i-SAFE Inc. is a leading publisher of media literacy and digital citizenship education materials and programming with worldwide distribution channels. Founded in 1998 and supported by the U.S. Congress and various executive agencies of the U.S. government, i-SAFE is a non-profit organization dedicated to educating and empowering youth (and others) to safely, responsibly and productively use Information and Communications Technologies (ICT). i-SAFE's best practices classroom curriculum for primary and secondary school students is embedded with dynamic community outreach activities to empower students, teachers, parents, law enforcement professionals, and other community members to control their online experiences by proficiently and independently exercising a learned and practiced ability to use the Internet and other ICT with a level of sophistication that results in increased safety and utility.
Additional Information on Internet Safety
You can find additional online resources for internet safety here.
Using Blogs in the Classroom
According to ESL Blogs, a blog is “a short form of “web log”. Log means diary or journal, usually a notebook where you write reports of what you did or thought. Every ship has a “captain’s log” in which the captain records details a ship’s voyage day by day. “Web log” means a log that you keep on the World Wide Web”. To put this in layman’s terms, it is a place online to record your thoughts, interest, or ideas. This online journal is typically kept in a chronological order. Anyone can create a blog and keep a track of their daily, weekly, or monthly activities. The author of a blog usually has some sort of specific reason for sharing their work online. Perhaps someone wants to share the growth of their children or may want to market a product for their company. We are going to focus on how and why teachers should create blogs.
Teachers can create blogs for various reasons. Perhaps they want to have a personal space online in which students can access school work. A “tips and tricks” blog for a specific core subject may be appropriate for students to access and get help with school work. Maybe, a teacher would like to highlight student work. These are all decent reasons for creating a teacher blog. Digging into another area of technology integration we may ask why student should create blogs for classes. On an e-Journey with Generation Y listed twenty good reasons to blog. Here are a few ideas that I enjoyed.
Students have fun with learning
Students have an authentic audience to publish for
It suits all learning styles
Increased motivation for writing and reading
Improve student confidence and students take pride in their work
Blogs allow multimedia, widgets, audio and images
Increase proofreading and validation skills
Ability to share ideas with each other, staff and parents
Parents and family have access to student work
Can be used for digital portfolios
Work is permanently stored
Students today are digital natives and may grasp technology quickly and will want to use it
Students set the topics for their work
One thing to remember is that some schools use content filtering to keep students from blogging at school. You need to be sure to ask your network administrator to unblock a certain site you may be accessing to create blogs. Here are some sample blogging sites.
ClassChatter.com (http://www.classchatter.com ) Offers students the freedom to create blogs while their identity remains safe and they are not bombarded with advertisements.
Kidblog.org (http://kidblog.org ) Eelementary and middle school students can create a blog while the teacher maintains complete control over the blog. This may be a way to ease parents’ fears of online predators.
Teachers, if you need a rubric to grade the amazing blogs you are going to be reading, there are many online resources as well.
Although there are many advantages to using blogs in the classroom one relative advantage is that learning becomes more engaging and hands on. This alone helps students to enjoy and take pride in their work.