Communicating and Networking with Websites, Blogs, Wikis, and More
Focus Question: How can teachers use a website or blog to improve teaching and learning?
I chose to elaborate on this focus question because ironically I am in college and have interacted with teachers through blogs (wink wink)! I have found it very interesting as well as intriguing to work with professors/ other students via online. I imagine that being an educator via online has its acquired etiquette and I wanted to find out just that!
With the exponential growth of technology, teachers are now producing "home-grown" websites or blogs to reach and teach students. Teachers generally build one of two kinds of online sites:
- Teacher/classroom website incorporates who you are as a educator and including information about your classes and work done by your students. A classroom website is primarily devoted to the activities of your classroom, it differs from the teacher website by giving more attention to work of the students than to the work of the teacher.
- Teacher Blog serves as an online journal where you post information and ideas related to your teaching strategies. Blogs can also be a site for online interactions between teachers and students, allowing communication to be at its finest. " Students can comment on items posted. Teachers can post questions and ask students to respond. Students can also read other students' comments" (Risinger, 2006)
Differences between Websites and Blogs: One major distinction between the two is the ease of site creation and management. Blog technology is designed to offer a direct route to maintaining a constantly updated site. It offers many resources that appear whenever the blog opens: a calendar, active links to other websites, an archive of past blog postings, a podcasting list, a place to publish student work,and an online discussion forum.
Another difference is a blogger's ability to interject a personal voice by sharing information and opinions in an informal style. While websites can also feature personal voice, they have tended to utilize the formal tone of news reports.
Teachers typically have three options for creating their own blog or website:
- Do-it-yourself (Website and Blog-Building Software) software's such as Dreamweaver or FrontPage enable teachers to build personal websites that range in personal preferences.
- Commercially Available Template commercially available website or blog builder such as, TaskStream, Go Daddy, or eBlogger that allow users to create many features and function, although programs such as Dreamweaver or FrontPage provide more variety. Commercially available programs have the added feature of being password protected while offering you a ready-made publication portal for your site on the Internet.
- Open Source Software course management system for educators such as Moodle that provides email, online discussion boards, instant messaging, and discussion forums for school districts and classrooms. Open source programs generally are not password protected, which may be a drawback to use in schools.
Communicating with your students needs to be done tactfully as well as providing an educational purpose. There are three basic types of education-related blogs:
- "Official face" blogs serve as formal information centers for schools. some of these organizational blogs include contributions by teachers and students.
- Single-purpose blogs address one subject area within a school, such as science or language arts.
- Active learning blogs involve students and teachers in conversations around parts of the curriculum (Harris, 2006).
Tech Tool Link: Moodle
As previously discussed, Moodle is online course management system for educators. Moodle offers several differenet administrative functions including grade record keeping and posting,selective content releases, and various filtering options. This system is free of charge and easily manageable. There were no distractions on the site, very straight forward with several links to various webpages with different information. I never thought so many online resources were available for educators and students, I can not wait to start trying these abundant resources out!
Chapter Summary & Connection:
I seem to say this every chapter, but I mean it this time, this chapter was by far the most interesting to read and most resourceful to me as a student/teacher! This chapter offered advice as well as instruction to creating your own Wikitext, blogs and websites. One thing I wouldn't mind investigating in the chapter would be Digital image scanner, a tool that will assist you greatly in creating your blogs.
Maloy, Robert W. "Chapter 8/ Communicating and Networking with Websites,Blogs,Wikis, and More." Transforming Learning with New Technologies. Boston: Pearson/Allyn and Bacon, 2011. 208-38. Print