In this week’s assignment, we were asked to write a letter the principal of our school to get permission for a proposed Blogging activity in the classroom. Here is mine:
PROPOSAL FOR BLOGGING ACTIVITY
Dear Mr. Callahan,
During the 2012-2013 school year, in an attempt to create a technologically enriched classroom environment, I would like to incorporate a blogging component into my 9th Grade Honors English class with the site EduBlogs.com.
This blogging site is not filtered by our school and allows many security features that will be essential to maintaining the integrity and safety of our students. The classroom blog that I will create will not be open to the public. It will be private to our class only, this way I will be monitoring their activity on the site only. Topics will be posted for discussion and students will be asked to comment to the post and to others posts using higher order thinking strategies that we have discussed.
If this activity proves to be effective in promoting discussions in class, which will be evaluated by number of posts and quality of posts by students, then students would be creating their own blogs that would encompass their learning from the entire semester. Those blogs would be subject to the same rules and guidelines of the original classroom blog.
The first issue I would like to address is safety. Again, our students will not have to use an email address at home, instead there will be a newly created Gmail account entitled RoomA210 and so students will be using a +firstnameDOB (i.e. RoomA210+Jordan1998@gmail.com), that way any time that student posts, the alert will be sent directly to my class Gmail account. It is an easy way to have accountability that students are actually posting. In this way, students’ last names will not be out on the web and they will create their own fictitious usernames once added to the Blogroll, or classroom list on the blog.
Again, the information that the students post will not be made public. Nor will they be able to connect with outside users. The only students they will be conversing with are their classmates and teacher. Students will undergo “Netiquette” training before even getting into the blog, so that expectations for behavior and posting/publishing on the blog will be made clear. Students that fail to meet appropriate behavior expectations while using the classroom blog will lose their privilege for a predetermined amount of time.
The goals of the blog are to promote student conversations through technology, enrich conversations through higher order questioning posed by the students, and to promote student autonomy in a safe online environment. Students will be able to discuss and comment with each other in a way that is familiar to them outside of the normal classroom as well as equip themselves with the necessary skill they may need in order to participate in an online class environment in the future.
If approved, there will be a parent permission letter sent out, informing parents of the changes to the Honors English Class, as well as a website tutorial video that they may view in order to see the benefits of using EduBlogs in the classroom.