Blogs do that. The students get to interact with their favorite toy–a computer–and go online for legitimate purposes. They get to see their thoughts in print. What could be more appealing. Blogs and online forums are a teachers dream.
The problem is how teachers use these tools. Like every good skill, blogging and online writing requires a bit of explanation. Start with these simple rules:
- Be concise in a blog. Readers don’t go to blogs to read a novel. They want something that will help them in, say, a minute (that seems to be the average time people spend on a post)
- Be pithy. Readers don’t want to waste even that sixty seconds. They may get tricked the first time by a snazzy title, but not again. So, students must put their thoughts together in a cogent and concise arrangement.
- Be knowledgeable. There are so many bloggers out there, students must come across as intelligent on their topic and smart enough to discuss it in that one minute the reader gives them. How do they do that?
- Watch grammar and spelling.
- Pick a topic they know about. If it’s an opinion, pick something they have ideas about.
- Don’t tear down the other guy’s opinion as a way to promote their own. This sort of mean-spiritedness turns people off.
For more great reasons why blogs are good for kids, visit Educational Blogging Wiki–including helping them find their voice and empower their maturing identities.
Adobe Photoshop is kind of like KidPix for grown-ups, as well as the default photo-editing program for anyone serious about graphics. This series of projects (available in the first volume of the book, 55 Technology Projects for the Digital Classroom) introduces students to a traditionally-challenging program in an easy to understand way, each project scaffolding to the next, thus avoiding the frustration and confusion inherent in most Photoshop training.
The clone tool duplicates a hard to crop-and-copy image (like the flowers below) or deletes part of a background—a sign or a post in a nature scene—you don’t want there. You can clone within a picture (as with the flowers), (more…)