Monday, 15 October 2012

The Journey of Collaboration - Blog 3

This week, I decided I would investigate how blogging might be used in the classroom. Nine or ten years ago, I tried using a classroom blog to post homework and relevant business items.
It only worked moderately well because I was not fully invested in the process and our school community had not yet embraced the idea of social networking. Through exploring different blogs and researching classroom uses of blogs, I have discovered some interesting ideas for collaboration and I have made connections I didn't expect.
Initially, I revisited my school division blog and saw a post by a colleague, Thea Morris, about her use of a classroom blog to track and describe the journey her class is currently on in a one to one project using iPads in her classroom. After receiving the technology grant for the iPads, she made a smart decision to document her students' progress on a blog that she can now use as her action research project for this year. Thea had interesting insights to share and our conversation continued as I contacted her to inquire about linking her blog to mine. She reminded me that that is precisely how bloggers support each other. We had an interesting email chat and she told me about the personal blog on organized living she also started ten months ago. With 11 000 followers already, she has definitely made an impact on the collective!
Edublogger conducted a survey entitled, "The State of Educational Blogging in 2012" from May 5-July 25, 2012. Respondents described using classroom blogs predominantly for class websites, class blogs, student blogs, professional/personal blogs, news blogs, and for collaboration and discussion. Educational bloggers, Linda Yollis (U.S.A.) and Kathleen Morris (Australia) are two teachers who moved from collaborating collectively through the comment sections of their classroom blogs to creating global collaborative projects. They explain that "effective classroom blogging and global collaboration are built around relationships," The collaboration between their classes has spawned empowering student leadership initiatives for their students.
The journey of collaboration and the ability to embark on unique and creative global collaborative projects has a reach that goes far beyond posting homework on a class blog. I have been discussing the power of local and global leadership opportunities with my 14 year old son, who is hoping to attend We Day on October, 24. He is totally pumped about attending this special event and sees himself as an "ambassador of change," within his school and the community. Starting with simple class blogs can give children the skills, confidence, and even the courage to share their own voices through personal or group blogs that have the potential for world wide impact. I am amazed at the bravery shown by Malala Yousafzai by blogging about the right of girls to be educated in Pakistan. Efforts that begin as local concerns in the classroom have the potential to have far reaching effects.

References: (accessed: 10/13/12) (accessed: 10/14/12)


  1. Hi Diana,
    I think that in the age of change we live in schools and teachers play an important role in teaching students to use social media responsibly. Using blogging to create on-line learning communities in schools is necessary to keep us with technology and to allow students to be creative in their learning. Thanks for sharing the We Day initiative. What an interesting movement.

  2. Great post Diana. Blogging seems the way that students want to go. I'm not teaching right now, is this the way they want to go? Are they interested in a blended environment? A paper I read to prepare for the Blog Analysis was written by Alison Sawmiller (2010) and she raised a good point: students use electronics at home (computers, tablets, e-readers, mobile devices) and then at school they use pen and paper. There seems to be a disconnect, doesn't it?

    I am ready to jump aboard the train - I will create a blended environment once I get back into the classroom. But I'm worried about two things: cyber bullying (isn't the situation of Amanda Todd on our minds right now?) and student *gulp* losing or breaking their electronics!! Am I worried for nothing? Should I not follow yours and your colleague's initiative because of my two fears?

    Do you have any thoughts?


    Sawmiller, A. (2010). Classroom blogging: What is the role in science learning?. The Clearing House, 83(2), 44-48.

  3. Hi Carly,

    Thanks for your reply. I agree that there is a disconnect between technology use at home and at school. I think students get used to pen, paper, and traditional methods at school and become passive about receiving the answers. However, they are energized and keen to get actively involved in more hands on and personal ways when given the opportunity. I have not personally seen a group of students involved in blogging but I am keen to try it when I go back to work next year.

    I don't think your worries are unfounded, however, we can deal with those problems by planning ahead to some extent (policies, boundaries etc.)and solving issues as they arise. Cyber bullying is definitely a reality and a problem but I don't think we should let those worries steer us away from trying new things.