While this phrase could apply to virtually every new gadget I stumble across, it was actually uttered by another teacher I was working with this weekend. She happened to notice the simple blog I use to post assignments for my students and was thrilled at the prospect of using this really simple medium for communication and collaboration.
The blog itself is no big deal, just a simple (and free) Blogger account, courtesy of our friends at Google. However, given that the vast majority of my students (and thus, their parents) have Internet access, this is a really easy way to make syllabi accessible, keep kids and parents up to date on assignments, and solicit feedback. This week, I'm going to start requiring that brief writing assignments be posted as comments to the blog rather than submitted via email or (*dramatic gasp*) on paper.
Many student information systems have similar functionality, but blogging, whether through your SIS, your school's ISP or web server, or an application like Blogger, remains remarkably foreign to a lot of teachers. This is, however, an incredibly easy tool for them to learn and use and gives them a nice introduction to the wide world of Web 2.0.
Better yet, once you identify a trusted student or two, they can post the majority of your daily materials, either directly accessing the blog as authors (if the blog platform supports it, as Blogger does) or often via email (where the subject line of the email is automatically translated into the subject line of the post).
It's just plain easy and gives students a sense of collaboration as well, since they can easily post, reply, and interact. Here's a link to a Blogger how to. While there are many services out there of this nature, this is an easy way to get started. Teachers, check with your IT folks for anything like this that they might be hosting for you already; IT folks, let your teachers know about blogging for their students. For many of your teachers, the wow factor alone could be enough to drag them into 2007.