Saturday, 21 January 2012

Third time lucky

I have decided to try a class blog this year - again.
I have tried this before using different platforms but had little success.
The first time was in 2007 when I was teaching Year 1. It started off with good intentions but I ran into a few hiccups and it fell by the wayside. Looking back, one of my issues was a concern about student privacy which meant that I put so many restrictions on the posts and comments that it became hard work and not engaging for the students. We also had technical issues. We use Macs at school (and I do at home now) and at the time the kids could not post comments from a Mac for some reason. I had parents who would come in to assist me with helping the children to post and comment but most of the time we couldn't get the computers to even log on to the blog to read it. Very frustrating. This was coupled with a lack of access to digital cameras and no way of uploading the pictures simply. So it died a death. A good experiment, but it failed.
The second time I tried a blog was 2010. I used a blog site that was super protected - to the point that the blog had no audience. With no audience, it had no purpose. It fizzled quickly.
So now I am trying again. Third time lucky.
I think the real reason that my first two class blogs failed is becoming clearer. I can try to pass the blame on to lack of technology or restrictive use policies, but the real reason these blogs failed is because I didn't really understand why I wanted my students to blog.
I had heard of blogs and I knew other people were doing it but I didn't really get it.
I have spent some time reading about class blogs lately and I am certainly inspired.
I am part way through a series on Learning About Blogs FOR Your Students.
This lead me to discover this wonderful class blog by Linda Yollis. Linda Yollis also has a fantastic site which explains the whys and hows of class blogging. It is very inspiring.

So now with only a few days till school commences for the year, I feel excited about the journey that I am about to begin with my new class. It will be so much fun learning together!


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  2. Whoops, deleted my last comment!

    Good luck with your class blog! I'm trying to start my class page on the Ultranet - and if you're in Victoria you'll know what an amazing resource that is to use lol :) I just found your blog while doing a little stalking - loving it and am your newest follower. Where are you that you're starting the National Curriculum this year? We're not, I couldn't imagine trying to get my head around that as well as Learning Intentions and Success Criteria!

    I've just started my own blog (part of a New Years Resolution ha ha) I'd love it if you could come past!


  3. Hi Lauren,
    I'm glad to hear from another Aussie Blogger! There are a few of us out there but certainly we have a lot to learn about sharing and collaboration from our American friends.
    Check out "DownUnder Teacher" too.
    We are taking on the four learning areas that are written so far, starting Tuesday. English, Maths, History, Science. I'm excited about it but also concerned for my slowbies because they are going to have to pick up the pace a bit..
    My teaching team on Year 2 and I are also going to dabble with the Geography draft. If we drop SOSE and replace it with History we are not getting the whole picture. We will continue to also use the old Outcomes syllabus to guide us in this way as well.
    I'm in Queensland so we are not using Learning Intentions and Success Criteria. I will google them shortly. Are they a good innovation?
    Education Queensland has (apparently) written a whole heap of planning documents write down to the micro-level - what to ask the kids and what they might respond... but I am teaching in a Catholic School so we don't have access to this.
    Is the Victorian system being more sharing?
    I thought that the point of a "national curriculum" was that every child would have access to the same (or as similar as it might be) educational opportunities.
    If the governments are spending a lot of money supporting some teachers and not others is this fair on our children? Parents of children in non-state schools pay taxes too. Why should they be disadvantaged?
    I will certainly pop on over to your blog now.