Which assignment is better, writing a paper or posting a blog?

In my assigned role as devil's advocate, I'd like to see the reasons why a teacher would want to have students write a blog to illustrate what they have learned on a topic (large or small) vs writing the traditional paper with sources cited, artwork on the cover, and eraser marks as needed. What would be the advantages of assigning a blog be created? What would be the pitfalls? What would be necessary in order for all participants to be able to post a blog equally with their peers (if, for example they don't have a computer at home!)? Then, when you have considered the advantages, the superintendent tells you they won't let you do it unless you can supply research information that these advantages exist and are beneficial to students!

Tags: advantages, blogging, commons, creative, instruction, of, technology, use

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Indigo,

Bob told me he installed an RSS feed on the website, but I didn't know what it would be useful for. I will explore it further.

We've passed the deadline to submit a proposal to ISTE. for this year. Perhaps by next year we will be more into the newer stuff and be able to talk about more than the history of the Internet in Education and my website. We are a couple of oldies trying to keep our health and our youthful outlook without disparaging our colleagues as we pioneered along. Bob Zenhausern, my partner on the website, put hundreds of email lists on the St. John's University server for various categories of disabled folks, bringing them up onto the newest along with the abled peers.
Anne, I've been doing webpages for 15 years. The webpages I did initially contained a lot of hotlists and 'Best Sites Ever' and clipart. As I have matured as a teacher and web designer I have gone to a cleaner and 'more sophisticated style'. I love your 'Drupal' front page, very sophisticated, but become mired down as I move through the site. Maybe you could 'clean house' and give your site a facelift, adding the material people are using to your Drupal interface. Over the years I have steered away from designing 'content' (unless it is student work)---students who know how to search can find brilliant resources on the Web on Lewis and Clark, Ancient Civilizations, whatever---it seems to me to be reinventing the wheel. .

You can see my sites, curriculum units and project websites here. I think you'll enjoy your trip through the Web 2.0 tools, you will continue to mature as a web designer and teacher support. Sorry to hear you have been ill.
Nancy,

I use a lot of clipart, often from the sites I'm linking to on my links. I have some pages for older kids which do not have the clipart on them. But for primary and elementary kids, and special needs kids, the icons give them something else to look for other than the words. I'm not interested in achieving a "sophisticated" look to my site. I want it to excite children and induce them to click.

As to content that exists, there is a lot of content for children old enough to read, and available only in that format. II try to make content for the younger students. Yes, there are many biographies with lots of details on the Famous Americans, but there are no other simple summaries other than mine, which, I believe, is why I get so much traffic to those pages.

You and I make webpages for two totally different audiences. As long as you are making yours for your audience, I don't need to become more like you. Nor, do you have to become more like me, unless you want to appeal to my audience.
Points taken.
Nancy,

I've set up Bloglines and added the link to my homepage, and I added Library of Congress to my subscriptions. I will see how I like it.

I'm not hot on bestsellers - mostly I read books on history that are old enough to be sold as used books. Recently, I've been reading a lot on the exploitations of the Native Americans by the early Spaniards and Conquistadors. Before that I was alive for books on the Northwest Ordinance. I've had love affairs with Jefferson, Washington (includiing Martha), and Adams. What I like best is when a historian, or history professor recommends one or some books on a topic that interests me. Those books are always the best ones!
You might enjoy the blog of the Primary Source Librarian; she finds some really cool stuff.

Another good blog is the Edublogger, Sue Waters. This is a more technology-focused blogs with a lot of step-by-step directions. You might want to start with her First Time Visitor's Guide.

Vicki Davis, the Cool Cat Teacher, is a very popular teacher blog. I really like Kim Cofino's Always Learning blog too.

Once you get a handful of blogs you like, click on the links in their posts to find out more about who they are reading. That may lead you to another interesting blog that you want to subscribe to. That's how it builds for most of us, I think; you start with a few and then add as you get more practice reading and managing it all. It's just like your system for dealing with email; you'll develop a system for going through all the RSS feeds and keeping organized.
Christy, We are on the same wave length with out first recommendation!! My fav teacher blog is Dan Meyer's blog, do you read him? He's a math teacher, I think he's working on PhD now but gives 'edutechogeeks' a run for their money. He's also into design.
Too funny! I found Mary's blog when I was working with someone from the Library of Congress to develop a course on primary sources for educators.

Dan Meyer's blog has floated past my computer screen several times before today, and I just subscribed. I do tend to focus mostly on the ed tech people just as the nature of my job, but it's good to have others in the mix too.
I'd be glad to share some of my favorite blogs---my categories include classrooms, technology only, general education, literature, primary sources, and one of my favorites 'controversial'!! The playlists are folders you keep topical blogs in---I know you are going to end up being a blog-reading fool. N

Here's another must read (or two)--

http://maryjjohnson.com/primarysourcelibrarian/

http://historytech.wordpress.com/

http://speakingofhistory.blogspot.com/

http://historyiselementary.blogspot.com/

http://blog.footnote.com/

JUST 4 FUN
http://thisisindexed.com/
Christy, I spent about 8 years presenting at state and national conferences. My love is primary source documents in the classroom and I did workshops on Using Primary Sources in the Classroom and the Library of Congress. I have a primary source blog called A Very Old Place and also have done, IMHO, some pretty amazing primary source projects with my kids. Take a look at CSI: Cemetery Scene Investigation, The Wright 3, The NE Kansas City Walking Tour, Guardians of Freedom. and Titanic in the Classroom.

Guardians of Freedom will be the best work I will have ever done as a teacher. After a year long study of WWII my 5th and 6th graders interviewed 54 WWII veterans, put their stories online and published a book. Even today, years later I get emails from people who are looking for 'our' veterans knowing they were in the same battle or on the same ship or in the same platoon as their granddad or their uncle or their brother. It changed all of the kids and adults who were involved into historians. We made a difference.
Nancy,

I was reading some of the stories on the Guardians of Freedom (after I put the link to it on my WWII page), and the man who was in the Signal Intelligence Corps spent time at Fort Pickett, which is at most five miles away from me. The firing range is on the part of the camp that is close to our home, so we always know when there are groups training at Pickett. Rescue even knows the difference between Pickett booming and thunder. Thunder sends him under the bed. He pays no attention to the cannons being shot.

During Desert Storm, my son was in one of the National Guard units that trained at Fort Pickett before going to Kuwait. John was the only one in his unit who could spend weekends at home, since they were not allowed to go more than five miles away from the camp. When his unit came home from Kuwait, they met their families at Fort Pickett, and the town of Blackstone opened up the building that was once a women's college long since close down, to house the families who came to meet their sons and daughter.
To add a different side to the conversation, an added advantage of online communications (let's move past just blogs.. ) provide motivation to produce a higher caliber writing piece when there is an AUDIENCE (online, of their peers, not just their teachers...).

Our grade 7 kids all have their own laptops this year, so we've moved a lot online: instead of an individual paper "journal" to do daily exercises that only the teacher would see (responding to prompts, DOL, warm-ups, etc) they POST their responses in a discussion forum... (like we are using now - think if you had this as an email - none of us would have been able to read it!). Part of the exercise is RESPONDING to classmates... not just producing their own work.

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