On July 26, 2009 I constructed a posting with reference to Blogs and stated how Kearsley and Shneiderman (1999), discuss the idea that collaborative learning should be based on tasks which are meaningful and have an authentic focus, and how these tasks should be based on the principles of relate-create-donate. Blogs can be effectively used as a collaborative tool within the classroom promoting the engagement theory, in conjunction with effective collaboration, interaction between students and teacher, engagement through technology, and opportunities to reach learning outcomes with an authentic focus.
Within the classroom, we have recently finished a unit called 'Protecting Our Planet', concentrating on the aspects of Reduce, Reuse, Recycle, and Rethink. If I had known what I know now, this would have been a perfect unit to use in conjunction with blogs. This unit catered for rich and relevant tasks closely related to real world issues. The following points introduce the scaffolding of blogging into the classroom.
Students have already constructed a blog ready for the unit, working in pairs. Ensure students are aware of copyright obligations (provide them with usable sites), and safety issues on the Internet. Explain the rules and guidelines with regards to netiquette and using the blogs in a professional way.
- Introduce the concepts of Reduce, Reuse, Recycle, and Rethink, and the key question - How can we change what we do to have a positive impact for the future?
- What are the 4 R's and how can they help to reduce waste and help the environment.
- Students are given time to navigate through the 'Ollie Saves the World' website.
- An in class brainstorming session about how the blog can be beneficial and used for this unit.
- Participate in an excursion to the Sunshine Coast Recycling Centre.
- A graphic organiser has been loaded into MediaFire with a link in their blogs.
- Students are to access the graphic organiser and work collaboratively to complete the organiser providing examples of the 4 R's.
- Students then post the reflections of today's learning on their blog.
- Ongoing Key Questions are addressed by the students and reflective postings are entered daily on the blogs.
- Tools such as PowerPoint, Slidshare, avatars and online quizzes can also be utilised from the blog.
Donate: Students -
- Implement strategies agreed upon by the class to reduce waste in the classroom - such as reduction of lunchbox packaging.
- Work collaboratively to construct a letter (on blogs) to the Principal and also their parents explaining what they have learnt and the strategies they would like to implement at home and school wide. Principal and parents to respond.
- Post a collaborative personal reflection about how the knowledge learnt about the 4 R's has changed their attitude toward rubbish and energy wastage. Students are to comment on what they have learnt, how it affects them, what they can do to change, what can they do to help implement strategies.
- These postings are made available to parents to observe the students ongoing work and to place comments, encouraging their children.
Blogs can be used in the classroom in a multitude of ways, providing engagement, collaboration, and interest. Using blogs and e-learning tools, allow the new generation of students form a information era to learn using technologies which they can relate.
Kearsley, G., Shneiderman, B., (1999). Engagement Theory: A framework for technology-based teaching and learning. Retrieved July 18, 2009, fromhttp://home.sprynet.com/~gkearsley/engage.htm