Last week I was away for a few days and had a sub in for my classes. What I learned is that by having the directions for our learning project on the class blog virtually eliminated the traditional sub plan. I familiarized the sub with
how to access our class blog and she was with a few clicks able to scan through what we are working on and provide direction to the students. One more benefit to digital learning right! No need for class lists, explaining in detail the work we’ve been doing over the past weeks, providing expectations or rubrics as it can all be included on the class blog. If you have multiple classes with different content, you can have create a menu or categories by classes to keep everything organized. Visuals such as inforgraphics and videos along with links to various content can further support subs lacking in the content area and provide support to students in your absence.
There might be some confidential notes you want to leave on paper for a sub about specific students, but for the most part, the class blog can provide everything they need including a blog post that is tailored to the sub, but for the students to also read. Students also no longer can use the excuse that they do not have the materials leaving the sub scrounging for extra copies as it is all right there and the sub can check on each student’s work to see if they’re progressing by clicking on their name. Why did I not know about how blogging can assist my teaching and sub preparation sooner?
The students can easily work from home without carrying and losing papers, while teachers can do the same. I’m considering how I can continue using a class blog to provide daily or weekly instruction for students once this project wraps up. Do any of you do this, regardless of what content and medium the students are using? I’m thinking it will be a more effective way to provide direction and great visuals, learning tools, etc. for the students to access both in school and at home even if the focus is not always networked learning. OneTab might also be a useful tool in conjunction with a class blog to organize key resources for a sub that you may not want all students to have access to from the class blog. My students are using Symbaloo to organize their favourites and really like it because it is more visual and customizable, but either could prove to be useful. I currently use Symbaloo as well and wonder which of these would be best for a sub accessing my materials. Any suggestions?
Last week our focus was on reading other blogs and commenting so our posting efforts did slow down a bit. However, I’m anticipating that reading other blogs and commenting will garner some results in improving the content of the student blogs. Students are at various stages in their blog development, but considering this is the first time these grade 8’s have been exposed to digital networked learning via blogging I am very happy with the results. Some have even started to reply to my comments and questions, which demonstrates they are thinking about how their blog content and how to grow.
This week we will continue blogging focusing on developing the quality of writing in our posts and comments. I will also be preparing the students to reflect on the learning process (via video or audio interviews) as this project comes to an end for this course, although I intend to continue blogging and hopefully introduce some video work or vlogging in the coming month to demonstrate their learning. I’m looking forward to hearing their perspectives on digital learning and blogging.