outside the usual high profile footy and netball
• one student loves blogging because she enjoys sharing what she has been through
• one student shot a wild boar last weekend, which was chasing his uncle in Pooncarie
• another can now “jump” his motorbike without falling off
• another student is sad about his cat Shadow dying and wrote a beautiful poem dedicated to him on his blog
I love reading the student’s blogs and most of all, they love when somebody leaves a comment. Blogging is the most exciting and authentic tool I have used in my entire teaching career (almost 28 years). I appreciate the privelage of getting to know my students more and I know that they enjoy sharing parts of my journey as well.
My Cyberspace journey continues…..
Just sat down on Friday night, computer, glass of wine
Thought that I had better tweak these wizz bang, blogs of mine,
Incurred a snag so jumped on skype, to try and sort it out
I skyped a geeky friend of mine, who has some IT clout.
Before I knew it, conversation jumped from two to three
Then quietly it evolved to four – a skyping victory.
Problem solved , a master stroke of peer collaboration
4 excited bloggers sharing our exhilaration.
Worked out blogrolls, widgets and some troubling nuisance links
Ironed out several irksome and some quite perplexing kinks.
Worked out passwords; clustrmaps; embedding; using code
Looked at vokis, voicethread, tried to get in twitter mode.
Signed off feeling clever, felt inclined to brag and gloat
Until I checked my email and my a lump formed in my throat
Web 3.0 – you’re kidding! My thoughts are spinning round!
I think I’ll go to bed now; my head’s inclined to pound.
Marg Murnane May 17th 2008
Ok, this is quite exciting. I am getting it! Thanks to Anne, Jess and Britt- my journey is really underway. Tomorrow I am learning more about slideshare and voice thread and then look out! Stay tuned or check out my other blog – www.techno6.globalstudent.org.au I’m all “Twitterpated” about it all.
Hey Jess and Anne, I hear you talking about other bloggers following you around. Does that equate to stalking? Is that an arrestable offence? Just another blogging term which is becoming familiar.
Just when I think I have a handle on things, I overhear our technoheads (Anne and Jess) discussing things like squidoo, flickr, voicethread, avatars, ning and the very latest, live blogging. My comment is that just when I think I am getting a grip, I hear conversations between these two, and I feel the whole thing slipping away from me. Anyway, they are very patient girls and I am happy to report, that they neither make me feel silly nor allow me to be left behind.
As well as this blog, we also have a class blog. Both are works in progress, as is their teacher in terms of her blogging skills. Anyway, I am trying out Voicethread tomorrow with my year 7s and their Ancient Egypt projects, so wish me well and stay tuned.