Well, this week’s goal was to get to publishing. The week started of a bit rocky and I was not sure if we would actually get to publishing. We ran into a few issues:
- students not following directions to activate their WP accounts so they can publish
- students inputting wrong spelling of their email addresses when they created their WP accounts so they were not actually receiving the activation emails
- student school email not working (due to reimaging of laptops)
- YouTube blocked due to bandwidth concerns- learning videos I was sharing to support their independent learning could not be accessed on student accounts nor could they find practice the skill of embedding a YouTube file
- students not understanding the importance of spelling user names & domain correctly so their blogs could be linked to our class blog
Those are a few of the concerns we worked through. This project is teaching us all patience and understanding for precision in our technical skills. Spelling does matter after all:) Onward we go…
What I have discovered is that like with any project or topic, some students excel and others take longer to get up to speed. But, that is okay. By the end of the week most had mastered the basic skills needed to create a post and were busy blogging.
I shared with them on our class blog some sample blogs of other students and posted this simple infographic for them to use as a guide to improve their blog posts. This is a great visual way for them to be reminded of key things they need to do to improve their blog.
Many of these things will be included in the blog evaluation using a rubric because they are key to making a successful blog. I’ve also decided that I will create a checklist that they can check off basic things that they need to cover. i.e. did you put a header image on your blog, did you record your username & password, did you create a clear blog title & spell it correctly, did your categorize your post, etc..?
This infographic then led me to start thinking more about rubrics and checklists although I intended to create this after the first day. It is a bit backwards to not have a rubric designed yet, but I wanted to get my students rolling and start learning about digital education and blogging so that has been my focus. I have started to think about what I want in my rubric and have found many great examples. In my next post I will share what I’ve come up with and invite those of you that blog with students to give me feedback.
So despite the rough start, we are now blogging and having fun. Here is a picture of one of my classes (parent consent has been granted for photo of course).
And here are a few samples of their first blogs. Keep in mind this is my first crack at teaching this and their first try at blogging ever!
You can see there is a range in what they’ve accomplished so far. Their direction to this point was to learn how to operate WordPress, so the actual context might not make much sense and some have not put much effort into grammar or spelling. I did ask that they write about themselves and I gave them a few questions related to how they learn best, their thoughts about learning networks, and open education. However, you can tell that we have lots of work yet to do. Rubrics, checklists, looking at other students’ blogs, and the infographic will help us with our content, now that they have their heads around the technical literacy (so I hope:))
Some students have started to explore their classmates posts and make comments. Next week will be refining our posting skills (with a rubric to guide us) and will put more emphasis on following each others’ blogs & commenting. This will help us create a learning network that will eventually expand beyond our two classrooms.