Since my students are always so eager to write, and equally eager to use technology, we will combine the two. Our new Kidblog feature, The Bloggatteer Experience, will allow us to respond to a variety of lessons, as well as critique books and write original essays and stories.
Kidblog is a safe blogging platform that will be available for us to use in the classroom as well as from home. Students now have their access information, and we have begun to explore the wide variety of possibilities for this educational technology.
From the Kidblog homepage:
Kidblog provides teachers with the tools to help students publish writing safely online. Students exercise digital citizenship within a secure classroom blogging space. Teachers can monitor all activity within their blogging community.
Our new publishing interface is designed with the pedagogy of writing at the forefront, allowing students to manage the flow from Draft (getting started), to Review (revising & editing), to Published (ready for others to read).
As an educator, I recognize the importance of safety, image, and citizenship.
It also means I have to teach my fourth graders to watch the image they portray. We've seen many politicians brought down because of evidence that has been dug up from their pasts - even before the World Wide Web. We're even noticing people who are losing their jobs (or not being offered jobs) after employers are alerted to something the employee has written on his/her social media site. While we have a freedom of speech in the United States, the definition of that right may be narrowing in some ways.
Finally, I understand that technology is one more way that I can reinforce what I have already focused on so much in the past three years. While I expect students to greet one another and others (teachers and visitors) with respect (eye contact, firm handshakes, active listening, and audibly participating in the art of conversation), those skills will not naturally transfer into our cyber-presence. I will need to develop methods to make sure students are able to offer positive, constructive feedback to each other, that they are able to communicate responses in understandable manners, and that they put pride into every post and comment they make. While there is a place for silliness and joking, I will want students to constantly evaluate their words to make sure they meet the standards of our classroom and the world around them - not to mention personal standards, and family beliefs and values.
Mistakes will inevitably happen, but this new, ever-changing world upon which we are embarking will require us to continually adapt and learn from those mistakes.