Students need to read blogs! I cannot overstate this fact enough. If you really want blogging to be transformative and you want it to sustain itself as a powerful piece of the classroom environment, it starts with reading blogs and learning about the philosophy of this genre: critical reading, connecting and synthesizing ideas, communicating publicly, creating, contributing, community linking and building, and moving cyclically. Without this step, students are more likely to see it merely as an online equivalent to a journal (an expensive notebook) or even worse, word processing.”How true.
And, on another matter but equally relevant for me is a post from Stephen Downes:
If people want more right-wing teachers, there’s a really simple way to do it: pay them more. That way, you’ll get teachers who are motivated by the money passing on capitalist values rather than people who are motivated by social service talking about cooperating and sharing, about rights and diversity.I recommend that you read both posts in full.
Then today, while listening to a Seedlings podcast by Bob Sprankle, Cheryl Oaks, and Alice Barr (go team) I heard that Voicethread is giving free pro accounts to educators. This means that you can record audio comments, make text comments, Doodling, (not sure about this yet) sharing, full screen presentations, Flickr and Facebook importing, embedding, zooming, identities, simple and secure privacy control, moderation and an unlimited number of VoiceThreads, storage and Image, doc and video file size limit. Sounds good to me.
I thought about using it for my Year 7 class by having them record the findings they made from researching the First World War in the course of studying the novel by Jennie Walters, Standing in the Shadows. I am starting to try it out myself before getting the students to try it. I did show the class the beautiful Voicethread narrated by three year old Rachel Fryer about her new haircut. They loved it. Go and have a look yourself.