Launch of the lit. team blog…

I had an interesting learning experience today in trying to setup my Literature Class with a team blog to collaborate on. After initially starting with a blogger page, I decided to port it over to Learner Blogs as it is more efficient and uses that grand WordPress platform.
The platform I had no problems with, but it took close to an hour to get students signed up with their own learner blog, get them added to the team blog and posting. If you surf over to it, you will see some of the frustrations we were met with. Script errors, the problem of logging into the team blog (which I missed and had to quickly add a link to our blogrole to the login page), getting booted from the school computers for unknown reasons…
A major problem we has was that quite a few students ran into script errors and lost the body of their posts, leaving only a title. After discussing this with our tech guru at the school, she suggested this could be an explorer problem as some of the school machines are running an older version of explorer. Lets hope it’s that easy…
The students were ok with the whole deal, a little frustration and angst over the whole thing, but otherwise, they were great. It seems to be a new world for them as well…
Hopefully this is a worthy undertaking, as it took most of the class to do what I thought would take twenty minutes or so…honestly right now I am thinking it may be a grand waste of time. I guess I am still struggling with interweaving literature with such a new interface.
We shall see…

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7 thoughts on “Launch of the lit. team blog…

  1. I feel your pain. I had similar birthpains (that’s exactly what they are) as I also tried to move off of blogger. It was a complete failure. I know it was likely frustrating for you, but it sure feels good to know that other teachers have also smacked into technology on their journey to blog in the classroom.

    I guess this is something one should always plan for when trying to break out of normal…out of what all the rest have done.

    For me, I was basically forced to drop back to blogger…several reasons there: ease of getting everyone on board, everyone was already on board, and really heavy crashing and freezing issues when trying to get everyone onto the blogsome platform – also wordpress.

    I wanted out of blogger for the same reasons as you…category power. Blogger really has failed in that department.

    So…note for the future, plan for technology demons. I know I’ve started incorporating that into training I do when computers are involved.

    Keep on keeping on!

  2. Sounds like my first attempt at getting kids on to the blogblog I created for my tech class as well. What I thought would take five minutes took half of the class period. I did not totally understand what the userlevels in wordpress actually meant I forgot about the fact that Safari (one of the browsers we use) does not show the wordpress quicktag bar it seemed like one thing after another.
    A few months later, however, everything seems to be working fine and the kids are becoming more comfortable posting to the blog. I guess the challenge is to get them to examine what they are posting a little deeper.

    I agree with Aaron keep on keeping on! I would love to have examples of High School students using Blogs as a writing tool to show people that are more concerned about the effects of technology on a standardized test score that the pencil is not the only tool that might be used.

  3. Aaron,
    thanks for the encouragement…It is um, a journey, right? I have discovered that a lot of the towers we used yesterday were running internet explorer 5.0, which is probably the problem with the script errors, as the ones that worked were jacked in on towers running 6.0…and i tried on a 5.5 this morning and it worked. What fun!
    Yeah, contingency plans are the order of the day when it comes to this stuff.
    There is a strnage comfort in knowing others have encountered major glitches…I dropped blogger for the reason you note: lack of categories. Other than that (and the manual addition of links) it is ok stuff and easy to use.

    Gary,
    thank you for your comments! I will be checking out your blog after writing this…
    So the wordpress levels are something that is explained in other applications besides Safari? I am running an IBOOK G4 with safari, so my confusion may be similar to yours…Do other platforms show more in way of explanation of what the levels do (ie writer or contributor?)
    I am glad to hear your experiment is progressing well. I hope mine goes along the same lines.
    Hopefully my students will start posting some deep thoughts soon, as they get more comfortable with the platform…(aren’t they supposed to be the tech savvy ones and I the ‘digital immigrant?’)
    Yes, it is great to add another tool to the classroom.
    thanks for the encouragement!

  4. Hi James,

    I’m a biz/tech reporter for Education Week, a national newspaper on education based in metro Washington, D.C. I’m writing a trends story on how more teachers are using weblogs as a classroom instructional tool. Can I chat with you in the next couple of days about how you’re using blogs in your lit class?

    Thanks very much for any and all help. I appreciate it.

  5. Rhea,

    I would be thrilled to chat with you regarding use of weblogs in the classroom.
    I will be away until Sunday evening (probably around 830 or so), but then will be back to my ‘regular’ schedule.
    You can drop me an e-mail if you like ( nelson@cowichan.com ), call me (250) 416-0428, or just post a comment on this page. I will be checking my email Sunday evening.
    Hope we can connect.
    James

  6. Hiya All,

    Thanks for having a crack with learnerblogs James… we’re about 3 weeks old so apologies for any glitches.

    FYI (and yours Rhea) I’m the person behind learnerblogs.org and edublogs.org and am *more* than happy to help out / field requests issues… the way I see it I want them to be shaped by teachers and learners and the best way for that to happen is for you guys to let me know how you go & what you want.

    Thanks again for the interest… hope your class is going OK!

    Contact: http://incsub.org/blog/contact-me/

    Cheers, James

  7. Thanks for the comments, James
    I am really enjoying the platform. thanks for hosting it!
    I am especially liking edublogs.org – it is a fantastic tool for my lit. homepage, as last year I spent most of my time staring at code and wondering why it wasn’t working with my homepage.
    Now, thanks to you and wordpress…it is seemless!
    The learner blogs are great too, thanks for a safe and legit. place for students to have a voice!
    we are just getting the team blog going now. If you need anyone to advocate for your services, let me know! I am a happy user!!!
    thanks again
    james matthew

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