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One World, One Classroom
The Global Classroom Project July chat on the Global Classroom .
When seeing the Twitter chat ( #globalclassroom ) planned for July I thought I would take the chance to join a session. For those of you aware of me through comments on your class/school blogs, it’s probably not surprising to see I prepared this post in my “Extended Comments for Students” blog.
For others, I am retired from full time teaching in N.S.W., Australia yet am still involved with schools as a member of my local school’s Parents & Citizens and as DVD producer for school performances in our area. As such, my contribution to the chat is more from the point of view of a person who comments on blogs rather than has children involved.
My blogging experience only started just over a year ago when I was curious on seeing a tweet with a reference to a school blog. I visited the blog and saw they were seeking comments. In order to leave a comment, I found I had to join a blog provider. I left a comment and found the process fascinating.
The problem was, the blog provider kept reminding me I could set up a blog of my own. Finally, I gave in and set up one to write educational thoughts although I found more interest in commenting and creating posts for classes than “thinking educationally” in any formal sense. A second followed so I could share the stories I enjoyed writing. A third was made when I found schools were seeking information on topics I enjoyed and had some knowledge. A fourth arrived as I wanted to be able to share experiences classes might find useful such as the replica of Captain Cook’s “Endeavour” when it visited a local bay for a few days.
Once you take the first step, you will see the advantages in the reaction of the children when they receive comments from around the world. Of course, you may need to promote their posts by gathering a following and perhaps requesting comments on Twitter and via other classes with which you might be willing to share.
Some activities you might find useful as a way of sharing…
Now to the chat questions…
Blogging is a valuable tool because it allows students to:
reflect upon and share their discoveries with a global audience
explore and wonder about questions and big ideas
write authentically and publish to a global audience
create dialogue with a global audience
connect in a meaningful and personalized way with the curriculum
educate others and spread awareness
enhance their communication skills
further develop digital citizenship and online safety skills in an authentic context
explore multiple modes of expression
(from “The Global Classroom Project" )
What do you think?
How can a classroom blog deepen your global citizenship inquiry?
One of the greatest assets I’ve found in blogging is the ability children have to see similarities and differences in other classes around the world as they expand into the global classroom. They may share experiences or learning through posts and comments or perhaps even Skype sessions.
Starting with an Apple II in a classroom back in 1981, I've seen educational computing grow almost exponentially. It's a long way back to that country school where you had to have an operator connect you when phoning. The isolated school now has a satellite dish and internet access. Even 100km (60 miles) from a town, they can be part of the global classroom.
How will students write? Large group, small group, individually?
On visiting many blogs (I’ve lost count), I’ve seen each approach in use. Classes/schools share group experiences, small groups of children report on their findings in studies, and individuals share their more personal experiences (with preparation by the school so they are aware to keep very personal information to themselves). All options work. It depends on how you might like to approach blogging.
A suggestion might be to start with a class blog where you moderate what children post. As the children gain confidence, they might “earn” their own personal blogs, although the teacher would still need to moderate comments.
How do you keep up with all the comments left on your blog?
One safety factor is to make certain you can moderate comments coming into your class/student blogs. While I have seen most people visiting school blogs are benign, there are those out there who might need to be blocked.
As mentioned in the beginning, I am retired from full time teaching so I have more available time yet I don’t always have the time to comment on all I see. I tab a link to a blog on my browser and hope to return to it when I have time. If after a week I still haven’t had the chance to respond, I again might check to see what was posted. If the post was more general, I might delete the tab. My comments are prioritised. Blogs I visit regularly receive comments first as do those entries in the 100 Word Challenge falling into my group as a member of Team 100WC.
How do you develop a “voice” as bloggers?
Many blogs I visit include stories from children or reports on lessons or outings. I try always to be supportive and positive in my comments because my aim is to encourage the children in their efforts. Many children have been excited to see someone from possibly the other side of the world has visited their blog and left comments.
Occasionally, I come across a blog that sparks my interest. The first of these came last year in the form of 6D from High Lawn School. They were looking for information on volcanoes, an interest of mine. I shared information and was able to send volcanic samples I had gathered from volcanoes in New Zealand, Fiji and Hawaii.
More recently, Global Grade 3 from Canada has gained extra commenting attention. I saw a post where they were explaining their efforts to help set up a library in the Peru. As with 6D, you can see the comments I sent to them on this blog.
The key is creating posts of interest to readers. Adding questions at the end of a post encourages readers to interact. The blogger, in order to encourage future visits, needs to reply to comments so a reader knows they have been noticed. It can be pleasantly surprising when we see a dialogue develop and the interest in the eyes of a student.
How do you find the time to post regularly?
Even when retired, time can be a factor, especially when I have filming and producing DVDs for schools. Being a night owl, I can sometimes be up to around midnight or later then rise again around 6am. Mostly, posts are created in the morning or evening when the activities of the day subside. Commenting is both a hobby and passion of mine.