To: Students
From: Your teacher
RE: Our blogging curriculum

One way to understand this curriculum is to think of it as three different ongoing projects that will require your attention each week.
  • Profile: We will ask you to add something new to your profile each week.
  • Blog Post: Each week you will be asked to post on your blog -- there will be more required in each of these posts each week
  • Comments: You will be asked to respond to other students, both within your class and school and from outside of your school


Another way to understand this curriculum is through the media that you will be asked to use in your profile, on your blog posts, and in your comments. You will find assignments each week that ask you to develop your skills with:
  • text
  • images
  • audio
  • and other multimedia

Essential Questions

  • What are you passionate about and how do these interests fit with our big questions?
  • What voices or sources of information do you think are important to include in your search for answers?
  • How do you become an effective networker and get people with shared interests to value your voice online?
  • How can you use our social networks as personal learning sites that lead to social action?

Enduring Knowledge

This curriculum is about what you do when you sit down to work at your computer. It is about creating a space in your life for you to safely extend and explore your online voice with a group of peers, both at your school and around the world. You will learn about re-blogging and how people choose to build together and share their creations and their resources. By following this curriculum, you will identify ideas and issues that are of importance to you, learn more about them and find other people who share your interests and passions. Being able to have a substantial online presence and network effectively are necessary skills today for success. Fluency in text, images and audio are part of this communication. You will be using your blogs to really try to connect with your readers. Through the work in this curriculum you will develop your sense of humor, cleverness and understanding of how people use their online communication skills to affect the world in many different ways including political, civic, academic and entertainment spheres.

Online Toolbox

Like a carpenter would assemble and sharpen his or her tools before beginning to build, you will be adding to your toolbox for online communication. Specifically we will introduce or review the following tools and ask you to use them.

First Tools
  • Gmail or another email that you use for school purposes. This will be your professional, work or school email. (Suggestion - if you can get a gmail you will also get a Google account. You need another email when you register with gmail so you can still use your professional, work or school email as well)
  • Google Docs (expressive writing, editing, sharing)
  • Tumblr or Blogger (collecting, publishing, inviting conversation, building a portfolio)
  • iGoogle or Tabbed Browsing on Firefox or Flock (a way to have all tools easily available on the desktop)
Multimedia Tools
  • Splashup, Photoshop or another image editor (to create graphics--like an icon or name banner)
  • Audacity, Adobe Audition or Garage Band/iTunes (recording, editing sound)
  • VoiceThread (multimedia presentation, inviting conversation)
  • Tagzania (mapping, tagging, collaborating)
  • Flash and other open source free animation programs (to push the way we think about order and telling)
  • PhotoBucket, Flickr, Picasa (photo storage and sharing)
Social and Collaborative Tools
  • Youth Voices or Personal Learning Space (blogging in a social network)
  • Youthwiki (collecting, presenting in a collaborative wiki space)
  • Google Reader (reading, organizing information, (suggestion - reading text feeds --such as NYTimes or Sports programs) and listening to podcasts--such as NPR or WNYC programs)
  • Youth Twitter (questions, capturing process thinking, back channelling) or your teacher's public wiki (suggestion- sharing and building information resources)

Self-Assessment

Every other week (e.g. every even numbered week), you will be asked to do a blog post in the "assessment community" of either Youth Voices or the Personal Learning Space, answering the question: "How am I doing?"
  1. At first, you should write about one paragraph for each of these questions:
    • What makes for a really good blog post -- one that others want to read and respond to?
    • What did you do this week -- or since you last wrote about your blogging?
    • What do you hope to do next week on your blog?
    • What's the difference between...
      • writing on paper and blogging?
      • MySpace and YouthVoices.net or the PersonalLearningSpace
  2. Later, you should check out the Open reflection option for more writing ideas.

Week 1: Introductions

Text

Write a short, thoughtful, personal blog post. Freewrite, then edit on Google Docs, and publish on Tumblr.
Suggested prompt:
  • First Freewrite: With the purpose of this class in mind, write non-stop for about ten minutes (without paying attention to errors) about something that you care a lot about this week, and something that is discuss-able. Write in a way that might open a conversation about something that you think is important right now.
Other possibilities and prompts we've used in the past:

Image

Create an Icon/Avatar

Audio

Get in groups of one, two or three and interview each other making just one recording per group. Edit, add effects or music if you wish and if it is podsafe or public domain music. See tutorials for converting to mp3 and save.

Week 2: Passions

Text

1. Freewrite non-stop for 10 minutes, focused sentence, more freewriting. After revising, copy and paste your writing into Tumblr or Blogger, and feed it into YV or PLS.
Possible lesson examples:
2. Write 10 questions you have about yourself and 10 questions you have about the world.

Image

Create a Name Banner (with Who am I writing on YV or PLS profile.)

Audio

Record your post or some version of it in Audacity and upload it to Tumblr.

Week 3: RSS Feeds

Text

Set up your Google Reader to collect information from blogs, news, articles, and podcasts.

Image

More work on Name Banners and Avatars/Icons

Audio

Record this post using Audacity, but do more than just read it. Ad Lib. As you are recording, go on, continue, improvise, and add to your written version of this post.
Assessment:
  • How do the audio and image parts add to the text statement?
  • Does it make it more or less inviting to a reader? Why?
Upload MP3 to Tumblr.


Week 4: Photos

Text

  • Choose your most "discuss-able" question from your 10 self/10 world questions.
  • Freewrite about this question for 10 - 15 minutes in Google Docs.
  • Write a focused sentence and freewrite again.
  • Revise (using Microsoft Word) and come up with 5 keywords or tags.
  • Using your best keywords, find a Creative Commons image and post it to your Tumblr blog, using the photo option on your dashboard.
  • Add a comment, not about the image, but about your thoughts now about your question. (See example. )

Image

1. Search for Creative Commons (CC) images using the following sites, and insert your image into your Google Doc version of your freewriting for this week:
2. Add Four CC images to your your first Ed.VoiceThread, using text, image and audio.
Either
  • Describe a process you have gone through in your life. Break it up into four sections, and represent each with a single Creative Commons image.
Or
  • Represent four different aspects of your identity or four different communities that are important to you. Consider your age, culture, background, gender... or anything that might help you show who you are. Represent each with one Creative Commons image.
See examples of four-image projects by students and teachers.
See this assignment as a VoiceThread: Answer "Who am I" with four photos.

Audio

Add audio (Creative Commons music and comments) to your VoiceThread and to other students' VoiceThreads, both from your school and from other schools.

Week 5: Mapping

Text

Options: Choose one of the following, and write, write, write in a new Google Doc for this week.
  1. Use the Open Writing Process (freewriting - focused sentence - more freewriting - keywords - image - more writing) to write about anything that is on your mind this week.
  2. Choose another one of your 10 self / 10 world questions and use the Open Writing Process to explore this question.
  3. Choose one of these questions that you will also be addressing in the "Tagging Your Community" project below.
    (Note: It's fine to have this writing end up both on your Tagzania map and in a blog post for this week.):
  • What places in your community are special to you?
  • What stories can you tell about these places?
  • Would these stories be what people expect someone from your community to write? Or would they be surprised?
  • How will reading your story and knowing about your special place help a young person at another school relate to your life and get to know you?

Image

1. Tagging Your Community
  • Represent yourself by telling a story about a place near your school. Put this story in a marker on a map that is being shared by other students in the Personal Learning Space and Youth Voices.
  • Put a link from your Profile page onto the Tagzania bubble, and put a link into the Brief Description on your Profile page.
2. Use VoiceThread to Add to your map
  • Create a Voice Thread using a place in your neighborhood and then link it to the description marker on the map or link it from your blog.

Audio


Week 6: Hypertext

Text

Memory Chain
Where I'm From

Image

Audio


Week 7: Databases

Text

see week 6 with something from a library database

Image

Audio


Week 8: Social Action

Text

Image

Audio


Week 9

Text

Image

Audio


Week 10

Text

Image

Audio

Week 11

Text

Image

Audio


Week 12

Text

Image

Audio


Week 13

Text

Image

Audio


Week 14

Text

Image

Audio


Week 15

Text

Image

Audio



Notes and extra stuff

Products

tumblr first post and reblogging

a blog post that incorporates many voices both supporting and challenging the writer's point of view

series of substantial blog posts incorporating images and snippets that creates a niche - a group of readers she carried around in her head - audience - student realizes that there are a group of people who care about what she says- research - sources of information

audio introduction - used audio technology to get to know someone they wouldn't necessarily get to know and then shared that information/audio file online - wiki - publishing and extend the influence

a blog post with audio where the audio and text draw attention to the content and the audio affects the writing, facilitating the writing to become more personal

Voice thread - ceramics piece - group with shared interest where the technology allows each member to be articulate and thoughtful about reflecting on their own work while also networking and engaging others in the conversation on a longer timeline

wiki instruction pages are edited during class time to reflect adjustments to instructions that reflect the actual practice in the room

Profile - shows an understanding of self and sets the precedent for connecting through shared passions and interests
personal icons and name banners reflect the understanding about creating images that are legal to use, personal and compelling

tagging

reader - aggregrator- finding voices that represent both different opinions and facts relating to your topic -
critical readers - authenticity and relevancy of information

using mapping to connect through shared experience and interest

response to blogs

What role do images, text and audio have in to having a compelling voice online?
  • Under what conditions do we have to change our voice when communicating online?
  • How is it possible to create our own Personal Learning Networks?
  • What methods do we use to understand difficult texts?
  • How can online social networks help us to understand what's happening in the world?
  • How is it possible to use social networks to affect change?
(finding voices, organizing information, critical reading, connecting voices)
(networking and moving toward social action)
How do you use image, text and audio to engage other young people online? (compelling communication)
(finding voices, organizing information, critical reading, connecting voices)
(networking and moving toward social action)