Friday, September 19, 2014

They Call Me "Joe Cool" //// Kidblog Roll-out

Today was a big day on my campus for several reasons. The first reason why today was so special was the fact that we were able to roll out Kidblog to a class of 3rd graders. I have known about Kidblog for about a year now and have been jumping at the opportunity to get it started and now it was finally here. When asking the teacher what she wanted her goal to be for the year, she told me "blogging." I then told her about Kidblog and she was on board. To make this roll-out a success, lots of "behind the scenes" prep was necessary. For example, one of the things that I did was upload her class roster into the site. Thankfully I was able to use a .csv file in Excel which made the student account upload process a breeze. The day before it was to be rolled out, I talked with the teacher letting her know that all laptops had been a)powered on b)logged in to Windows and c) able to connect to the Internet. Sounds good right? Then, I get an email asking if there was a way that I could make shortcuts on the desktop so students could have easy access to. I was like, "Uhh... I didnt even think about that!" It made sense too! Without shortcuts, students would have had to type something like: That might not seem like much, but it might be a bit overwhelming for a 3rd grader!  Immediately I thought, "What could be the most efficient way to make this happen?" I then thought of using a Symbaloo Page. A Symbaloo page is simply a webpage with many different tiles that link to various websites. This saves the hassle of having to create desktop shortcuts. The only thing I had to do was change the default home page to about 23 laptops, however the great thing about this is that I can now add a tile from any computer in the world! Anyways, once the students chose their proper class, we then gave them their password. If you are just starting Kidblog, I suggest keeping all passwords the same and just adding "1, 2, 3, etc." behind it. Once they were in, students were able to see the prompt. (Btw, I also recommend creating a "dummy" account in which the teacher can log in as and post as a student. I created one with the name of "Joe Cool" and they seemed to get a kick out of it! Some kids even starting me "Joe Cool in the hallways-- I guess that sticks over "Mr. Chavez?? Haha!) Once students started to complete and turn in their "work" you could hear the teacher's inbox start to chime. We told the students that they were emailing their assignment to the teacher! They thought that was so cool! As a class we started reading their responses- most kids blushed when we read theirs, but they eventually got over it and thought it was really neat that their work was being acknowledged. Towards the end, we started leaving comments / feedback on the student's posts. The kiddos thought seeing comments on their work was the coolest thing ever! It took a little bit of time on our end to leave each student feedback, but they appreciated it. I highly encourage leaving feedback on your student's work! Everyone really enjoyed this roll out and I plan to work in small groups next week to continue using this tool!

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