Craig Badura (@mrbadura) is an innovative educator from Nebraska who has agreed to share his pedagogical insights about student blogging. Craig is a huge advocate for Kidblog, and when we first approached him for the candid Q&A, his response was: “I am humbled that Kidblog is asking me questions! I am just enamored by the quality of your product and how easy it is to integrate into any curriculum!” Thanks, Craig! Let’s get to it.
Kidblog: Craig, welcome! tell us a little bit about yourself, and what you do.
Craig Badura: I am in my first year as the PK-12 Integration Specialist for Aurora Public Schools in Aurora, Nebraska. For the first eleven years of my career I was a Social Studies teacher. I have a passion for the integration of technology into the classroom and enjoy finding ways to best utilize the various technologies to best meet the needs of our teachers and students.
Kidblog: Very cool! Tell us about your class—What grade, size of class, etc.
CB: I don’t have “a class.” per se. Instead, I am responsible for educating and assisting the 1,200 students in grades PK-12 and 100 certified teachers in our school district.
Kidblog: That sounds like a big job! How did you hear about Kidblog?
CB: I found about Kidblog last year on Twitter. I had read a blog about it, looked at the website and the rest is history!
Kidblog: Nice. How long have you been using Kidblog?
CB: I have been using Kidblog for the last two years.
Kidblog: Will you share with us a few examples of lessons or topics you have the students blog about?
CB: Previous to my current position, I was K-5 Media/Integration Specialist. I found that Kidblog offered me a great way to educate students in a safe, secure environment about what a “blog” is. I had students creating blog posts on various subjects. We blogged about everything from their favorite “snow day” memories, to what they would do if they were stranded on a deserted island. I also used Kidblog as a hosting resource for Web 2.0 products that students had created using BigHugeLabs or Voki. Essentially, Kidblog gives an educator the opportunity to create an E-portfolio of student work.
Here is a link to some student examples: http://kidblog.org/YESDuke5/author/kaitlyn957333/
Kidblog: So Craig, in what ways have you seen Kidblog change the way your students interact?
CB: It hasn’t necessarily changed the way that our students interact. It has created a great environment in which to train our students how to interact. I like to teach kids how to leave a positive comment. Too often we see students leaving inappropriate comments on sites. Kidblog allows me the ability to moderate student comments before they are made public. If a student does leave a negative comment, they are not making a mistake in front of the whole world, just me. I can talk to this student about their comment and correct their behavior.
Kidblog: How has Kidblog been received by parents or administrators?
CB: I have had nothing but positive support for parents and administration. Students of today need to be creating, collaborating and designing. The Kidblog platform gives students a great opportunity to do all three!
Kidblog: We agree J Has Kidblog changed the way you approach the writing process?
CB: In my position I don’t deal with writing curriculum, but after using it for two years I know that Kidblog is a great platform for teachers to use when instructing students in writing. Students of today will be exposed to many opportunities to write, whether it’s in paper format or a digital manner. In my experience, students seem to be more engaged when it comes to writing in a digital manner. Students are able to express their ideas on a global platform.
Kidblog: How has Kidblog impacted students’ motivation and engagement?
CB: Kidblog should be synonymous with the words “motivation” and “engagement.” Students LOVE to blog. It’s new, it’s different, it’s digital. They can receive comments from ANYWHERE in the world. When you bring another set of eyes to that blog instead of just the classroom teacher, you have created an authentic writing experience. Students of today will be publishing their own material. Kidblog offers the perfect opportunity. Several times, I have noticed that the students find the word count feature that Kidblog offers. I have observed that students like to “beat” their previous blog post in regards to word count!
Kidblog: Do you have advice for other teachers as their students start creating digital content online?
CB: It is time to start creating opportunities in your classroom that will prepare your students for their future. Ian Jukes said, “We need to start preparing kids for their future instead of our past.” Creating digital content and publishing it online should be a requirement in all classrooms. Students need to be taught these skills, as they will be using them in their careers. Kidblog and their platform provide you with a fabulous opportunity. Will you utilize it?
Kidblog: Thank you so much for your time today. Best wishes for continued blogging success!