To Blog or Not to Blog
Type of technology: iPads or Laptops
SAMR Model Rating: Modification
Grade level: k-12
Subject area: Writing (All Subjects)
Cost: Free (Upgrade to a Teacher Premium account for $29 per year)
To blog, or not to blog- that is the question. Is it nobler to stick to the traditional methods of teaching writing because that’s how it’s always been done? Or is it better to dust off our iPads and laptops, buckle our seat belts and blast off into the blogosphere? A place where students have a voice, are given a global and authentic audience and an avenue to foster collaboration. It is a place that teaches students how to be digital citizens while showcasing their accomplishments. I think that if Shakespeare were alive today, he would end his soliloquy like this: Thou Shalt Blog!!!
Fortunately, Kidblog makes starting a classroom blog easier than ever!
Kidblog should not be thought of as just another extra thing to do. Think of this web-based program as the vehicle you use to change the way you teach writing instruction. The Kidblog platform allows teachers to guide students through all the steps of the writing process. Since the work that the students produce can be published for peers to see, it allows opportunities for both the teacher and other students to provide feedback to the writer and gives students an authentic audience for their digital creations.
Kidblog can be used in any subject area. When ever you would want students to respond in writing, instead of picking up the lined paper and pencil, allow them to submit their work on their blog.
Do they Need to be able to type?
No, students do not need to be able to type to use this program!!! If the mere thought of having kids type scares you, then you’ll want to use the iPad. The iPad has a speech to text function that is really easy to use. Just remember to tell the students to say period, question mark etc, after each of their sentences they want displayed on their page.
The alternative option is to have the students type their information directly onto their blog page. I would think of this as important practice for the Smarter Balanced testing they will be taking at the end of the year.
Is Kidblog safe?
Kidblog is very safe to use. The teacher has complete control over what the students are able to post. The teacher can choose to approve all posts and comments before they are published onto the classroom blog page. The teacher also has the option to follow the blogs of other teachers or make the posts viewable to parents and the world at large.
Practical Use in the Classroom
Teachers who have been blogging for years use blogs in a variety of ways. These teachers have students engage in creative writing, participate in book club discussions and demonstrate math problem solving skills. In addition, the blog can be used as a substitution for the students science notebooks, they can create global pen pals and digital portfolios to display the growth they have achieved throughout the year.
Ideas for Classroom Use Depending on the Number of Devices in Your Classroom
Small set of computers/ipads
Kidblog can be used in a small group station. Students can respond to a prompt and then comment on another student’s written work. They can transfer a previously written draft, to their blog as an enrichment activity. Students can also respond to a post that the teacher submits on the classroom blog page.
One-to One Devices (once or twice a week)
If you only have devices once a week, try integrating the use of the blog into classroom lessons you are already teaching.
Science: instead of responding in thier journals for that day, allow them to post on their blog and then read and comment on what others wrote.
Math: Have students upload a picture of their work and then have them explain their thinking on their blog page.
Writing: Allow students to publish their finished written work on their blog. This is how we have used the application in our class so far. The students conducted research online, and then wrote a paragraph about the animal they found information about as a final project for our Animal Classification Unit.
One to One Devices -(everyday)
The sky is the limit! Any responses, in any subjects, that you desire to be written down from the students, can be published on Kidblog. The teacher can also use the blog as the medium to teach the students the entire writing process. Are you curious what a lesson would look like? Click the link below to find out!
Access and Cost
Kidblog can be accessed via the web on an iPad or laptop computer. The initial setup is free, but for a slight upgrade to a Teacher Premium account, students can customize images, colors, fonts and graphics on their individual pages. There is also an option that allows them to embed Google applications such as Google Docs, Presentations and Videos.
When you go to the Kidblog website, you can click the tab for “Create a Class” and follow the steps to creating your own classroom. When you create a class, each student will have their own blog page generated under your classroom page. Tip: I used the students’ first names for their user ID and their student lunch numbers for their passwords. Take a look a the video below to become familiar with the interface of the website.
The setup really is just that simple! I hope to see your class in the blogosphere soon!