Wonders of the Web

My use of the Web and blogs has escalated over the past few months as a direct result of the COETAIL course. While I had my own class blog and my students had created their own personal blogs as e-portfolios, neither had been used to its true potential. With guidance from Jeff Utecht in COETAIL course readings and the help of Chrissy Hellyer, our ES Technology Coach, I have stepped up my own blogging skills and those of my students. My most important learning was that I should be a mentor for my students and guide them in what a quality blog post looks like by using my own blog as an examplar.

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While I’ve been using blogs as a learning tool over the past three years at the International School Bangkok, I’ve found it difficult to find the time to update our class blog. Now, by using the power of images or video, I am able to make quick posts with thought provoking questions. I’ve still got a long way to go but, boy has it made a difference in the quality of my students’ blogs.

My students and I are now aiming to make quality blog posts, using hyperlinks, asking questions to draw in readers and make connections to our learning. Our goal is to encourage our readers to comment and make our blog posts viewer friendly. By embedding YouTube videos and other digital products such as VoiceThread and Photo Peach our posts have become more visually appealing. We’re all hoping to connect more with our readers and create our Personal Learning Networks (PLN). By reading others’ blogs and commenting, we hope to build up our readers and share our thinking and creations globally. There are still many more people lurking on our blogs, myself included, but I’m hoping that over time we’ll all get better at leaving comments and connecting with our global friends.

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Now, the next step is to continue to build our PLN. By connecting with fellow COETAILers, Emily Roth and Brad Thies, we hope to share our learning and connect with digital tools such as Twitter and Skype. Inspired by fellow COETAILer, Ben Sheridan, our aim is to create a PLN on Twitter to connect our classes in a similar vein to Sheridan’s Twitter project. A Skype call between our classes will also be a great way to follow up the top 10 lists of our class favorite reads we shared.

Right now, the world is our oyster. With so many inspired teachers involved in the COETAIL program, and great mentors such as Jeff Utecht and Chrissy Hellyer at our fingertips, we have unlimited opportunities to make global connections and collaborate.

Time is always our biggest challenge, and over the coming months I’ll be working on finding more effective ways to integrate technology into the classroom. Building PLNs, creating effective blogs that draw in readers and experimenting with new digital tools in the classroom to create global connections, are all on the agenda.





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7 Responses to “Wonders of the Web”

  • Avatar of eroth Comment from eroth

    Cheryl, I am beyond excited to embark on this project with you! You’re right–the world IS our oyster–let’s dive in! By the way, I went on Twitter tonight and searched “Grade 4″ and found tons of grade 4 classes all over the world wanting to connect like us. Good news:)

    I also want to recognize COETAIL and Jeff for helping me develop my digital footprint. I have grown exponentially in just these few short months!

    • Avatar of Cheryl Terry Comment from Cheryl Terry

      I’m excited to get started too, Emily! How great that there are other Grade 4 classes already signed up. That means we could easily build our PLNs and connect with people who are already keen to use Twitter and collaborate. Thanks for the idea- it sounds like it’s full steam ahead!

  • Avatar of Diana Beabout Comment from Diana Beabout

    Cheryl…Thanks for sharing your enthusiasm! I’ve found myself at times through these first two courses of COETAIL both excited and overwhelmed with all the learning I’m experiencing and anxious to share more with my students and other teachers. Our students have e-portfolios which have mostly be a place for reflections but now I realize (and your post reminded me) that this could be the platform for so much more. I think it’s taken this year (my first at an international school and with student blogs) and this COETAIL course to get me more familiar and comfortable with the potential of using blogs. I’d love to see my students using their blogs for more than just reflections after an assignment or activity. What would be your suggestions for a teacher wanting to get quality blogging going in their classroom?

    • Avatar of Cheryl Terry Comment from Cheryl Terry

      Dear Diana,

      I’m so glad to hear that you’re feeling more comfortable with blogging and creating e-portfolios. It definitely is a long process and requires some planning to encourage quality blog posts. Take a look at my post on Quality Blogging, as I learned a lot from Chrissy Hellyer, our tech coach.

  • Avatar of Jeff Utecht Comment from Jeff Utecht

    WOW you’ve been busy. So great to see all the amazing stuff you are doing with your students around their blogs. Great work and love the building of PLNs. What excites me the most is the work you are doing with the kids around seeing their blogs as true portfolios of learning and as they continue their education at ISB that will just grow. The skills you are helping them develop now in 4th grade will be skills they use the rest of their educational lives here at ISB……so from all the teachers 5 – 12 grade….thank you! :)

    • Avatar of Cheryl Terry Comment from Cheryl Terry

      Thanks Jeff,

      It’s amazing to see what Grade 4 students are capable of. It’s also exciting to try out new tools and I’m continually finding new ways to effectively communicate our ideas and create projects. We’re all enjoying learning together and I’m excited to see how the 4th graders can start creating a positive digital footprint.

  • Avatar of Jo Thies Comment from Jo Thies

    The power of the blog. My niece blogged all through her Masters Program. Before it was even time for her to look for a job, she was contacted an administrator of a private school that had been following her for the two years. Talk about a positive digital footprint.

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