The best laid plans...
Few people these days will argue with the fact that technology is changing so quickly that it is difficult to keep up with all of the new apps, social media platforms and other cool tools. When I began my blogging class a few weeks ago, I had some specific ideas that I wanted the students to follow but they turned out not to be the ideas the students had. I should have known better than to have so many preconceived ideas with a group of great, creative middle schoolers who keep up with many of the social media updates and use them.
Our first blogging class went well with students finding and sharing blogs that they liked and wanted to follow. Feedly accounts were set up and interesting bloggers were found as student interests and passions emerged. Comments were then written, revised, edited and posted and finally it was time for individual student blogs to be created.
This is where my plans fell apart. I had shared a mix of sites recommending different blogging platforms but many of my students had minds of their own and decided mostly to choose different ways to blog. I had to decide quickly to either quell their ideas and force mine on them, or trust in them and let them blog their way. Taking risks and trying new ideas is my mantra, so I really had no alternative but to set them free and see what happened.
The platform of choice for most students was Tumblr, which markets themselves as a place to "effortlessly share anything." This and the following is taken from their website ...
"Post text, photos, quotes, links, music, and videos from your browser, phone, desktop, email or wherever you happen to be. You can customize everything, from colors to your theme's HTML." I am not a huge fan of Tumblr for blogging, as it seems to be a more developed version of Instagram, the number one social media platform for teenagers and a place where you find and share mostly work of others.
Three pairs of students choose to write together and three created individual blogs. Tumblr and Wordpress were the two choices of platforms.
Since then, everyone has worked on many aspects of their blog. Widgets, themes and pictures have been added, posts written and sites shared through Twitter. It’s been wonderful to share and comment on each other’s posts and see how diverse the student passions are.
Today is our last blogging class so I asked each student to share a comment on our time together. I hope you enjoy their comments and will take a few minutes to browse their blogs.
Adrienne and Lilly’s blog - Moosebug
Lilly: “This class helped me create and run an organized and fun blog. I learned about widgets and how to put them in my blog.”
Adrienne: “I liked this class a lot, I learned how to efficiently write and post interesting pieces of writing. I also learned a lot more about putting widgets on blogs.”
Ethan and Will's Blog - Ratingz Top Tenz
Ethan: "This class has been a very fun experience for me. This is my first blogging class, and it is amazing. When I was put into this class I was not looking forward to it. Now I wish that this class lasted longer."
Lia and Alex's Blog - Through The lens
Alex: "Writing is not just a thought but also creativity. That’s one thing I learned in this class. You have to think about what you write but also have a story behind it."Lia: "This class has definitely given me a chance to do something I wouldn’t normally do for fun, and I’ve enjoyed it very much. I like the fact that I can put my photography out there where anyone can see it."
Cole's Blog - Movies Immediately
Cole: "This class includes lots of useful information on blogging and technology. It also helps demonstrate what kids are thinking and writing."
Henry's Blog - Exotic Shoe Laces
Henry: "This blogging class was an educational and enriching learning experience for me. I was taught how to use different platforms for blogging like Tumblr and Wordpress and it was very fun to creatively express my opinions on my blog and I will continue to post on this blog after the class is over."
Striana's Blog - My Blog
Striana: "Blogging was a great experience. I learned many useful techniques and I really enjoyed myself."