Blogging in the classroom

Today I’m taking a workshop on ways to use your classroom blog – beyond the setup. Here are some of my favourite classroom blogs for us to dive into and pull apart (in the nicest possible way). We’ll use the brainstorming tool at the bottom of this post to ‘pool’ our ideas.


How to Reflect..better

My class is working on how we can reflect on our learning. We’ve often talked why it’s a good thing to stop and reflect before after and especially during a process. Now I think it’s time for us all to explore ‘how’ we can do it.

This prezi, by Peter Pappas, shows how we can deppend our reflection by using blooms to really examine what’s happening / happened. It’s well worth the time to flick through all the thoughts and media that’s involved – I love a good prezi!
One breakthrough moment I’ve had from viewing the prezi is that I could post some reflective questions for students to answer – based on some aspects of blooms. I could, for example, ask three questions. One question on understanding, one on analysing and the final one on evaluating. Scaffolding IS important for every learner, especially when we are learning to do something for the first time.

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I’ve also created a poster on an easy to remember slogan to help students write or narrate a reflection. We’ll be brainstorming all the different ways we can reflect on our blogs – writing posts, taking photos or even using voicethread and photobooth to record video or our voice.

A Facebook Classroom Culture

5 Years ago I attended a breakout at the Ulearn conference on school organisational systems (I forget the speaker). Since then I’ve noticed how we can run our school’s with the same apparent structure but, when you examine exactly how the leadership ‘works’ you will find something quite different – especially after working in three different schools now.

This infographic, from Bonkers World, got me thinking. It shows how major corporations structure their companies in quite different ways. It’s interesting that they all share relative success, too. Even though some have a top down scenario and others are more centric and collaborative.

2 questions come to mind. Which one would we would like to work within? Which model would empower and inspire it’s members? Which model would retain staff? Which structure achieves the best from it’s employees?

It also made me wonder how my class is structured? And does the leadership model change during the day / week?
There is a need, I think, for the class to be run like Microsoft at times – very much with me at the top directing, although without the ‘guns’ I hope. Teacher’s do need to teach and explicitly pass skills, information and their content knowledge through to the students. But, something I am trying to instill within the culture of our class is a model similar to Facebook, or Apple. It’s one where the students are driven and inspired by a central motivating force that’s outside of the teacher. They are more likely to seek help and assistance from each other rather than the teacher.
This is the philosophy of empowerment that I think is the central goal of personalised learning – student’s making decisions, helping other students and working together is the aspiration I have for our class. And it’s the culture of the class that we’re creating.

A Connected World that’s already here.

I had another glimpse into the power of Twitter tonight – as if I needed another one. I’ve recently started following people outside of the ‘educational’ realm. @lancearmstrong, @coryjane1080 and @trevormallard are just a few and they can be pretty entertaining. It opens a world that you wouldn’t otherwise have any connection with.
So tonight I saw a tweet from @trevormallard about the Labour Party leader, Phil Goff holding #goffchat at 6.30pm. He was keen to answer questions that people tweeted. So, being the risk taker that I am, I offered a question / suggestion that I’ve been wondering for a while. And you can see the result below (overlook the spelling error ‘of’, please).

Was it a life changing interchange? No. Would that little interaction have happened at the last election? No, again. But the world is changing! It’s changing into one where a guy can ask a simple question to a political leader in a blink of an eye, just after he gets home after a run and before he eats his tea.
Is today’s world a clutter of information and a minefield of privacy issues? Yes. But it’s a connected world I’m also really enjoying. And one we should be preparing our students for – cause they’re already there.