Blogging: The Digital Literacy Silver Bullet

Catalog Description:
Blogging is a practice that supports multimodal communication and the opportunity to teach digital citizenship authentically. Skilled communicators must be adept at communicating in multiple modalities for diverse audiences and purposes. Many Nevada Academic Content Standards address the need for skilled communication and digital technology. This course will explore why blogging is an important digital writing skill, how to leverage it to teach digital citizenship, reflection of learning, and engaging families. Participants will also create and practice blogging.

Allow 5 - 7 hours per session for completion of all requirements.

This is a course for teachers, technology specialists, curriculum specialists, professional development specialists, or other interested school personnel. Participants are expected to have regular access to computers.  In addition, participants should be proficient with using email, browsing the Internet, and navigating to computer files.

Course Goals and Objectives:
The goal of this course is to introduce educators to blogging- what it is, how to implement it in the classroom, and the benefits of preparing students to be skilled communicators in the 21st Century. In addition to supporting a plethora of ELA standards, blogging is a medium that encourages critical thinking, communication, collaboration, and creativity. This course will explore aspects of blogging including blogging basics, digital citizenship, family engagement, and assessment.

During this course, participants will learn skills and strategies to:

  • Learn what blogs are, understand the process of blogging in a classroom setting, and explore ways that blogging supports reading, writing, and digital citizenship.
  • Learn how blogging is multimodal, digital communication that meets a variety of purposes as well as communicating with diverse audiences.
  • Understand the importance of communicating goals and expectations with parents and administration and leverage blogs to build community among these groups.
  • Understand how to integrate authentic teaching of digital citizenship skills -including safety, fair use, creative commons, and copyright through the use of blogging.
  • Learn how to assess, evaluate, and encourage peer review and feedback through blogging.
  • Gain ideas and strategies for connecting with authentic audiences outside the classroom walls.

Course Requirements:
This course is divided into six one-week sessions, each of which includes readings, an activity, and an online discussion among course participants. The time for completing each session is estimated to be between five to seven hours. Participants are expected to be engaged in course activities for approximately 30 hours during the six-session course.  

Discussion Participation:
Students will be evaluated on the frequency and quality of their discussion board participation.  Students are required to post a minimum of two substantial postings each session, including one that begins a new thread and one that responds to an existing thread.  Postings that begin new threads will be reviewed based on their relevance, demonstrated understanding of course concepts, examples cited, and overall quality.  Postings that respond to other students will be evaluated on relevance, degree to which they extend the discussion, and tone.  Each week a new question will be posted to the discussion board for participants to answer and respond.

Required Readings, Activities and Assignments:

Orientation: (1-2 hours)
Participants will prepare for the course with an introductory reading and ice breaker activity. Participants will read tip sheets for participating in online discussions, credit information, and complete an orientation survey.

Session One:  Blogging: What is it? Why Should I do it? (5-7 hours)

In this module, participants will learn what a blog is, how it can be applied in a K-12 classroom setting, and the benefits of doing so. They will read articles that explain why multimodal communication (like blogging) is essential to prepare students for the 21st Century.

The discussion for the week will be:

After reviewing the sample blogs, identify your "Likes" and "Dislikes" and any ideas you have about implementing blogging in the classroom. Did any of these blogs inspire you or give you ideas about how it can support literacy in your classroom? What questions do you have about blogging? Make sure you make several connections to the course content (readings and videos). Read and respond to at least 2 colleagues. Please cite and reference your evidence.

Session Two:  Kill Two Birds with One Stone- Teach Safety and Digital Citizenship through Blogging (5-7 hours)

In this module, participants will learn strategies and explore resources for teaching digital citizenship and Internet safety through blogging. Teaching these skills embedded in the authentic task of blogging makes it a more meaningful and relevant than learning them isolated.

The discussion for the week will be:

Use the resources in this module to help you Identify or create a lesson/ activity that you could implement with your class to teach digital citizenship. Share the details in the discussion forum.

Comment and provide feedback to a minimum of 2 of your peer’s plans. 

Session Three: Purpose through Planning (5-7 hours)

In this module, participants will reflect and identify their purposes for blogging in the classroom and make important decisions about how they will build and implement.
This week’s discussion will be:

Summarize the key features of your plan (from the survey that you completed).  What questions do you still have? What challenges do you anticipate? What are you particularly excited about?

Session Four:  Building a Blog (5-7 hours)

In this module, learners will explore various blogging platforms and choose one to build their own blog. 

  • Summarize what platform(s) you explored and what you ultimately chose. What features helped you make your decision?
  • Share any successes, questions, challenges or concerns you are experiencing.  

Session Five:  Keep Your Blog Healthy (5-7 hours)

In this module, participants will learn strategies and ideas for keeping blogs alive and well. Tips for effective commenting and replying, as well as peer review and assessment will be covered. 

The discussion for the week is: 

What is your plan for keeping blogs alive and healthy? How will you help students with peer feedback, effective commenting?  How will you assess? What are your non-negotiables?
Cite specific evidence from 2 or more different sources in your post.

Session Six:  Using Blogs to Make Connections and Extend Learning (5-7 hours)

In our final week, participants will read and view various resources related to making authentic connections with global audiences. In addition, explore ideas for involving families and building communities through the use of blogs.

The week’s discussion is: 

Respond to this blog post on your own individual blog: Share your favorite takeaways/ ideas for using blogs to engage parents and families. Visit a minimum of 3 peer blogs and comment/ reply.



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