Why Is It Soo Much Hassle?

One day a week I go back to my old school to “do things with the computers”. Sometimes it is fun stuff that involves working with students such as introducing grade3-4 students to the joy of Garage Band. This is great fun and so enlightening both to the students and the teachers who are generally watching or working in as well. Gee it also makes me look really good as a teacher and if I let it, the ego is massaged massively :).

Sometimes it can also be a little deceptive as I can generally troubleshoot pretty well when errant students click on the “other button”or the like. Sometimes this bites back too when the teacher has to continue the exploration and more than one or two miss hit buttons occur at once. That sense of helplessness about how to solve the problem can lead to lack of desire on that teacher’s behalf to do no more than the safe aspects of computers, (but more of that another time).

Some other times life is much more humdrum as in today. Some time back I ran a session where a group of teachers got together to set up blogs. Now it was my mistake but I thought we were setting up class blogs which all students were to belong to when in fact the intention was to set up individual student blogs. It wasn’t until we had almost completed the process that the true intention of the exercise finally got through to me but by then it was well after school and most teachers had to beg off to do the normal things of picking up loved ones etc.

As a result we had to revisit the whole enrollment again which because of timetable constraints and other commitments etc meant we really couldn’t do it all together or some tried to do it by themselves in small grabs of time. Because of this slipups and other problems occurred which of course I felt quite guilty about. In the end it was going to be easier for me to go back through the records and make sure that all of the students were properly set up with a blog and functioning Username and Password that were familiar to them.

Some four hours later of checking and renovating I finally think things are as they should be and the students can start their blogging journey. It all goes to show that there is still a long way to go before we could safely say that ALL teachers can easily enter their students into the blogosphere. Also just the one hour or so to enroll and ensure that your students are a member of a blogging or wiki community can be more than many teachers can spare especially if they are trepidatious about blogging in the first place.

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7 Responses to Why Is It Soo Much Hassle?

  1. Hang in there John !

  2. Darrel says:

    Hi John,
    I have found that 21classes.com is very teacher friendly in setting up blogs for a class portal and for individual student blogs. They give full control to the teacher and there are fine grained permissions for publishing. However, you won’t get all the themes and widgets like you can at edublogs.org and the limit for an account is 2mb.
    You can also do some class blogs at globalstudents.org.au, they have a simple admin process to setup multiple accounts and/or individual blogs. This site and globalteacher.org.au were developed by Jamie farmer( the founder of edublogs) for the state library AFAIK.
    cheers
    Darrel

  3. Sue Waters says:

    I agree with Lauren – hang in there. Edublogs is the same as globalstudent and lets you set up multiple blogs at the same time (20 at a time I think). However I think that these teachers would have all been better started off initially with class blogs if if they have trepidations about blogging in the first place.

  4. johnp says:

    Hi esteemed colleagues Sue, Lauren and Darrell,

    Thanks for the very kind concern and advice however I am actually using Globalstudent, (nee edublogs) and I was using the advanced blog creator facility, thank goodness otherwise it would have been totally horrendous. I guess my little whinge was not so much a complaint but more a recognition that many other teachers are no so bloody minded, (no computer’s gonna get the better of me ‘cos I know where the kill button is), or as pig headed, (gee is that the time 2am??) as me. I could well see my work based colleagues deciding that blogs just aren’t their scene if it takes so much effort. Now that the students have a blog identity it is so much easier next time. Now if only we could actually trust the students to do the blog create themselves, (now hang on and don’t tell the principal, but I know that some of the students already do know this and have been creating away merrily but more of that in a post).

  5. Anne Baird says:

    I agree with you entirely John and have experienced that situation before particularly in helping teachers to set up wikis.
    I have just been thinking about this as I spent three hours last night with a teacher from a neighbouring school who asked me to help her set up a class blog and individual blogs for her students. I feel really excited for her as she walked away feeling on top of the moon and so excited about the possibilities. I think what worked for us was that we had an email conversation in the week before discussing what she wanted to use them for (initially for students to share their poetry and have other students and tchs comment ). We thought about the different tools she might use and settled on blogs as they suited the purpose of the activity. Then we sat down together and walked through the process, setting up a classblog and one student blog. Then she wrote one post on the class blog, she changed the design, we added one comment so that she could experience the moderation of comments, we added a couple of widgets. We talked about what she does as an administrator and made a decision about the settings for the students. Contributors at this stage. She is now going to set up her class using the user and blog creator. (we are using learnerblogs) Finally she set up her own personal blog in globalteachers and we talked about what she would do with that blog. She wants to be able to reflect and discuss with colleagues her teaching experiences as she is in a small school and the only Grade 5/6 teacher. She is so excited about is all and I feel certain that she is going to ‘fly’ because she is looking at it from the point of view of her students and her own professional practice.

  6. una raimondo says:

    John: thanks for sharing the cognitive dissonance that can exist between teachers and IT folk. I feel that I am in good company – I feel this often in my work as a school principal. Personally the path I want to pursue is setting up teacher subject blogs this school year – the first five weeks for math, science and english. Before the end of the year, a teacher and I established a social studies blog that will be shared by 5 teachers!. Like yourself, summer vacation intruded on these efforts and whereas I have agreed to maintain it this is what I call “incongruent” dialogue – the teacher saying she is too busy to develop the blog and the work falling on me because I will am responsible for charting progress!

  7. una raimondo says:

    John – you have my permission to use my blog as a teaching tool. I also access Tapped In, Twitter and Ning.
    Will be doing more posts on the Leadership role in technology subversion:(

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