I like to use blogs and wikis to communicate with students and parents and for students to share their work with the world. Blogs are also a great way to connect with other student bloggers around the world for collaboration. I send home a permission slip letter on the first day of class just to let parents know that we are using certain web tools and posting our work on-line.

  • Here are some resources I use to talk about "netiquette"
That's not cool
No such thing as deleted on Internet
College admissions scan Facebook
Real Statistics about On-line Predatator

  • I also like to use real news stories about social media. These really interest the students.
No privacy in Facebook
Is it safe to post children's pictures on-line
Picture stolen from Facebook
Flickr Perversion
College student expelled for derogatory Facebook

  • When setting up student blogs I use a g-mail hack so that I control all of their blog. The process is explained on this blog.

I use Google Reader and RSS feeds to track my student's blogs. This is critical for monitoring content, appropriateness, and safety. I subscribe to the RSS feed for the posts of each student's blog. This helps with knowing when to grade a post and keeping track of whether they are completing their work. If a student re-works a post they must tell me though because it will not be re-posted to me. My students have both required posts where they report on a project and many choose to write their own optional posts. We use screencasts to record our computer projects and share them on our blogs.

  • Check out these videos for an explanation of how RSS feeds and Google Reader work.
RSS in plain English
Google Reader in plain English

If the teacher is the only one reading student blogs then they are just another boring assignment. An important part of blogging is audience. I use comments4kids to connect my students with other student bloggers from around the world.This increases the motivation for the students tremendously when they realize that others are reading their work.

I use the class wiki to organize materials and assignments for students. I like the wiki format because I can create multiple pages easily. I have a page for each different class I teach. I also have a separate page for major projects and a separate page with my lesson plans from Google Calendar embedded on it. I have a page that is an embedded Google Form for them to "turn in" their weekly notes. On the wiki I post links for resources and assignments. I create many assignments in Google Docs and then share the links with the students on their wiki page. This is also useful for a student who is absent to be able to access work from home.

Wikis can also be used as a collaborative space by giving students access to a page. There they can post their work and re-write together or do group research by posting links that they find on a topic.
  • Here is my class blog and wiki.
Valleywoodtech blog
Valleywoodtech wiki