“Let There Be Peace on Earth”
Stuart Glofoff of the Learning Technologies Center at the University of Arizona has written a report about student weblog use in an online course. The report, Blogging In An Online Course: A Report on Student Satisfaction Among First-time Bloggers, tells about how weblogs were introduced as a communication tool. Decision Making for Information Professionals was a ten-week, online masters-level course taught during the summer of 2003 to 29 students geographically dispersed across North America. Three surveys were given to assess the students experiences and acceptance of using blogs. When asked what they liked most about using the weblogs students focused on being able to learn new things by using the blog, using a new technology, experiencing the sense of community that it developed around the topic, the informal nature of sharing information on a blog, and its use as a current awareness tool.
Today was a red letter day in my Wrinkles class! Cristian started reading the English that I was writing for him. I mean REALLY reading and understanding what he was reading. WOW! What a moment! He and I were grinning like cheshire cats because the light bulbs were coming on everywhere! I love working with these kids. They are so excited about Super Thinker visiting their weblogs – and yes, they are sure Super Thinker is a teacher! Why are we such dead give aways? We aren’t wearing signs so what gives? Don’t answer…..
I really like the Idioms Are Fun site that I have created. It is simple. Yet, the kids are getting so much out of it. I am going to start trying to think of more ideas like that. I think we could do a better job of getting other educators to start if we can come up with simple ideas that are effective.
Yep, it was a red letter day in Georgia! The only down side is I have to wait until next year to see them again!
A while back I had written a post entitled “Making a Difference” Webloggers. I’ve since been thinking about Nancy Peralta who just started weblogging this year. It is amazing to me what she is accomplishing. Plus, she gets it! She uses her weblogs to show the power of the written word. Her use of vocabulary words in the weblog for kids to read is outstanding. Examples like happy, overjoyed, ecstatic, elated to exciting, thrilling, exhilarating, electrifying. She makes the language come alive for us and wow, it’s like a real, live, on-line thesaurus custom-designed for her class. She encourages comments back from her students by closing each post with a thought-provoking question that she poses to them. I love reading their comments.
Nancy is also helping other teachers get onboard by first modeling some great weblogs and then conducting workshops for teachers. She makes time to comment on many other weblogger’s sites and shares ideas and learnings.
Here are some posts straight from Nancy’s weblog:
WHOOSH! Look! Up on the Internet. Is it a bird? Is it a plane? No, it’s SuperThinker – mighty superhero to bloggers around the world! Committed to a life-long quest of encouraging people to share their ideas, she patrols the world wide web using her superpowers to inspire BlogHeads of all ages.
Blogging is very cool because a blogger can put his or her ideas out in published form for a world wide audience of readers! Think about this: The written word has the power to create a relationship between your thoughts and the thoughts of your readers, sometimes just explaining something interesting, and sometimes creating a change in the way people think! Powerful stuff, isn’t it?
See, she gets it and I know many others in our edublogging community are delighted to have her out there blogging away!
Then this past week she amazed me even further. I had just gotten my Wrinkles group weblogs up and going on the navigation bar and SuperThinker zooms in to give each and every student an encouraging comment. See my post on the Wrinkles site called WOOSH! that comments on her entrance.
Be sure to check out some of the Snippets from Super Thinker’s comments to my kids
It doesn’t get much better in the world of edublogging, eh? Thanks, Nancy! Keep on making a difference!
Some of her weblogs include:
… Super Thinker patroling the world wide web using her superpowers to inspire BlogHeads of all ages.
…where she chronicles her journey blogging
…an online space for us to share so we can learn, teach, learn…repeat
….working on Literature Circles with a 5th grade classroom and exploring possibilities with weblogs
I like your concept for your blog! Your “country” is made up of your STATEments!
My favorite thing to do is blog–read blogs, post blog entries, and commment on great blogs like yours! You are very insightful Derrick.
I found your blog and really enjoyed this post about how you have improved your vocabulary. I think that is wonderful–fabulous, superb, magnificent–that you are using new words.
I am most happy–glad, pleased, joyful–that you are learning english and writing so well after only 1 year in the U.S.
I think you did a good job of writing your news stories. They are clear, and give lots of details. I like that!
I read all of your blog and like the way you write. You know what I like about it? That you don’t just write down information-you tell your readers about yourself, too.
Wow, what a great post! You made it come alive-when I read it I felt like I was listening to a newscaster.
I LOVE your poem! I decided to create one to, since I, SuperThinker, cannot pass up a good opportunity to blog! Here goes… I’m from reading – novels, magazines, and blogs I’m from black beans and white rice, yummy cuban style I’m from dancing, salsa cha-cha-cha I’m from my abuelitos, who read to me in spanish I’m from thinking, superpowerful thoughts I’m from blogging, making new friends like you!
You have quite a good writing style, my friend and if anyone should know about that it is I, SuperThinker, the one and only, truly original, blogging superhero, and really great pal.
and even in Spanish to Cristian who is just beginning to learn to speak English…..
Hola Cristian! Yo soy SuperThinker, la fabulosa superheroe blogiadora! Me gusta su blog y la simpatica manera en cual escribes. Yo no supe hablar ingles hasta que fui a la escuela. No tengo duda de que lograras aprender el ingles rapidamente, especialmenta ahora que puedes practicar con este blog.
Children, Families and the Internet 2003 is a recent survey conducted by Grunwald Associates. It reports that more than 2 million U.S. children, aged 6 to 17 currently have their own web sites. They predict that more than 6 million children could have their own personal sites by 2005. They view this as a way kids today are expressing themselves. They say kids want the tools to build better sites. The survey also revealed that there was dissatisfaction with school internet access. They want more online time.
Grunwald Associates is the research and consulting firm whose surveys on children, family and school use of technology and the Internet are considered the „gold standard‰ of market research on new information services in the home and school markets.
Seems like weblog tools would be a tool that would certainly be easy to use. It also makes me think that we need to really need to double our efforts at getting kids to see reasons for writing, to learn the joy of writing, and to use their voices in responsible ways. We gotta keep on track in getting the message across that it’s not just about getting web space available for children, but it’s also about our teaching and getting our kids doing some good writing and thinking!
Jill Walker points to another interesting post about a class reviewing weblogs.
Jill posts the following:
Scott Rettberg‘s New Media Studies class (which I visited a week or two ago, lovely bunch of students) have written a collection of reviews of weblogs as their final class project, all neatly put together and published with screenshots and room for reader comments. The selection is neatly categorised, so you can read about “Classic Bloggers”, “Digital Culture Blogs” like Steven Johnson, Laurence Lessig, Mamamusings, Frank Schaap and Jason Rhody‘s, or you can browse the students’ reviews of writer’s blogs, persona blogs, group blogs, political blogs and so on.
Jill plans to have her students review weblogs next semester. I look forward to reading those reviews.
OK now, if you are feeling the Christmas spirit go over to the Thinking & Writing Wrinkles weblog and give some comments for Christmas! You’d make a great group of up-and-coming webloggers very happy next Thursday if they saw some comments on their first writings on their weblogs. Our writing community is off to a good start! I am so glad to be able to merge ESL students & native English students. This project is a challenge and I want so much to make it worthwhile for the students. I’m learning as I go on the best way to do this. I even have one student, Cristian, who speaks no English yet! He is absorbing so much and understands a great deal. For now he is conversing in Spanish with the other students and we are writing his thoughts in English. Now, why didn’t I take Spanish instead of French in college? Come to think of it, I can’t really converse in French so I’d probably be in the same boat. I wish I could speak Spanish though and I need to explore that further, but that will have to be later.
I created the Idioms Are Fun on tBLOG. I have been checking out a lot of the free sites in preparation for an online class I’ll be teaching for ESL teachers in January, along with Sandy, Joe, and Aaron. More on that later….
Anyway, spread some Christmas cheer for this fine little Wrinkles group!
Pam will officially begin her new job as Supervisor of Instructional Technology within her school district! Now she can get all the administrative personnel blogging plus the schools! I find it exciting to see all these great teachers getting positions where they will have some power to make a difference. Pam brings so many skills to the table…… a true teacher, an advocate for teachers, a mentor, great edublogger, and an understanding of what really works for students in education! Way to go, Pam!
I have been tallying responses and reading the Literature Circles responses and it is overwhelming. We have learned so much from this project. Generally, the students felt that there were too many roles and it took away from the joy of reading – some truth there but the upside is how much they learned from each other and how much we learned about the students. I need to spend some time thinking about the whole project. Lynne and I will be meeting later when we both can grab some moments – not so easy at this time of year.
A few others…
Becca’s Weblog Reflections
Sunni’s The Good and the Bad – Learning Reflections
Drew’s Bridge Reflections
Pamela’s My Thoughts