EdTech 537: Blog Request

You can also see my condensed version of this letter (one page letter with attachments for max of 3 pages  here)

 
Kimberly Hefty
EdTech 537
SME High School
Proposal ET537
June 28, 2014
 
Dr. Ima Portante
Director of School Policy
ISD
1234 Main Street
Issy, WA 98029
 

Dear Dr. Importante and the ISD Board Members:

I am writing to ask you to support the usage of blogging in the high school classroom by teachers and students. Each participating teacher will create a classroom blog. This proposal will come to a vote at the next ISD board meeting. For the past five years, class blogs have been implemented in many classrooms throughout the district with a high level of success. Each of the schools that have allowed the program fully supports the approval of this proposal.

The purpose of this proposal is to obtain the boards endorsement of blogging in the high school classroom by teachers and students. Blogs are online journals in which the author writes about a particular topic, such as mathematics, science or any educational topic. Blogging can provide an effective means of communicating electronically with students and parents.

Blogs offer several advantages. First of all, teachers can create a blog without special technological skills or training. Most blog sites allow the developer to embed their own pictures or videos to enhance their site. Blogs have built-in interactive features that allow readers to respond via comments to information posted on the blog. The comments feature is a huge benefit, giving both students and parents the ability to interact and give feedback. Finally — and perhaps most importantly — blogs are free!

Proposal ET537 would allow high school teachers in the ISD to implement the usage of Edublogs in their classrooms. The blog research committee selected Edublogs for the following reasons:

  1. Teachers can share materials, news, downloads, links and more: Anything that teachers post to their blog will instantly be accessible by their students from school and from home. Teachers can easily manage who can access materials through passwords and privacy measures.
  2. Teachers can replace their newsletters and stay in touch with parents about what is going on in class.
  3. Teachers can get their students blogging so that they can share their work and thoughts. This can also encourage more collaboration among students.
  4. Teachers can integrate videos, podcasts, and other media in their blogs. This can be a valuable reinforcement tool for students who were in class or who were absent.
  5. Teachers and administrators can get feedback or gather information. They can use comments, forums, or even customized forms to collect feedback, survey data, or ask anyone you’d like to give input or ideas.
  6. Teachers can create a fully functional website. Edublogs can be used to create a multi-layered, in-depth, multimedia rich website.
  7. Edublogs are FREE!

The proposal ET537 is proposing that each high school teacher would create a single blog for each class, at this time the committee did not explore implementing individual student blogs. Safety is a primary concern for ISD, SME high school and all of the district teachers. Our world is increasingly connected and our students need to know how to interact online safely and with some level of privacy. We must educate students about the expectations we have of them when they are online and about the digital footprint they leave behind. The district currently has specific policies in place for expected internet behavior. We need to educate our students on how to work in a safe online environment so the ET537 committee has also created a specific Netiquette Policy that includes a critical cyber bullying component (also see attachment).

Keeping the concept of safety in mind, the committee proposes that students would participate in classroom blogs with pseudonyms. For example, Jane Smith would blog under the name Jane123. The teacher and the classmates would know who this is. Edublogs can, and under this proposal all district blogs will, be password protected. Only the teacher, school administrator, students and parents in the class would be able to access the blog.

I think that this is an important proposal. It will benefit the community and district at large by improving critical technological and online skills students will need in the future.

Thank you for your support.

Sincerely,
Kimberly Hefty
EdTech 537
 
 

Netiquette Rules*

“Netiquette is the term used to refer to etiquette, or rules of acceptable behavior on the Internet.  The practice … should extend to email, chat, and discussion boards and even into the synchronous environment “ (Rice, p. 79).

Report Bullying, Don’t Respond

Online bullying is no laughing matter.  Immediately tell a teacher, parent, or another adult if you receive an unwanted message online.  Many teens feel safe behind a computer screen:  safe to bully and safe to take a bully on alone.  Responding may escalate the situation.  Ignoring may empower the bully to test how far they can go. Again, report any unwanted messages online to a teacher, parent or another adult immediately.

Netiquette Guidelines for interacting with peers:

  • Conduct yourself in all forms of communication as if you were interacting with your peers in person.
  • Always be courteous and respectful of each other’s thoughts and opinions.
  • Use appropriate language at all times: no swearing, inappropriate words or foul language of any kind (including but not limited to racial slurs).
  • Respect everyone’s privacy; do not share someone else’s personal contact information or their opinions.
  • Do not forward or share messages without permission.
  • Remember that all messages are visible and viewable by all.

Netiquette Guidelines for “text speak” (i.e. emoticons/acronyms):

  • Use emoticons “sparingly” and only to convey simple emotions.
  • Abbreviated words, emoticons, invented words, and acronyms will be allowed in informal communications (i.e. texts or in chats). The first time an acronym is used, write it out completely so that everyone is able to know the meaning.   For example:  TTYL (talk to you later).

Netiquette Guidelines for Class Discussions:

  • Remember that there’s a real person (real people) on the other end of your message.
  • Treat others the way you would want to be treated.
  • Spelling and grammar count.
  • Only post relevant information.  Give relevant and specific feedback, not just “Good job!”
  • Do not post emotional messages.  If upset, wait until you’re calm and revisit your message.
  • Be supportive.  Kindness goes a long way. Watch your manners, especially when your classmates make mistakes.
  • When someone replies to your posting, respond to their questions or comments as you would in a regular conversation.

Netiquette Guidelines for emails or professional settings:

  • Be aware of using the proper tone.
  • Be concise, yet thorough.
  • Use proper language conventions (spelling, grammar, etc.). Always proof read before sending any type of email.
  • Wait 24 hours before sending any type of “angry” or critical correspondence.
  • When sending emails, write a proper subject line highlighting the purpose of the email.
  • Remember that the email may not be read immediately; allow an appropriate amount of time for a response.
  • Use sentence case. USING ALL CAPITAL LETTERS LOOKS AS IF YOU’RE SHOUTING. Using all lowercase letters looks lazy.

Netiquette Guidelines for synchronous sessions:

  • Listen “actively” to the speaker (moderator or student).
  • Read all “chat” messages thoroughly.
  • Do not eat or drink when doing video or audio chats.
  • Stay on topic; be specific and concise.
  • Contribute your knowledge and be an active participant.
  • Be polite and respectful at all times.  Do not correct your classmates’ spelling or grammar.
  • You may use acronyms and emoticons, but be aware that not all students, or your teacher, may understand them.  The first time an acronym is used, write it out completely so that everyone is able to know the meaning.   For example:  TTYL (talk to you later).
  • Be patient. Remember everyone will get a turn to speak. Allow time for others to respond and it may take a moment for others to receive your response.

Sources:

Krohn, F. B. (2004). A generational approach to using emoticons as nonverbal communication. Journal of Technical Writing and Communication, 34(4), 321-328.  Retrieved from http://baywood.metapress.com.libproxy.boisestate.edu/app/home/contribution.asp?referrer=parent&backto=issue,5,6;journal,38,171;linkingpublicationresults,1:300326,1

Rice, K. (2012). Making the move to K-12 online teaching: Research-based strategies and practices. Boston: Pearson.

Shea, Virginia. (2011). The Core Rules of Netiquette. Albion. Retrieved from http://www.albion.com/netiquette/corerules.html

 

*Netiquette Rules was created by Kim Hefty, Ellen Scogin, Eric Zeznanski for EdTech 521 6/2014

 

 

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About kimberlyhefty

Hello. My name is Kimberly Hefty and I live in Sammamish, Washington. For the past 23 years I have taught high school and college level mathematics. 13 years ago I started a private tutoring business. I specialize in working with public high school students who are taking math courses "on-line". I work closely with both the students and the local school district. I typically work with 40-50 students per week. I also have 2 children ages 14 and 23. My daughter just graduated from Elon University in North Carolina. My son plays competitive golf and premiere soccer so most of my weekends are spent at either soccer or golf tournaments. I am excited to be completing the Master's In Educational Technology Program from BSU (M.E.T.) Spring 2015! Through this program I have gained a better understanding of educational technology and it’s applications. I believe that the knowledge that I have gained will be beneficial personally, as well as to my students. With these skills that I have learned in the Educational Technology program, I hope to help myself and my students be successful in future endeavors. The M.E.T. program has allowed me to create an environment for all of us, my students along with myself, to gain skills for education, employment, and existence.
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4 Responses to EdTech 537: Blog Request

  1. Stacie Barker says:

    Your letter looks great and is very complete. I like that you also included the netiquette rules that you would use with the students. Also, I like your idea with using pseudonyms, but everyone in the class would know who is who. Great idea!

  2. Kim, posting your blogging request assignment to your blog is a great way to get into the habit of blogging regularly.

  3. Kim,
    I like how you incorporated your proposal into your letter. I think the addition of the Netiquette rules nicely ties in what you have applied in other courses as well. I too chose Edublogs to propose to my administrator and forgot to add that it is free – except the pro version. How I overlooked that simple point is beyond me, so great job for pointing it out! Perhaps after your students have had a chance to see blogging and have a thorough explanation of internet etiquette, then you could pursue that as well.

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