Ms. Cassidy's Skype interview was very interesting. I really enjoyed this blog post assignment because it was something different. I also really like the fact that she was a teacher using the tools that we use in a practical manner in her classroom. She did not have to cut out essential subjects or standards because she wanted to teach the students to use technology through blogs and wikis. She simply incorporated it into the already existing curriculum. Ms. Cassidy had some great ideas on how to protect students' privacy and security and why the students and parents both enjoy students' blogs.
Ms. Cassidy pointed out a number of ways that blogs can be useful for classroom use even in subjects that one would not normally think blogs in which could be useful. For example in physical education, game and practice schedules can be posted on a class blog, along with game scores and highlights. For elementary physical education classes, teachers could use it to let parents know what activities they will be focusing on that week in PE and see pictures of their children doing the activities. For students in elementary school, it is really neat for parents to be able to be involved and see exactly what their students are doing throughout the year instead of waiting until teacher conferences twice a year. Students also like to see that so many people all over their world look at their work and even comment on it. This gives the students a sense of pride in their work.
One of the questions that comes up a lot regarding students using the internet, technology, and blogs is privacy, security, and ensuring students do not look at inappropriate websites. At the very beginning of the year I plan on sending home a letter explaining to the parents how we will use technology and request permission. I will also ask permission to post pictures of the students on the class blog. A good way to protect student's privacy is to never post students' last names and only use their first names on the internet. Another thing is to never match their names with pictures. It is ok to post pictures, but not identify the students by name in the pictures. Another great tip that she gave us is to create a list of approved site for the students. Just like Ms. Cassidy I will have elementary school students so create boundaries is very important for them. Students will only be allowed to access the sites on the list or sites that the student has asked specific permission about from parents or teachers. These are several ways to protect students and their security when using technology with such a young age.