Tuesday, October 17, 2006

Blogging in Biology

Cara recently sent this email to her students - and their parents:
Dear Students & Parents:

Today in class we started our study of genetics. During the course of this unit, we will look at many topics including the basics of genetics and heredity, as well as more controversial topics such as cloning, genetic manipulation, and stem cell research.

One of the most effective ways to discuss and share opinions surrounding these issues is through a blog. The web address for our class blog is http://www.syersbio06.blogspot.com. A new scenario/question/issue to discuss will be posted on the blog each week. Students will be required to share their views on at least two of these posts but are welcome to comment as many times as they want. I would also encourage parents to get involved in one of two ways...1) Go to the blog and follow along. It's always interesting to see what students really think! 2) Create a blogging account and comment along with the class. We'd love to hear from you as well. Since some of the scenarios involve decisions made as parents, your insights will be very valuable!

Many students have prior experience with blogging in other classes. If this is the case, I will assume that you know how to access the blog, log in, and add your comments. Just make sure that your username is only your first name and last initial. No last names!

If you have never blogged before and need further information about what exactly a blog is, how to create a username and password, and how to add comments, I have attached a tip sheet to this e-mail. Just open it, print it, and follow the step by step instructions.

If you have questions or concerns, please let me know. I look forward to some great discussions involving students and parents alike!
It will be interesting to see how many parents take her up on this. My guess is that quite a few will choose option 1 - to follow along on the blog. But my guess is that some of them won't be able to help themselves (I suffer from this malady) and will comment on the blog as well. I think this is a great way to invite parents in to the classroom - virtually. I also think it will make the students think a little bit harder about their comments knowing their parents may be reading along. I think our students are very aware of the wider audience that might be reading any of their blogs/comments, but there's something about your parents reading your work that takes it to another level.

The comments have already started on the first post, so head over to Cara's class blog and follow along.

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