Crucial Thought Rss

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Chris selected as K12OnlineConference keynote speaker Each year the K12OnlineConference provides tremendous professional development for free, and entirely online. This year, they have selected me as one of their keynote speakers. I am thrilled to have been chosen and look forward to participating in the conversation. Read the full post announcing all the keynote speakers here.

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Two quick links on Cognitive Load Theory I've been fielding lots of questions lately about Cognitive Load Theory. Here are two quick links that may be useful. First is an article talking about the practical implications of CLT on the design of learning. The second are some "recent" (as of 2003) developments regarding CLT. Happy reading! Update: I clarified the second...

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Practical advice on kids and Android app development After hearing about my students' success developing an Android app, I've gotten several emails asking for more details as to how I practically worked with my kids. Here are some pointers that I offered to the first person that emailed me, perhaps they are of some use to you. Please note that your mileage may vary. It's ok to not be...

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Publishing an App Inventor app to the Android Market As I mentioned earlier, my students and I published an Android app to the Android Market. See those links for more information on the background. This post is decidedly technical. First, once we finished the coding process, we packaged the app for to download to the computer. This is an option in App Inventor. This downloaded an .apk file....

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Designing and publishing an Android app with kids This post is designed to provide some context around how/why we decided to build this app. The more technical details of the code and how we published it will come in a future post. My students and I recently completed and published an Android app, and here's how we did it. First, the genesis for this goes back to a question I asked...

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Student Blogging for PLP Year 2 Participants

Category : General

I offered to present to the PLP Year 2 participants and was accepted to present on student blogging. This is a topic that has interested me in both a tools perspective as well as a pedagogical one. I have seen student blogging done very well and I have seen it done not so well. My aim here is to identify both potential tool-based issues and considerations as well as to consider the pedagogical implications.

The first question to ask is what the purpose is when blogging. I posit that there are a variety of purposes for blogging.

1. Teacher-centered blog for communcation with students and families

2. Teacher-centered blog for communcation with other educators

3. Student-centered blog for communication with teacher and/or classmates

4. Student-centered blog for communcation with wider audience

I suppose that is not an exhaustive list but will serve us for the purposes of this discussion.

So once you decide what sort of blog you want to begin, you can begin looking at tools.  We will focus on student blogging here, as it has a different set of implications requiring a more specific tool.

Here are the specific tools that I think are suited for student blogging, with each having certain benefits and drawbacks.

1. Blogger.com

2. Class Blogmeister.

3. WordPress.com – see features here.

4. 21classes.com – see features here.

5. Edublogs.org

6. WordPress Multi-User (must be installed on a server)

7. Kidblog.org – a heavily customized WPMU install. Hands down my pick.

What do you think about these tools?

Update: Here is the archived recording of the presentation. Also be sure to see the first comment for a great comment by Cathy Nelson.

Comments (1)

Edublogs presents problems because embedded in the free version of posts are out of context links to ads, etc. They are not necessarily bad (though I wouldn’t trust were these links go) but they do present links to matieral/ads that have NOTHING to do with the topic at hand. One can become an Edublog Supporter for a small fee, and then it is fine–no links what so ever.

My concern with student blogging is that the task has been made “schooly.” Are kids doing it to be “strategically compliant” meaning they have a high attention, but low commitment (they do it for a good grade and no real other reason; or is the classes’ participation “ritualistically compliant.” meaning they have low attention and low commitment, and do it because that is simply the assignment, and they are jumping through a hoop–playing a game called school. I suppose if students were allowed to blog on their interest areas, and were able to cultivate a network of like minded readers, then it could be considered a success. But with our heavy emphasis on scores, performance, and standardized tests, I can see teachers using it as an avenue to address those standards that must be taught, thus removing the students’ freedom to explore their interests in favor of using blogs as a means to an end–>addressing tested standards.

I have not seen that many student/classrom blogs that I thought were really all that good. Of course the recent “Alice Project” just goes to show it can be successful. Of course Christian solicited his network to join in the project, making it a global project that was far more than just students blogging too. Perhaps the key is to find an audience for the students’ blogs so that when commenting ensues, the desire to continue based on this intrinsic and motivating feature will continue.

For the reasons above, I have never tried to implement a class of student bloggers, although in my defense, I am not in a classroom, but rather in the school library. I would gladly introduce the idea to teachers and even assist with implementing such a project. I am anxious to see what kind of feedback you get on this. Best of luck. Kudos for getting to present to the PLP. (sorry didnt mean to get so wordy)