Free Hogg

11.7.06

Blogs in the Classroom

Filed under: Education, Web Apps, Weblogs, WordPress.com — Hogg @ 9:50 pm

Today I got to have a quasi-day off and go to a foreign language technology workshop for my school district instead of going to school. During the workshop there was time for people to share some things that they are using in their classrooms. I have been using a blog as classroom organization tool, and was able to share.

For any educators (or potential educators) who read this, I’ll share with you how I’ve been able to put together the great (free!) services of WordPress.com, box.net, del.icio.us, and Wikispaces to create a powerful classroom tool.

Here’s how it works:

Every day, I post on the blog everything we do in class that day: notes, quizzes, study guides, worksheets, etc. The way I do that is by taking whatever file I used for the notes or whatever and converting it to PDF with PDFCreator. I then upload the file to box.net. Once the file is uploaded, I make the file public. Box.net then gives me a direct link URI which I then use in my blog post on WordPress.com. That way if a student loses, misses, etc. his homework or notes, all he has to do is go to our classroom blog, click on the day of the assignment (or any related tags), click on the assignment, and there they go. They can print all of the notes and assignments right at home.

I also use Wikispaces to keep a running list of assignments that the students must turn in. There is a link to the assignments wiki on the blog. I’m also going to use the wiki at midterms and finals to allow the students to create a collaborative study guide.

And last but not least, I use del.icio.us’ blog posting feature to post relevant links every few days.

The other teachers loved the idea. Several of them said I should run my own workshop on using blogs and wikis in the classroom. There is so much untapped, and free, technologies that schools don’t take advantage of simply because there is no one to tell them. The supposed “computer coordinators” are more focused on whether or not you broke the rules and downloaded Firefox or changed your desktop background than they are on improving the technologies used in the classroom.

Here’s my OPML of education blogs that I read. These guys know a lot more about blogging and wikis than me.

If you’re a teacher and you have questions or want to know more about how you can use “Web 2.0” technologies in the classroom, let me know, I’d love to help.

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