Louise’s Blog

My investigation into possible tools

So it turns out I don’t have a foot in the native world, but only a toe. I am deservedly humbled! I have enough of a clue of the technology I am using, but there is more of the muchness I was not even aware of.

BLOGGER vs WORDPRESS:

In the spirit of information sharing, WordPress would probably serve me, as educator, better. Should I, as teacher, therefore make my blog public, I will probably change to WordPress. However, for the purpose of sharing information with only my students, Blogger seems a fine choice for now.  Make a website hub – WordPress vs. Blogger was quite useful.

                   BLOGGER

                  WORDPRESS

Easy operating More complicated
Basic, easy set-up More complicated, time-consuming set-up
Free Cost involved
Google owns it.   wordpress.com: Owned by Automattic
Upkeep not complicated Demands upkeep (back-ups, WordPress updates, theme & plugin updates, etc.)
100 posts max. – more than enough for a year’s work Struggled to find a definitive number.
School used gmail – easy set-up and login
Good enough for casual blogging, response and comment.

 

After I had finished, I went searching for more websites to see if they can sell WordPress … or not.  The seven disadvantages of using WordPress supported some of what the other sites mentioned.  It seems so subjective, though – some absolutely love others dislike.  I guess I will have to make up my own mind.  After completion of this course, I should have a good idea, having operated in both.

I do worry about cyber bullies. The reason why my blog is closed, is because I want to protect my students. It seems a valid reason. While most students are opinionated, I have some that are sensitive, and, as educator, I have a duty to protect their vulnerability. I do see how this keeps them from maturing in a digital space where they must learn to deal with prejudice, and where their footprint becomes a responsibility for them to manage.

As for commenting, I came across some interesting blogs that I will be sharing with my students. The Chronicle of Higher Education discusses Commenting, moderation, provocation – especially of highly provocative and opinionated students.  In the search, I also came upon this little gem while searching and following links, which I might just add to the Kondos Library on my blog:   Quick and dirty tips .

Another question I have asked myself, is how I will deal with assessing approximately 160 blogs, if I expect each student to have one. Mark Sample offered some advice at  A rubric for evaluating student blogs , but the mere idea scares me to death. This is not an admission of laziness. I do think it will be an awesome venture into a digital space that takes social media away from the individual into a responsive and responsible space. Perhaps only the grade 11s? I would give the student and the parents the option whether to have a closed or open blog. I do believe that there would be some paperwork involved. From my readings, I have come across the following advantages:
1. Student will be encouraged to share information and opinion, which will improve his /her writing, analysis and critique
2. Assignments can be shorter, and formal or informal.
3. It allows for inclusion.
4. Interaction between students will be encouraged, thereby giving them opportunity to respond in a mature, meaningful and respectful manner.
5. While class time is limited, this opens up a whole new world of response to online material. While I post on my blog for comment, the student can be encouraged to find material on which to comment and reflect. A well prompted directive will prove valuable to learning.

Mark Sample  offered more advice and interesting ideas at A better blogging assignment.

DIIGO:

I am planning a big project for assessment in the third term with my unit on Lord of the Flies. Initially, I planned to have students open a blog per group where they can post their research, findings, analyses, and opinions, and where they can comment online to keep the conversation going. After reading Yehia’s post on the pros of using Diigo, and also reading Kevin’s response, I thought to investigate that as a tool. The following YouTube videos were helpful:

What is Diigo?
[youtube]https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mbRxBRgDUg8[/youtube]

Diigo in the classroom:
[youtube]https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=T36PbLStbSs[/youtube]

Dig V5.0: Collect, Highlight and Remember:
[youtube]https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VHWapAF1Txw&w=420&h=315[/youtube]

I believe this will be a helpful tool for me as educator, and I have joined.  As for the students, I went searching for the novel Lord of the Flies online, and found it. I am toying with the idea of reading it online, and using the highlight and note feature to connect with my students. It will be an excellent way for my students to take control of their own learning, and be of assistance to others by sharing what they have found.  Great community right there!

PODCASTS:

I also read up on podcasts, but don’t see it working for me at his point.  (I am not snubbing it and its potential, and might work it into lessons in the future when the right assignment asks for it.) Students have always just used their phones and recorded their voices. To do proper podcasting, it seems, you need some extra equipment – and that makes it something that is not feasible at this stage. I will share links to the sites I visited:
1.  10 Podcasting projects teachers should try

2.  How to start your own podcast

3.  How to create your own podcast

 

In conclusion:

I realize that I can do more, and, in fact, should do more with my blogging. Student blogging is a dream, and I will test the waters back at my school. I do worry about not being able to keep my finger on the pulse of each of the student blogs. I will see how this pans out.  Diigo seems wonderful, and I am eager to start using it.  I did not delve into YouTube – that I will do at a later stage.  I visited many websites and blogs – some really not worth the time and effort. I have, yet again,  come to the conclusion that I should not aim too big, and do what I do, well!



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