In a workshop based on ‘going online’ the use of blogging in the classroom was explored. Through focusing on the key learning area of HSIE, and the topic ‘the olympics’, an effective lesson for learning about the olympics in the stage three classroom was demonstrated.
The task required students to undergo a collaborative classroom task where individuals were responsible for researching a particular olympic sport, utilizing a variety of accurate, reliable and relevant websites as predetermined by the instructor. The class blog for the task, required students to post comments to the appropriate page, according to the scaffolded questions presented. Click on the following image to view the blog:
- An obvious educational benefit of blog use is the collaborative and sharing capabilities, allowing all students to contribute to a class project, whilst providing the opportunity to individually participate at all times.
- It can encourage a class to reflect and share, promoting higher level thinking, this can be done by encouraging students to make comments and discuss further questions based on collaborated information.
- It also provides the opportunity to transform learning into meaningful tasks as students focus on content and instruction rather than wasting learning time searching for online information, or developing demanding ICT skills.
In constructing and learning about blogging in the K-6 classroom, and in compiling resources in my resource shelf for the topic ‘going online’, I have discovered a great deal about the web 2.0 concept, and its educational benefits. In finding and reflecting on resources I have seen how these educational benefits mentioned are also evident when using other web 2.0 tools in the classroom such as wikis, and web quests.
It is also clear that these online tools require appropriate scaffolding through the discretion of the teacher in order to provide students with reliable and accurate web sources that can readily be used for tasks. There are many online teacher tools becoming increasingly available to assist teachers in implementing such scaffolds.
An excellent example is TrackStar, which enables teachers to create online web scaffolds for free. Student and Teacher logins are available where the teacher can edit, annotate and set online tasks, which is then accessed by the class via student login. Click on the image to explore TrackStar: