SOE Technology Showcase

Marcia Thompson - Blogging

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

I actually became interested in blogging as a communication tool when my daughters did study abroad programs in 2004 (London) and 2007 (Malta) respectively. They each maintained blogs about their adventures. I was hooked and looked for a way to work blogging into my classes. The first opportunity came when I co-taught a British Children’s Literature and Photography Summer Study program in 2008. Following in the tradition of my daughters’ travel blogs, Notes from Northumberland was created as a way to publicly journal the events and photographs of the program in action. While I gave authoring access to all students, I found that with the limited technology in medieval Alnwick Castle, the students were very content to let me be the primary author of posts and publisher of photos.  I did a second travel blog this past summer when I again co taught the British Children’s Literature and Photography program.  That blog is called Reflections from the Hidden Kingdom . This time, I found that a few students wanted to do posts and photos to supplement those that I prepared.  In both instances these blogs were very popular with family and friends of the students. 

In a more instructional sense, I have been using blogs for the past several semesters with my Block 1- IM 421 students.  Before they leave for their five-week field experience, I set up a blog for each of my classes.  I then invite them to become authors of the blog, using display names, which they make known to me only.  I then ask them to post four times during the field experience, ideally once weekly after the first week.  In addition, they are asked to comment four times to the posts that others make.  Firm confidentiality ground rules are established when the assignment is given:  absolutely no use of district, school, student, faculty or staff names in the posts or comments.

The benefits of the IM 421 blog is a sharing of experiences and ideas that seems to be a benefit to all.  Ideas for activities and read alouds are suggested, as well as ways to deal with difficult student behavior.  Advice is routinely asked for in posts and willing given in comments.  Blogging is a way for the students to maintain a connection with one another, strengthening their common field of experience while in the schools.

Marcia Thompson