Blogging to motivate students. Hmmm what’s that all about? Sounds interesting but hey how do you do it? And can you do it? We came back from Solomon Islands to a different world, full of technological awesomeness. I bought an iPhone cause it looked nice and I was hooked!
Ok, back in the Islands I had my beautiful White Macbook given to me by an American Christian on our visit to Colorado Springs. We were at a Christian Conference 2008.
Ray, my hubby was one of the speakers at the Conference and I was asked to share about our work in the Islands the first night. I was scared as I looked down the list of speakers with Phd or Mpharms after their name. However, all went well because a great speaker told me, just tell it like a story. The next day a young woman walked up to me and gave me a cheque and told me to buy something for myself and not for the school in the Islands.
On the way home, we stopped in Singapore and I purchased my first white Macbook. Yep, that’s my White Macbook. I still have it, cause I love it – the students in my class used to use it but it’s very slow and almost dead now. I use a MacBook Pro 13″ and iMac 21″ and two iPad Pro’s the 12.7″ and the 10″ with an apple pencil for each, which I LOVE!
So you see I’m an App Girl and totally hooked!
When I started my new teaching position after returning from the Islands I was hit by the growth in technology. Man, there was too much and I didn’t know a thing. I heard about Blogging to motivate students to write and it looked like a great way to help students get motivated to write. But how to do it? We’re supposed to use Tech at school, preparing students for the future. So, I just kinda hid my ignorance and hoped no one would notice.
Gradually I started to feel more comfortable with technology as the students showed me what they knew. You can learn a lot from students you know. Gradually, I realised most of their knowledge was just games and little helpful tricks. BUT, I had further problems, like so many of us have with the inevitable old technology school desktops breaking down just when your class needs to use them. So, I decided to purchase my own set of five iPods for group rotations. One of the activities students used them for was recording independent reading. Great success! Next came a set of re-conditioned iPads so a group at a time could complete activities like coding that required a larger screen. The students loved it.
But, I wanted my students to write online. So, I signed up for Edublogs but I didn’t get very far due to security issues at school. You can have all your students blogging for FREE and SAFE on Edublogs. (I am seriously using Edublogs now at my new school – and it’s making a difference in my student’s attitude to learning). But back then, instead of blogging to motivate, we produced a class newspaper. I still wanted to learn how to build my own website so I could teach my students how to and get blogging on their own sites, not just a class newspaper or the teacher’s blog.
I searched online and eventually found some training for free. You can learn at your own pace and it is so easy. I am now confident in teaching my students to build their own websites. It makes learning realistic and part of the real world for students. Of course, you ideally need students to have access to laptops or some sort of device most of the time. But where there’s a will there’s a way. You might like to read ‘Ways to Use Technology’ I’m now in a school where it’s one laptop per student – yeah!!!!
Think, how difficult it can be at times to motivate students to write. In today’s world students live and breathe computers so why not utilise the tool for your benefit. Have students build a website and post articles weekly and daily. Plus, have a group of students blog about what is happening in class each day (I have five groups, one for each day of the week), any absent students just check the post. Have each student choose a culture of their choice and write 16 to 24 articles to create a website based on that culture or some other topic. Some of the articles can be podcasts or videos and of course lots of images. You have to make sure students understand images are copyright too.
Have you tried to teach your students to build their own websites and blog. It’s not as difficult as it sounds and we don’t get anywhere unless we try. Post your thoughts on this below
Spread the word . . . .