EDTEC 700: Blogging in the Classroom

Saturday, March 26, 2005

hartman's enormous idea

I hope this is the right way to post my idea for a classroom lesson...I guess I'll know shortly. I have only read a few pages of one of the articles so far, so maybe upon further reading I'll get some clarification and guidance about exactly how to structure my proposed project effectively for sixth grade middle school students. (I figure the six hour flight back to the mainland from Maui will provide the perfect opportunity to do so). In any case, the real struggle I went through in trying to figure out how to incorporate blogs into a project was actually finding a way to include them that would truly take advantage of their unique properties (globally accessible, instantaneously available). I came up with numerous projects that incorporated the use of blogs, but in nearly every case there did not seem to be any real reason to use a blog instead of any other medium, including old fashioned pencil and paper. Finally, after much revising, the idea of using a blog to track student progress on an experiment arose. When I added to this concept the component of recreating an existing scientific experiment (one of my first ideas as a middle school science teacher) there seemed to be some justification for using blogs rather than pencil and paper. So my idea is this:

Each student will sign up for their own blog on Blogger.com. They will be responsible for posting an entry of at least three sentences every day to their blog describing their progression throughout the project (including the proposal process).

Each student will submit a proposal for approval that outlines:
1. What scientific field their experiment is based in.
2. What their experiment will attempt to prove or disprove.
3. Who originally performed their experiment.
4. What the original outcome of the experiment was.
5. How they will reproduce the experiment.
6. How they will convey their final findings.
7. How long their experiment will take.
8. What supplies they will require for the experiment.

Upon proposal approval, each student will be allowed to undertake their experiment process. Because different experiments will require different lengths of time to complete, the deadline for each student will be determined by the student themselves (and graded according to how well they have allocated and managed their work time).

Upon experiment conclusion, the students will be expected to create a final write-up and reflection that details their findings and hypothesizes on errors, improvements, and areas for possible expansion for the experiment in the future.

The unique properties of blogs is thus taken advantage of by allowing the outside world to see exactly what steps each student has taken in their experiment recreation (not to mention the students themselves having access to this information) which enables the audience to then judge the validity of the recreation almost immediately after each step has been taken (rather than after the entire experiment has been concluded). Hopefully some interaction with the original experimenter could take place at some point in the project so that their input could be included in the final product, although that will depend greatly on the actual experiment each student decides to recreate. -joe

Integrating Blogging into my Honors Multimedia Production Course

When I first began to contemplate how I might integrate blogging into the courses that I teach, I was thinking about small, individual assignments that might lend themselves to using a blog. However, after reading the articles, I now think that it may be more useful to incorporate blogging as a central and ongoing part of my "Honors Multimedia Production" course. While much of my course content involves working with software and issues related to design and technology, there are a number of ways I've been trying to extend the course into new directions. First, many of my students haven't been exposed to cutting-edge interactive multimedia content in the same way that they've been exposed to film and other media. I think it's important for them to survey and explore contemporary interactive design and the studios and artists who are making it. Secondly, I want students to examine some of the critical issues and theory related to new media and contemplate the ways in which new media is a unique art/communication medium. I think blogging may be an ideal way to get students thinking about and exploring these things.

Rather than doing a series of individual blogs, my plan is for all of my students to participate in one central, collaborative course blog. I already maintain a website (http://karlcleveland.com/157) that is the "bible" for my course, and I think that I can integrate the course blog as part of that site, so that all the resources and material for the course will be in once place. But, with the blog, students will be able to help shape the content and resources available and contribute to the "collective intelligence" of the course.

My plan is to require students to post at least one thoughtful entry and one comment per week to the blog. Each entry will also need to include a link to an external resource or example. Each week, I will provide a few resources and links and a specific task to research and explore online. Alternatively, I can develop all the tasks and related links in the beginning and students can pick and choose which to write about (provided they cover all the tasks by the end). Each task will relate to interactive media arts and focus on the following five exploration themes:

Exploration of Studios/Artists -- Find cutting-edge multimedia design studios and/or artists who develop interactive multimedia artworks/projects for the Web, CD-ROM, or installation and comment on their work, design philosophy, and techniques.

Exploration of Design Principles -- Find examples of effective and compelling interactive multimedia design and dissect the design elements, uncover the design principles and techniques that are at work, and how these principles are applied and/or operate within the examples/

Exploration of Technology -- Comment on a recent or expected future technology that will affect the creation, production, distribution, and/or experience of multimedia products

Exploration of Process and Practice -- Find and research interactive multimedia design studios/firms that provide information on their creative/developmental process. Review and compare the process of two or three such firms.

Exploration of Critical/Theoretical Issues -- Examine critical theory related to new media/multimedia with emphasis on providing a definition and/or historical context for new media as a unique art/communication medium. Consider what is unique about how new media objects/experiences create the illusion of reality, address and involve the viewer, and represent space and time. Identify concepts or characteristics that are unique or intrinsic to new media (i.e., interactivity, participation, integration, narrativity, hypermedia, nonlinearity, immersion, collaboration, personalization, database use, real time processing, forms of distribution, etc.) and find example projects that utilize these characteristics.

Friday, March 25, 2005

Public Health Preparedness Blog

Title: Education and Training Resource Blog for Public Health Preparedness
Author: Melissa Dredge, County of San Diego, Public Health Services

Summary: This blog will function primarily as a centralized mechanism to share important resources and information for staff involved in the education and training focus area of the CDC’s Local Public Health Preparedness grants. Each day we receive several e-mail notifications about trainings, satellite broadcasts, webcasts, websites, reports, on-line classes, and other materials that are available from the CDC, academic institutions, state administrators and other counties across the nation. There are so many organizations working on the same goal to prepare public health staff and community health care workers to respond to infectious disease outbreaks or other emergencies. It is very hard to keep track of all the opportunities while we are working hard to roll out four new training modules by the end of August. However, when it comes time to develop new projects for the next year, we need to know what has already been developed so we don’t duplicate efforts!

Context: I will share authorship of this blog with the Focus Area Lead, who has already expressed great interest in the project and provided her resources. There are six nurses also in this group who will most likely use the resources and probably, over time, begin adding their own entries. I actually did not find any blogs on this topic that are currently maintained.

Duration: Ongoing.

Goals: I hope that this will help us to manage critical information more effectively and be able to share with staff immediately.

Participants: My hope is that this can evolve into a valuable resource for the other counties in our disaster region, and maybe throughout the state.

Process: We will need to introduce both blogs (concept and instructions) and the purpose of the blog. We will introduce the blog in a staff meeting and provide a demonstration. I will also show staff how to use bloglines.

Resources: I have a large spreadsheet with resources ready to use.

Policies: Since much of our work deals with confidential information, we will need to provide guidelines on what is acceptable to post and discuss in this public forum.

Products: Comprehensive library of resources, opportunity for collaboration and increased learning of the target subject.

Evaluation: I need to find out if you can count hits on blogs.

I believe that this blog will actually come to life. My wiki project proposal focused on administrative content, which is too sensitive to have in an unsecure environment. Since this blog project will focus on resources and publicly available information, I think it will be accepted.

Lesson - Life without Technology

I would like the students in my class to consider life without technology. I have started putting a lesson together. It would look something like this:

What if there the current technology that we are so accustomed to and dependent on was not a part of our daily life? This is a chance for you to consider life without the technology you use daily. How would your daily life be different?

You are a student in 1900. You will create a blog with daily entries detailing your daily activities for a period of one week. How do you get to school? How do you contact your friends and family? How do you get your homework completed? How would you find out about news and events?

1. First, you must sign up to create a blog. Go to the following website and create a username and password:
a. http://www.blogger.com/start
b. NOTE: DO NOT use your real identity. Create a username and password that does not reveal your real identity, and give the web address for your blog to me. This blog may be read by the entire class as well as parents and other students.
2. Use the following websites as sources for information about the 1900’s:
a. http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/amex/1900/
b. http://www.time.com/time/time100/timewarp/timewarp_us.html
c. http://pbskids.org/wayback/tech1900/
d. http://inventors.about.com/library/weekly/aa121599a.htm
e. http://www.archer2000.net/1900.html

Each blog entry will be read by your teacher. Each entry must include detail and should be at least two paragraphs in length.

An Advisory Blog

In addition to my teaching duties at my school, I am an "Advisor". An Advisor at my school is more than a "homeroom teacher". We meet with our small sub unit (11 students) at the beginning of everyday and once a week for about twenty-five minutes. During that twenty five minute session, the advisor plans activities that help the students explore and learn about themselves as they fit into the school's community and the world around them. One of the reasons for the system is so that students and teachers can talk about non academic issues that are important (to the school, the administration, the faculty, the world, or the students) at that point in time. Students also have the same advisor for four years (9th grade through 12th grade). Therefore, this blog could be a diary that helps them reflect upon their journey through high school. I would like to record their perceptions, impressions, reflections, opinions, ideas, and thoughts so that they can see it later when they are seniors. I also frequently do not have the answers to their non academic questions, and I believe that they can learn from each other's postings in a non threatening way.

I am thinking about using the "Outward Bound" approach: "What? -> So What? -> Now What?" or the YMCA approach "Experience -> Reflection -> Learning". I would like to use real events as they occur in the community of our school and perhaps world events later. I would like to start with simple matters at our school such as . . .

-name calling
-diversity issues
-self image
-drugs and alcohol issues
-cheating on tests

I would like to test this project with my advisees. If successful, I will share with other advisors at our school. Almost every teacher is an advisor, and every student has an advisor.

What do you think?

Thursday, March 24, 2005

Online Classroom

Although this is a fairly straight-forward approach to blogging, I would like to make my class project a Teacher Blog.

I've often wished for an easy way to post classroom activities to the internet and Teacher Blogs really seem to fit the bill.

Although I am the webmaster for my school, it takes a lot of planning and a circuitous FTP route for me to post new information to our site. Many of the staff at my school have asked about how they may post information for their school activities quickly and independently. Now, with minimal training, I will be able to assist staff members with creating their own online classrooms.

Future ideas include:

  • Classroom Blog for student observations and contributions
  • School Blog for parent and student communication
  • Staff Blog for staff communication
  • Club Blogs for school club activities
  • Department Blogs for departmental collaboration

The first seed, a simple teacher blog, and Ms. Kline Online is now live, and ready for her even more lively students to visit.

Saturday, March 19, 2005

Classroom Blog Project

As a high school biology teacher, i would like to do a "hot spot" type fictitious blog site for students. Students will keep a blog or "live diary" in terms of their recations to the events on during their evolutionary trip. Set 200 years ago off the coast of South America.

This two week blog project will involve the following:
Topic: Evolution
Key Aspects: California Content Standards.

note: this blog activity will be closely aligned with the content standards to allow for acceptable use in my classroom.

Each ship will have 6 crew members each, who are sailing around the Galapagos Islands. Also, i as teacher will post a daily "Ship's Log or Activity Report" which will lead the students into activities to create meaning and perspectives based an the content standards.

Crew Members will have a specific role.
1. Dr. Research - Evolutionary Scientist
2. Deckhand / Second mate - The protege - Scientist Assistant
3. Captain - (the antagonist)
4. First Mate - Intelligent Design Theorist (also antagonist)
5. Engineer - Scientific Method Controller
6. Navigator - Data Recorder

The activity will last for 2 weeks, (3 class meetings per week)

i have 120 biology students therefore I will set up 20 ships with 6 crew members each. Also, i'll vary the ships log for each ship therefore each "ships" experience will be slightly different yet by the end have similar outcomes.