Last week we had to read, comment on, and write about Mr. McClung's blog written back in May of 2009, in his first year of teaching, and this week our assignment was his current blog for his 8th grade class. Dr. Strange has found his blog to be exemplary enough that we are looking at it in great detail. This is, in my opinion, a good idea because blogs like this are great tools with which to supplement our classrooms.
I like that he uses his blog as a tool for educating his 8th grade history class but also, the reader feels included. When you go to his blog, you don't feel like it is exclusively aimed at those involved with his class, his school, or his community. He uses his blog to assist his students but also to show the different uses for a class blog to those thinking of following his example.
The way Mr. McClung's blog is set up is very user-friendly, which is important when keeping in mind that it is aimed for the use of 8th graders. Also their parents and family members are more likely to keep up with it to see what their students are learning because they can easily navigate the different posts and tabs, etc. I also like that the posts are very visual and organized by date. The images that accompany the posts are all striking and make the reader want to know more. This seems like it would accomplish its job of keep 8th grade digital natives engaged and interested. Another thing is that it is easy to keep up with. Past assignments and posts can be easily filed to check back at later. The tabs at the top of the page add easy accessibility to exactly what you are looking for without having to search or scroll all the way down the page.
The things that I know how to do with my own class blog are more limited than Mr. McClung's seems to be but I hope that by the end of the term I will be more advanced and will be thinking of even better uses.
Things I do not know how to do with my blog: The "drop shots" and the photo sharing programs, and I am also not that proficient at the html code thing but I am getting there and hope to one day have a very impressive blog that I can one day use as a resume when it comes time for me to apply for a job as a teacher. :)
Mr. McClung's students make use of his blog to broadcast what they are learning. They can post pictures, videos, etc. as evidence of their progress or they can publish their opinions, speak up about what they want to learn and speak out about how they feel about it. His students can also keep up with the comments they are receiving on his blog wall.
Not only can his students interact with his blog, but outsiders can as well. I have heard of school websites that had an exclusive blog that users had to sign in to get to and was aimed at only those who were a part of that school district. Mr. McClung's blog is one that is aimed at the rest of the world being available to his students to learn from. Users can leave them a comment, donate, watch the videos, listen to the music his class is listening to, online chat with Mr. McClung about his class or their projects, and much more! It is easy to get involved and learn things that you can apply to your own blog. Parents can easily keep track of what their students have submitted and commented, and so can administrators, for grading purposes.
His 8th grade blog differs from other blogs because he equally balances between assignments and extracurricular things like their projects with Susan G. Komen for the cure. He also thanked our class for our participation and involvement with his blog! I actually felt like we were really involved! Thank you to Mr. McClung and your class for allowing us to be involved with your learning!