Saturday, June 16, 2007

Blogging: In Their Own Words

At the end of the school year we were asked to try to get a video together about blogging to show at a conference for administrators in our state. The idea was that we were going to introduce them to live blogging and then actually have some folks in the audience live blog the keynote, with the keynote speaker being occasionally fed questions/thoughts/ideas from the blog. The details were a little fuzzy but, nice guys that we are, we scrambled to try to get something together.

So, about two days before finals, we hurriedly videotaped some students and teachers talking about blogging and then tried to figure out when we'd have time to put this together before June 13th (the first day of the conference), not to mention how to setup the live blogging, make sure they had enough info for it to work smoothly, get the wireless working, etc.

As it turns out, they decided to not go with this idea, which I think was a good thing given the compressed timeline - I think there's a good chance it would've been a disaster. They are considering doing it again for their next conference in August, which would be cool since the keynote speaker is supposed to be Daniel Pink, although I still worry about all the setup issues.

In any event, we had all this footage sitting around and I wanted to do something with it. I spent a little time editing and came up with the following. Please keep in mind a few things. As I mentioned, we hurriedly filmed about two days before finals, so we were only able to grab kids from a couple of classes and a few teachers that were available. So we don't have as wide of a selection of folks as I would like, and the quality of some of the video/audio isn't the best. (We had a wireless lapel microphone, but it didn't always work - meaning a good portion of the audio was just from the built-in camcorder microphone. You may have to manually raise and lower the volume sometimes to hear.) Obviously, I decided to post it anyway, so I guess it comes under the category of "good enough to criticize." I hope that - despite some of its shortcomings - some of you might find it useful.

Also, keep in mind that we've only been blogging for about a year and a half in my school, and many folks really only in the past six months or so, so we're still learning. We're pretty much still in the stage of moving and extending traditional classroom activities online, which I think can add value and enhance the learning when done well, but our next step is really to help our students develop their own personal learning networks through blogs and various other Web 2.0 tools. I hope that we will make some progress with that next school year.

I'm posting two versions, the long version, which is 15:30 (I have a hard time cutting students when they say such thoughtful things), and a shorter version (where I slashed - it was painful for me). I'm embedding the Google Video versions below, but you can also download Quicktime versions of both of them (320 by 240).

Long Version (Quicktime, 15:30, 67.3 MB)
Short Version (Quicktime, 8:16, 38.1 MB)

Part of the video talks about the fishbowl discussion technique (no relation to me!) used in conjunction with live blogging, you can learn more at these posts (1, 2 and 3).

Google Video Long Version (15:30)

Google Video Short Version (8:16)


  1. Karl,

    I am so glad you did this. The idea of blogging as a regular practice for teachers and for students is something that I am trying to establish in my schools. This video will go a long way to showing them more of the practical side to blogging, it's benefits, and the comfort level that can be achieved by both teachers and students.

    Thanks again!

  2. Thanks for putting this together. I blogged about it on my Teen Literacy Tips blog, and I hope to incorporate student blogging in my eighth grade classroom next year.

  3. Thanks for taking the time and putting together this video. What struck me most was the similarity of the comments to the blogging teachers and students at my school near Pittsburgh, PA. For the past two years I've surveyed my students on their blogging experience and their comments could have been the script to this video. As Patrick Higgins says in his comment, this will help ed blog advocacy. I'll blog on your efforts at my "If Bees Are Few" blog.

  4. These video links no longer function. Long version available here I think: