This is your doing, isn't it, Dad?

My oldest son hopped in the car today after school and said, "Guess what we're doing in Biology? We're blogging.

My oldest son hopped in the car today after school and said, "Guess what we're doing in Biology? We're blogging. I'm not complaining, but this sure sounds like your doing, Dad."

Not surprisingly, I ran a day of professional development last Friday where we specifically looked at MassOne, a system created by the Massachusetts Department of Education to facilitate online communication and collaboration between students and teachers. As a faculty, we largely weren't thrilled about the implementation as it stood right now (there are some great pieces to MassOne, but it still has a ways to go in terms of usability and flexibility), but we did take part of the day to discuss alternatives.

Blogging of course came up and, while a few teachers have had good luck posting notes, links, assignments, etc., in blogs, many were unaware of how easy tools like WordPress and Blogger made it to create content online and allow students to interact with it.

Similarly, one teacher showed the rest of us a truly extensive site she created using Hotchalk to manage all of her classes. It wasn't long before a cluster of teachers with their laptops began clicking away, creating accounts, and beginning to set up their own pages. As one teacher put it, "It's a lot of work, but once everything is set up, it's actually easier to make sure that students are on top of things."

There are many systems that either integrate with your SIS or provide far more functionality than a simple blog or even sites like Hotchalk (notably Moodle). However, the teachers I support were excited just to be trying these new technologies in a completely flexible way. As more adopt Web 2.0-style means of delivering content to students, we can evaluate an integrated system. For now, they're just happy to be communicating in ways that resonate with the kids. Better yet, my own kid is happy to be writing his biology lab report and posting it on his teacher's blog.


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