During the past 6 weeks, our Year 5 students had a very special project to work on; they started their own individual blogs on wordpress.com. The choice of starting the school year with this project in particular was intuitive: the unit of inquiry “How we organize ourselves” is based on the central idea that “Technology has the tendency to change the way people access information and connect to each other.”
Blogging for what matters is a relatively new and hip means for sharing opinions, reviews and points of interest.
At the beginning of the unit, it was obvious that students use internet related terms interchangeably, and it was absolutely necessary to correct misconceptions and get them to use the right words in the right context. Vocabulary such as website, blog, online platform, browser, search engine and web hosting service were discussed.
Having that covered, we moved to tackle the issue of online identity, and the dangers of sharing too much on the internet. We compared and contrasted the information we had on our school IDs and what our virtual identities would look like.
Afterwards, students chose different categories for their blogs in WordPress. Most choices were related to arts, sports, pets and food. They also chose layouts and themes for their blogs and created unique and free domain names. To complete sign up, students used their school email addresses.
By the end of the unit, most students have understood what online identity is and the differences between a blog and a website. They used a web hosting service to set up their blog and appreciated the need for identity protection. More able students extended their experience, and started editing and sourcing content for their first blog post. Students needing support got one-on-one assistance in the set up process.
As for the next next step, Year 5 students plan to use the blog as a platform to share their school work, ideas, reviews and opinions on things they like most. Stay tuned!