Laura G

Blogging for ICT

Blogging in the Primary Classroom – Initial reactions and possible relevance

Blogging gives children a realm to publish what they write, something that is stressed as important for writing in the Curriculum, giving the child’s writing a purpose rather than something that will be written into a copy and never seen again. It allows writing to become something to be proud of, to be able to show it off to family members that something they wrote is actually on the internet. Also if being published publicly, gives the children a reason to do the best they possibly can.

As mentioned by the NCTE, it also acts as an interactive “reflection tool”, as they can then comment on other blogs. This interactive element can allow children to peer review and learn from each other’s work very easily. Critical and analytic thinking are very much promoted through reading work that they are interested in reading, rather than irrelevant pieces of text from a teacher’s book.

It also offers a safe environment for them to follow controlled links to different websites to allow for the children to find additional information on various topics. It expands the walls of the classroom infinitely. It is also a good introduction into navigating properly thought the internet. The accessibility of a blog allows children to also learn so much from each other’s comments, so that they can become each other’s resources and sources of information. It also allows them to practice IT skills, such as navigating through the internet, attaching files or embedding pictures or videos, something that previously may only have been learned in adulthood.

It is also a good method of interacting between school and home. As outlined in the NCTE, a blog serves as a class notice board, an archive of links and documents or as a collaboration or discussion tool. No longer is “I lost the page”, or “I didn’t know that was due today” an excuse, because it can all be in the blog as a back up. It seems to be the 21st Century equivalent of a diary or notes to communicate with home. Parents can be right up to date about what is going on in school, especially when it can be set up that the parents can receive a notification directly when something is posted. This notification service also helps the parents to keep track of their children’s work as well as what is going on in the school, and possibly relieve any concerns about having their child posting material on the internet.

Blogs just have to be controlled so that it doesn’t turn into a social tool instead of an educational tool. Comments must be supervised and approved by the administrator. An edu blog should not become a journal, it should just be a way of sharing ideas.

Blogs serve as a filing cabinet: nothing ever gets lost once it is set up properly. Ideally, in the future, it may come a time when one can have an edu blog from the day the start school to the day the start college, and be able to look back at how far they have come. Even as it stands, a teacher may be able to give a child a boost of confidence by showing them something they did in junior infants in comparison to their work in senior infants. Blogging just makes it easier than keeping each piece of paper written on. This is helpful in the case of where classrooms are small and class sizes are very large.

Blogging also gives shier students a platform to express themselves that they never had before. People can take on different persona’s once they get a chance to write, and blogging allows a method to publicly allow this to happen.

Blog sites are more than just a space to blog though. For example, in a lot of cases blogs are replacing school websites as they are more likely to updated regularly. They are also a novel way to submit homework, and if something is novel it is more like to be of interest to the children and therefore be done without boredom setting in.

Edu blogs are also a good way for schools to connect, both for students and teachers. Students can engage in joint projects, while teachers can interact and share ideas for the primary classroom.

Sources: NCTE Guidelines on Blogging,
Richardson, 2001. Blogs, Wikis and Podcasts and other powerful web tools for the
classroom

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My Bloggy Wog

Welcome to my weird and wonderful world of ICT for the classroom, where knowing my luck the minute, the supervisor walks in to see all my lovely Scratch lessons, the electricity will go off.

Nevertheless, so far in the course of this module, I have picked up really handy ICT skills that will really stand to me in the classroom to make learning more interesting for the generation of children who will probably assume they were downloaded rather than actually born.

For example, we have had a great introduction into the realm of Scratch, where with a bit of practice, I am hoping to make games to rival my childhood favourites of fadó fadó.

Also, I have been introduced to this “WordPress” business, and I am looking forward to one day being able to bring it up in an interview to tell the Principal “Yes, I can make you a really cool website for your school in return for you giving me a job”.

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