Blogging? We have a Wiki

It’s Saturday morning, and I finally have time this week to sit down and roll through my RSS feeds and the Twitter posts I’ve favorited. A Slideshare presentation, “11 advantages of using a blog for teaching” caught my interest right away. I like how Calberg compares blogs and wikis. There are advantages to both, I think, but it’s difficult to incorporate everything.

Right now I’m in a place with my teaching where I want to do more than my students can handle. We’ve been using Edmodo since the beginning of the semester, and I just introduced a wiki into the mix. There are some students who already move effortlessly between the two–Friday’s lesson involved pulling questions off the wiki and posting answers on Edmodo–but there are many who are having a very hard time with it.
Ever since I learned the eChalk, the website host for my school district, had a setup for blogs, I’ve wanted to use them. And the more I read about other teachers and how they’re using blogs, I just think: “Ooh, I want to do that.” All in good time, right?
I set up my wiki in such a way that each student has his/her own page on the wiki, where they keep track of the books they’re reading, the books they’ve read, and their thoughts on those book. Other students (and the more savvy ones have already started doing this) can view their peers’ pages, make comments, and get book recommendations.

For my audience right now, 8th graders with limited experience and bravery with technology and trying new things, the wiki is working well. It’s changed the way I present independent work since I hate making copies. It’s also easier now to give students make-up work. They got to the wiki, either to the page with the weekly agenda, or the page with daily assignments, and can complete them on a sheet of paper, or print the PDF and go from there.

Now, to get the kids who have a number of absences and no internet at home (which is most of my students) to make getting those assignments a priority.

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