I am still learning my way around the school servers so have not used them for directing class work during our computer suite time as yet. A problem I have had in this year has been directing students to the web sites I wish them to explore that require them to type in long url's. I solved that problem by using Tinyurl.com which is a lot easier to write onto a whiteboard. An example of this is this url [http://baileyrdteam17.blogspot.com/2009/03/rat-playground-project.html] which I converted into [http://tinyurl.com/c995x7] with a single click. Typing in the url provides an oportunity to discuss web addresses (url's) and the most common errors when sueing them, being SPELLING.
To get back to the main point of this blog; although they still need to type in a url, they only need to type in one. In this case it was http://tinyurl.com/c995x7 which took them to a single blog on our class blog. I had put this entry up on our blog to encourage my students to think about the project outside school hours which they could share with their whānau, and also to give them another interesting reference for their technology project. I then decided to expand the brief nearer to a webquest model, giving group roles and reference links. The achievement I am really please with here is it allowed them to access the links I wanted them to research with one click, and I did not have to be concerned about them searching inappropriate sites or wasting time typing in url's.
Our class blog seems to developing from a simple reflective class blog into a learning tool and a place to recognise student achievement (our Star of the Week). I have also noticed my students using it to comment more and more on each others achievements. I have had a few 'social' love notes which I rejected but that is why as a teacher we should maintain moderation control.
So how would you classify your class blog?