I had the pleasure of meeting with high school and middle school journalism teachers this week. I was asked to come lead a discussion about using web 2.0 tools in the classroom. Some great things came out of the meeting and I have a number of future visits to classrooms already planned. Nice!

One very authentic use of blogging was shared by a couple of photoj teachers. (Okay, it took me a second to connect ‘photo journalism’ to the name, photoj. What a great class name!) Anyway, one high school class is using a blog to share their photo essays throughout the year. Each student has their own blog through which that post their latest assignments. Some assignments were text-based reflections on in-class work. Others had students posting photographs and discussing them using the classroom criteria.

What a great way to extend learning!

  • Students were writing some very meaningful ideas about what they were learning about photography. The teacher doesn’t have to carry folders or boxes of student pictures, but can view them from any computer and give feedback there as well.
  • Students were using advanced digital skill in personalizing their own web presence. Some showed great aptitude for web design and construction that wasn’t necessarily part of the classroom assignment.
  • Photography examples were often taken away from campus. It looks as though students were practicing their skills and uploading their work during non-school hours.

It was great listening to the teachers at that meeting talking about how they are using different websites as a part of their journalism curriculum. Conversations covered, “What are you using for your online newspaper?” to “How are you grading online student work?” (BTW, the online newspaper suggestion was ASNE’s http://my.schooljournalism.org/intro.cfm and it’s for primary and secondary schools.) Perhaps creating student blogs will enhance the community of student journalists by having more teacher and more student interschool communication.

I’m waiting for permission to post the actual classroom blog, but I’d love to have teachers comment here and leave other examples of using the blog in their journalism (or other) classroom.