As I relaxed over the Holidays these past few weeks, I reflected on the current state of student engagement in my classes. The semester was coming to a close and I had seen a tremendous drop in student interest and engagement in many of my classes. And , of course, I wondered what I might do to change it. Then I stumbled across a notice for a 10-week course on Better Blogging with Students from Edublogs. On pure impulse, I signed myself up! I have dabbled a bit with blogging on both the personal and professional level. Even hosted a fairly successful class blog in my previous school district. This fall, when setting up the web pages for my co-curricular club (FBLA) and our Student Store ( The Spartan Market) , I discovered my prior experience to be very helpful. Dashboards and widgets and WordPress! EduBlogs! Been there, done that! Yes, I had done this before!!!! Student blogging just might be the solution that I was looking for. It would all come back to me, right????
Fast Forward to Week One: OMG , what the heck was I thinking!!????
Yeah, I’d kept my Edublogs accounts. Paid that small fee each month without even blinking an eye. After all that hard work, I just did not have the heart to shut it all down. Class blog, 30+ student blogs, this teacher blog ; all still here, frozen in cyberspace, as if it were still the end of semester 1, 2014. Yup, threw myself right into the deep end of the pool. So before I could make that fresh start, I had some blog clean-up to do.
- First I removed most of the student blogs from my class blog and selected a newer modern theme. In my stumblings, I discovered a great little edublogs article about how to best do that ( I think I deleted some of those guys which is not recommended- Oops- Learning curve). I did save a few good examples for my future bloggers to view. I then had to reconfigure the menus and widgets to fit the new theme. Progress was stalled as I contemplated what background picture I wanted to represent my class….decisions,decisions; size, pixels,is it mine or someone else’s work? Resurrect Creative commons and proper online publishing etiquette, learning curve, learning curve, learning curve.
- Once I was (somewhat) content with my class and student blog progress, I decided to take a look at week1 tasks in Better Blogging.
- What Is A blog?
- Why Edublogs /CampusPress/ WordPress?
- What Are The Benefits Of Blogging?
- Why Do You Want To Blog?
- 1) Who will your audience be?
- 2) Who will be writing on your blog?
- 3) How will blogging be integrated into your classroom program?
- 4) Will your blog be public or private?
- 5) What makes a high quality classroom blogging program?
- Your Task and (let’s not forget)
- Join the Facebook group
Seriously , I am a high school teacher at the end of a semester, with students failing and final exams and grade recovery work and blizzard bag assignments and prep for next semester’s all new classes . Holy cow, people I do not have time for this!!!!!
But I am determined to forge ahead, let’s go back to the task at hand.
- Our task for this week was to post an answer to a question or two (from above), connect with fellow classmates, comment to other posts here and there. This I can do, this I like most amongst all other online experiences. I find posting and commenting on other posts a very rewarding experience and where, for me, (during my online post-graduate work) the most learning occurred.
- It was there in the hundreds of posts and comments ( literally) that I discovered my inspiration. A classmate, teacher and fellow blogger had posted a comment and shared a link to her blog, where she was sharing the “Better Blogging” experience. Brilliant! That was it. Now I had something to write about. So Simple, why hadn’t I thought of it? After all, my goals, like many others’ in this course, were to:
- Revamp and introduce my class blog to a new set of students,
- Add consistency and purpose, and
- Be a better blogger.
Just a bit more work to do. Week one continues with a brief revamp of ” Innovative Learning with Mrs. C.
- Final task of the week, revamp my professional blog site by recategorizing old posts, which entailed reconfiguring menus and categories and some juggling of widgets. This is not complete. I am still considering a new theme but have not made any final decisions. I am content with a Work-In-Progress status for now.
- Of course to be a better blogger and good teacher, we must “walk the walk”. ( thank you classmate – identity lost in the vast comment stream). There is no better lesson to illustrate blogging than modeling the experience, presenting an example and setting expectations.
- SO Lastly, as the sun sets on this semi-warmer Saturday afternoon in January, I have finished writing my first blog post in almost 4 years.
Let the New Adventure begin!
🙂 Mrs. C.