Blogging Kids

December 23, 2005

We finally set our student blog (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Blog)ging in motion, after 5 months of planning (http://www.lanterntorch.org/content/view/146/0/). I started contemplating this in July and had the site designed in August. The rest involved waiting on the iBooks so that we’d have computers to use and using the stick/carrot technique with the teachers.

All seems well. The students did an excellent job, although I cannot say the same for the computers. I never realized how cheaply these Apple iBooks are made. A little wear and tear really takes them apart. I had missing keys, fried LCD backlights, toasted Airport cards, and a variety of flavors of OS X, from 10.2 all the way to 10.4. That actually presented the biggest problem, since some students were using that old crappy Internet Explorer 5, while others had Safari.

I had intended to show the students how to spell check using Safari, but that was shot down. I also had some students on my desktops with SuSE (http://www.suse.com)/KDE (http://www.kde.org) combo. Those, of course, worked flawlessly.

Drupal (http://www.drupal.org) was also everything I had hoped it would be. It allowed all students to have their individual blog (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Blog) pages, while also displaying all of them on the front page. Their teacher has the option of highlighting a particular student’s work on the front page as well. Furthermore, the teacher has full moderation over everything. A blog (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Blog) is not posted or updated without the teacher’s approval. Many thanks to the developers of Drupal, which, in case you didn’t know, is free software, released under the GPL.

Overall, I was pleased with the results. I think the kids really love blog (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Blog)ging. Most of them had never even heard of it before today. My philosophy with writing has always been, write often, write well, and write about stuff you like. If you can do those three things, your writing skills will steadily increase.

Without further ado, I present our school’s blogs (http://longfellow.lanterntorch.org/).


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