At the beginning of November, I introduced my P4 class to Edmodo with the aim of encouraging them to set up a class blog where they would post short diary entries about what they had been doing in and out of school. I explained that I hoped we would then want to open it up to parents for their comments when we felt we had interesting things to share.
My own blog experience and my reading of Marsh’s and Carrington’s tables (2008) in Beyond Current Horizons, had inspired me to try something different with my class. There are, of course, security issues to be aware of and overcome so I decided to kick things off with Edmodo, a very secure site where I could set up a password-controlled members only group. A separate password can then be given to parents, to view and comment.
There was great excitement when the children were introduced to Edmodo. They loved choosing an avatar and a quote which would represent them in some way. They loved trying it out and chatting with each other. A few of the eight year olds exclaimed how similar to Facebook it was. I was hoping the blog would inspire the children to write more, to express themselves, to communicate with a wider audience. I was hoping they would go on it at home, once or twice a week. However, things have slowed down a little. Some are very keen to use it but are obviously not certain how to push things forward, so I’ll need to add some more structure. Some of them have great difficulty remembering their usernames and passwords.
An article about Carronshore Primary’s class blogs in TESS (2 November 2012) has also thrown up a few more issues to consider. Their teacher, Margaret Vass, uses a public blog site, Edublogs, and just covers the safety aspects with the class. The class also progressed to setting up individual blogs after trying a whole class one.
At the moment, we’re enjoying playing about with it. It fits under Play in Carrington’s digital literacies table (2008) and also Collective Intelligence although the ‘fluid expert-novice relationships’ are short on the expert and heavy on the novice. I’m heartened by the fact Margaret Vass set her class blog up in 2006. It makes me feel that I’ve got a year or two to get something half-decent together.