Friday, 23 March 2018

Week 3

Reflection 1: Blogging about Blogs!

I have chosen to write about blogs because I'm curious and excited about the potential as a fantastic classroom tool!

What Can Blogs Do?  

A blog is like an interactive journal that contains posts. A post can contain words, images, links, video and audio similar to a website however unlike a website blogs adds a post with the most recent post sitting on top. In this blog, you will see week 1 post is sitting at the bottom of the page and this most recent post at the top. Allowing easy access to the most recent information. A website is rather one-sided as it provides the reader/viewer with information. A blog site can have pages (like a website) but the primary purpose is posting thoughts, reflections or ideas and then having the ability for others to comment and interact with your ideas. Blogs open up a world for collaboration, interaction and pushing new ideas in a group environment. The potential in a classroom environment is enormous!

Why Post?

Much like a teacher standing at the front of a class teaching. A website is great if you just want to see the teacher (including quirks and personality) however at times this can seem like a mono-drone teacher at the front waffling on about stuff - Sorry...What did you say?
image source:

A blog allows students to get involved. This is a real game changer. Engagement ensures that students are present, involved, and actively learning! Also, the teacher can interact with students and gauge how they are going too. These regular check-ins are not only crucial to ensuring subject comprehension but motivation as well. Real-time response is particularly important to students today who are used to social media and instant responses! Dr Willis further exemplifies engagement and the neurology of students with the video game model.

I particularly LOVE this little quote by Matt Miller "learning is a conversation"

No longer do we just take answers at face value we discuss, explore, challenge and further develop ideas - innovate if you will.

Blog Settings

A blog is customisable including a large choice of already created themes or for the extra savvy, you can code in the HTML (however this takes a bit of skill). The background, page colour schemes, font sizes, types and colours are all customisable. As long as you have abilities to do word documents and some basic desktop publishing you can accomplish a pretty great looking blog. I have done so with this blog without complex knowledge of HTML. I chose a Travel theme and theme image by Matt Vince then completely customised the background, fonts and colours in advanced settings to achieve the look I wanted.

Blogs allow you to multi-author by inviting authors which you can set as admin (add content change settings) or basic (add content only). Due care must be taken to ensure admin is only offered to people who you trust to make any changes without your approval.

I have also linked this blog to both my website and workspace - Linking to various mediums makes it seamless for students to navigate from one media to another.


This blog currently has no privacy settings setup. In a classroom context, there would be a high level of privacy. Only members who have a login can access the site (students and teacher only). I would ensure students have alias blogger names such as a student number to protect identity. Posting by students and as a teacher would be monitored to ensure the photos posts and copywriting does not contain information that may compromise a student's identity.

SAMR Model

As a future Biology teacher, I am going to illustrate the potential of blog use in a classroom. Teaching ecosystems to high school students using the SAMR model. Instead of this worksheet:


I can put a link on the blog site with a great diagram of a food web.


Post Khan Academy ecosystem tutorial


Post a Video and Post a Question: After watching the Khan Acadamy youtube video. I could post an image of an ecosystem and pose a question on this blog site which asks students what would happen if an animal was to be removed from the ecosystem? What effect will this have? Post your answers.


Create a food web: Students will create their own food web, working in small groups could create a graphical food web using graphics programs such as Powerpoint or slide share. Upload the image to a post and blog what their ecosystem includes.

Then in the following weeks what would happen if a particular animal no longer existed?

Each student in the group can have a different animal to predict and post their thoughts on the resulting change if an animal was removed.

For example,

Week 1 predict what would happen to the ecosystem if a predator animal was removed.
Week 2 Removed a plant?
Week 3 remove an omnivore?

Each student in the group could have a different animal to predict their changes as a result of an animal removal. This blog will be available for the whole class to see and would paint an interesting picture of ecological changes over a few weeks.


  1. Hi Heidi
    Your passion for your subjects is really shining through! You've inspired me with your clear explanation of how you want to implement blogging into the biology classroom. I particularly like how students will still be receiving high level 'content' that you have researched and designed whilst benefiting from the SAMR extension. I am going to be teaching two 'writing heavy' subjects (History and English) and I want to use the interactive nature of blogging (like you have demonstrated) to really increase classroom collaboration and the sharing of ideas between peers.

  2. Great read Heidi! Your blog had good flow and I reckon you've covered the criteria nicely. It's obvious the thought you'd put into your lessons.....where were you 25 years ago when I was doing bio? I remember it being much 'drier' than that, your students will be lucky to have you. I doubt many of them will be re-enacting the first GIF you posted.....

  3. Hello Heidi, thanks for your comments.
    I agree that the teacher should avoid a situation where they can become mono tone and break up the learning with a different format to maintain or encourage engagement. Again, I am learning with each blog I read, I am now aware of customisation in HTML. Your ideas for your biology class would be well received by students. Very informative. From Mark

  4. Hi Heidi,
    I really enjoyed this blog post, especially how interactive with videos and gifs it is! I also really enjoyed your writing style, it made for a very interesting read. I also really like your idea for the redefinition stage, it would make for a very learning-rich environment with participation from all students as their curiosity to the results would get the better of them.
    Great work!