Dorothy Burt is the eLearning/Manaiakalani Team Leader for Pt. England School. Her blogs and those of her students are posted on manaiakalani.blogspot.com. I encourage you to check it out. It gives great insight into how blogs are used and what the benefits are for the children.
In her most current post,Rolling Over Individual Blogs, Dorothy responds to a question she was asked by a fellow teacher, "Why go to all this effort managing the individual student blogs?". In her response she talks about how this helps the students to establish an ePortfolio, how it allows the teacher to monitor the blogs through a Teacher Dashboard, and how it gives them the ability to provide online supervision of minors. She also gives step by step instructions of how to transition individual student blogs from one teacher to the next. What a great way to connect students and teachers and to show students that learning is a building process; a continuation from one year to the next.
I commented on Ms. Burt's post by stating that I am a student in EDM310 at the University of South Alabama in Mobile, Alabama. I informed her that as an assignment for this class, I was to summarize my visits to her blog with a post on my personal blog and that it would be shared on our class blog. I told her the information she shared in her blogs was not only important to me as a future teacher but was also useful to me as a parent. I felt that her comments eliminate a lot of the fears people have about how the students will be supervised and held accountable for what they are doing online. There was one comment that really got my attention and that is "the teachers take delight in supporting the children build their record of learning." First, I love the idea that each student has an ePortfolio that will continue with them year to year. Second, I like the idea of seeing more students and teachers taking delight in education. I told her that hopefully, as the schools in Alabama transition into this new age of technology, teachers and students will find that their passion for learning will be reignited. I thanked her for the step by step instructions on how to do a Blog Rollover.
If you've ever wondered what students think about using technology and whether or not it is a distraction or an enhancement, then you need to read Dorothy Burt's compilation of over 200 students between the ages of 9 and 13 who posted to their individual blogs a reflection on their year of using a digital device as their main learning tool. Students reflect on 1:1 in 2012 Part 1 is an overview of how the blogs were compiled and a summary of what was written. Students reflect on 1:1 in 2012 Part 2 consists of excerpts taken from the actual blogs of the students. This was the most interesting because Ms. Burt divided the comments into topics, such as, "In praise of the device", "rejecting the old world", "More praise for 1:1 learning", "writing", "spelling", "maths", "Whanau engagement - parents and home", just to name a few. Obviously, this is a very long blog since it had to be divided into two parts, but it is well worth the read to understand how technology is working to engage students and create an excitement for learning. I thought the best section was on teacher appreciation. Yes, that's right, student's actually appreciating their teachers. What a great thing!
Once again, I commented by telling Ms. Burt my name and my purpose. I stated that I have enjoyed reading through her posts but I especially loved hearing from all of the students. I briefly explained how many of our local schools have recently assigned students a laptop and how there are still many who question "why?". I stated that the next time I am faced with that question, I will have better answers thanks to the information she has provided. I would also be sharing the link to her blog posts with others who want to read more details. I thanked her for compiling segments from her students' blogs because their voices need to be heard.