I began experimenting with student blogging five years ago as a third grade classroom teacher. Now that I have a few more years of experience under my belt and have transitioned to the role of K-12 Technology Integrationist, I have a few tips for other Tech Integrationists facilitating Kidblog schoolwide.
In working with teachers from varying grade levels and departments, there are several roles a Tech Integrationist must take:
Pioneer – Try Kidblog yourself! Find a way to get a small group of students blogging under your direction and run through as many parts of the process as you can. Study the results and let each experience direct you. Through such experimentation, we were made aware of specific areas where our students needed help. In response, we developed laminated flip cards to remind K-2 students of the next step when creating a post. We assigned all young students an easy-to-remember password, making sure it did not require excessive typing or letter recognition skill just to sign in. We determined different safety guidelines for our Kindergarteners vs our 8th graders.
If you do not have any of your own students, get creative. For example, consider running a 6-week writing club after school. Or ask a teacher to allow their students to try blogging during writing time. Learn, take notes, observe, and become knowledgeable about the platform.
Once you have a bit of experience using Kidblog, publicize what can be done. Show examples at a staff meeting or technology training. Get your staff excited! Start small (2-3 classes), then add more classes or grade levels each year.
Coordinator – With a Kidblog Admin Pro account, a Tech Integrationist can work behind the scenes to set up student accounts, connect classes, and even approve posts or comments. You and your teachers can determine who manages each aspect of the blogging experience, based on their needs and comfort level.
If you use Kidblog to facilitate connecting to a class outside your school, the Tech Integrationist can coordinate this as well. Handling the logistics, email communication, and questions from a connecting teacher allows the classroom teachers and the students to reap the benefits of being a connecting class, without drowning in the details. Your main roles here are to ensure that each teacher is meeting their instructional goals, as well as to create a great experience for all.
Troubleshooter – Most teachers are more willing to try new technology if there is someone available when something doesn’t work. My teachers know they can email or text for help and I will do my best to respond in a timely manner. Use your knowledge of Kidblog to assist with technical difficulties. If you don’t know the answer, I have found firstname.lastname@example.org to be very responsive. The Tech Integrationist or teacher can communicate with Kidblog directly to resolve any issues.
Coach – This is one of our most important roles. As a technology coach for your staff, you must evaluate each teacher’s familiarity and comfort level with the technology being used. Then, help them to advance one step in their journey. It is best if you determine the aspect of Kidblog that most closely matches the teacher’s academic goals. For example, high school english teachers may want to learn how to type private comments on their students’ posts for editing purposes. Kindergarten teachers may be more interested in knowing how to troubleshoot when the student “pushes the wrong button” and can’t find their way back. Develop your staff’s expertise in whatever area helps achieve their goals.
Co-teacher – Since most Tech Integrationists started our careers as classroom teachers, this part is always the most fun. Get in the classroom with your teachers and teach as a team.
My teachers guide the content. Students have posted about everything from self-selected texts to science experiments to persuasive essays. In Kindergarten, we are sometimes just happy to find the period key on the keyboard.
I have developed lessons for many aspects of Kidblog. I can now take these to any classroom and use the lesson specific to the age group and their current experience with Kidblog. We cover basics such as signing in, choosing an avatar, and how to post. I incorporate digital citizenship topics such as how the internet works, being safe online, and writing conversational, intelligent comments.
You bring the expertise on how to use this tool, and the teacher brings the content they wish to cover. Plan ahead of time in person or over email. Know what the focus will be for each lesson when you come in, and what goals the teacher hopes to achieve. This tool can be a great way to accomplish those goals!
Current Kidblog members: If you’re a teacher with multiple colleagues using Kidblog in your school/district, Admin Pro is simply a better plan for you. Email email@example.com to learn about benefits and volume discounts.