I am a 2nd grade teacher, and I am currently in the middle of a week long course dedicated to introducing teachers to the world of collaborative web technologies.  The class text was Blogs, Wikis, Podcasts, and Other Powerful Web Tools for Classrooms written by Will Richardson (which I highly recommend).  In class we briefly explored blogs, wikis, and Flickr among other topics addressed in the book.  However, at this point I am feeling very overwhelmed by all the possibilities.  I would like to start small, so that I do not overwhelm myself or my students.  Blogging has intrigued me the most, yet I am unsure about where to begin with my students since they do not have their own email accounts, and privacy is an issue.  Any suggestions as to where to begin, or simple project ideas incorporating any of these technologies would be greatly appreciated!  Thank you in advance for your help!  

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I started with blogs and then branched out to wikis. Unfortunately, I am the only teacher on campus using these technologies so I am not being pushed as much as I should be to try new things. I look forward to reading the responses yiou get...
Here are some places to begin with your request about where to begin with Blogs:


Google Kim Cofino, she has some amazing blogs her students have created that can give you ideas on where to begin.
I use Blogger/Blogspot for my blog:

I have been using a blog for "homework" assignments. I'm a K-5th grade computer teacher with over 500 students so giving regular homework is a bit tough. I post assignments on my blog and over long weekend or holiday breaks my students are required to read the current post and respond accordingly.

SInce they don't have email and I too am conscious of the privacy issue I have them comment using the "Name/URL" option. Leaving the "URL" field blank I have them enter their first name and last initial. It preserves their privacy as well as allows me to know who is completing the assignment.

This year it was only 4th and 5th graders, next year I'm going to try to expand it to include 3rd, and possibly 2nd as well.
I am tempted to recommend something like Edmodo, which is an excellent and probably one of its kind social networking site for students and educators. Edmodo is like Twitter for education, in fact it is also a little like facebook without its vices.Its easy to use, mobile, collaborative and private. Check www.edmodo.com. Though this is a little bit of 'departure' from what were looking for, do check it out. Its become quite popular.
Thanks for the book recommendation. I would like to read that one. It is overwhelming to be confronted with literally a world of possibilities, so I would recommend getting a partner who also attended the course, or a mentor, and just dive in and start one thing. I started a blog last year, and mostly just posted student and class projects. I didn't post very much, but I'm happy I now know more about blogging! Publishing things to our class blog was motivating to the kids, since it made is accesible to relatives who lived far away, and provided a wider audience for our work. The presentations they created (using PowerPoint, PhotoStory, etc.) were easily converted to mp4 files, which I knew nothing about. It's a learning-by-doing thing! I will say that my students did not need their own accounts for this. They could post comments on the blog, but I had total control of what was published. So, if there was an inappropriate comment (which there never was), as the moderator. I could block it. The only thing the kids needed was access to the internet. As far as permission, I did have to be sure I had permission to publish their work, including voice recordings to the blog. Our district has a tech permission form which covers most everything. This year, I'd like to do some collaboration with other classes through online sharing. Once you try one thing, it gives you courage to try more! :)
Hi Katie

I started with an internet start page (here's mine) that boots up when students go on the internet (just make it your home page). That makes it fairly pain-free. It has a different tab for each grade, different website lists, to do lists, etc. I also used a wiki (here's my fifth grade wiki), which did seem to overwhelm students a bit. It includes parent and student resources, weekly classroom agenda by grade, etc. I have a blog, too, but students seemed to glaze over when I threw in yet another techie idea (I only get them once a week), so my classroom blog became fairly minimal.

Good luck to you next year. Second graders are so excited about tech stuff--I love them!
Jacqui -

Thanks for the ideas. I am taking a class to learn about additional tools to use with my moodle this fall. I love some of the sites and ideas you incorporated on your wiki. You mentioned that your students were a bit overwhelmed by your wiki. What was most challenging for your students and what advice would you give for introducing wikis to students for the first time?
Thank you very much ,I will check it.
Whatever you do start small and focused.  Use technology to support you curriculum first.  Always use the technology to do something that was not possible before otherwise why bother with the technology.  Blogging 
is great for students to do their writing but unless you use the blogs to help improve writing then you are just replicating and not doing something new.
I feel just like you!! The thing is that I need to learn FIRST, before I introduce these to my class. One by one seems to be the best
I wonder if Voicethreads wouldn't be a better way to start. Your students are so young and doing a voice recording might be more accessible to them. You can do almost the same thing....you could write a prompt, you could have them share a story they've written, or post an image they could respond to. They can post their ideas with a webcam, a microphone or even a telephone.

The biggest thing is that they need to remember not to post their whole name. Some teachers find students love to create "fake" names....one class I know is famous wrestlers from the 1980s and another class uses their favorite animal. It keeps their privacy secure...and you can use the education version of Voicethreads which only requires you to use fake emails.



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