This morning I was asked to teach an Introduction to Blogging session to a class of new students in Early Childhood Teaching. As part of their first assignment they are asked to blog for 8 weeks about an “education and society” topic of their choosing. Unfortunately we were unable to book a computer lab (rarer than hen’s teeth on Monday between 10-12), so I agreed to teach a one-hour session and support that with tutorials and a Blogging support forum in our Moodle course site.
There was a wide range of existing blog experience in this class. A few had never accessed a blog (or just didn’t raise their hands) but two students blogged regularly as part of their Early Childhood Centre teams.
In last year’s course we ran a computer lab session in which I introduced blogging and then helped students set up a WordPress.com blog. Eventually this proved a little overwhelming for some. “Too many settings”, they said. So this year I changed my session to allow choice of a blogging tool, ranging from very simple (Posterous) to a little more complex (Blogger) to more complex but with most options (WordPress.com). In fact, and this was probably a duh-moment, but I think that not doing it in a computer lab, helped me focus the session away from the tools and more on what blogging is about and how they can use it to support their learning.
I began by establishing a common vocabulary, explaining the anatomy of a blog by demonstrating my own and some of Alec Couros’ ECI831 student blogs. I labelled all the parts for them: blog title, post, category, etc. during the session. But then I thought it might be helpful for first time bloggers to have a graphic that labels all the parts in our Moodle course. So I created the graphic below. Your feedback is appreciated and feel free to use it if you’re doing an Introduction to Blogging session.
I look forward to seeing how their blogs develop over the next few weeks. I may get you, my PLN, to provide them with some comments.