Thursday, July 17, 2008

Journal #1

Shifflet, Rena, & Toledo, Cheri (2008). Extreme makeover: updating class activities for the 21st century. Learning and Leading in Technology. 34-35. Retrieved on July 13, 2008, from

The first of two articles was titled “Extreme Makeover: Updating Class Activities for the 21st Century.” Within this article Shifflet and Toledo discussed the use of web based programs in the classroom “Free web-based applications such as Zoho writer maintain a restorable archive for all changed made to students work” (Shifflet and Toledo, 2008). While Shifflet and Toledo make some very good points about why technology should be incorporated into the classroom, such as ease of grading, easy accessibility for absent students, and an alternative inlet for students to contribute to the classroom discussions and topics they may feel are to “risky” to their reputation to talk about in class I feel that having students use computers for their assignments may be pushing the boundaries of education a bit.

Mader, Jared, & Smith, Ben (2008). Blogging right along. Learning and Leading in Technology. 36. Retrieved on July 13, 2008, from

The second article was published by Jared Mader and Ben Smith and is entitled “blogging right along.” In this article Mader and Smith describe how blogs can help students in the classroom “One way is to use blogging through a daily or weekly log or journal of classroom events”.

One of the questions I had for this article is: If students are allowed to use computers to complete the assignments given to them by their teachers, what will happen to written English?

My concern is that if students are allowed to use computers instead of writing out their assignments with pen and paper, then their English skills will diminish. Another problem I saw occurred to me when I was in my first college class and I was asked to do my first college paper I had to stop myself from putting …’s after a thought, or a ha-ha/lol after something funny I wrote. There is a difference between writing in a blog and writing a paper.

The answer to this question is that the teacher’s must maintain high standards for students, and must remind the student that there online assignments are not chat rooms where they can do as they please and receive an A for F work. As “responsible” computer users they are expected to maintain their blogs, pictures, and newsletters as if they were doing a classroom assignment and no teacher should pass substandard work because it was submitted through a blog or the internet, your students aren’t stupid, they know what is expected of them, but they are waiting to see how you will act, because if they can get away with doing the minimum amount of work they will.

A second question I had was how can I use blogs for more than homework assignments?

The answer to this question is I have to be committed to communicating with my students. I know its easy for teachers to collapse into “maintain mode” where they put in the minimal amount of effort, and they just keep the status quo, but blogs are wonderful tools for teachers to use. Blogs can be used to post articles you want your students to read books you think are interesting, and even music from the era your text books are talking about.

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