Today we introduced the kids to Blogger, the tool they will use to record and narrate the stories of their 20% Time journeys. Using Edmodo as a launching pad, we posted a link to a folder in our Google Docs folder. Once the kids clicked on the link, they were in the shared folder that we created. Then, when the kids clicked the "Create" button in Google Docs, the docs they created were already in our folder. We didn't have to file or move anything. Confusing, I know, but effective. The documents that the kids created will house their blog drafts. They will write their blog entries in those docs and we will read them to make sure they are well-written, and then the kids will copy/paste into their Blogger post.
After creating our blog docs, we launched Blogger. We navigated through the set-up pages, creating titles, subtitles, and sometimes connecting groups of kids as contributors on the same blog. Most of the kids picked it up pretty well. Coming up with clever blog names held some of the kids back, but knowing that they could change the name of their blog at any time was reassuring to them. They at least created blog names as place-holders until they came up with their final blog name. The best blog name that I heard today was by a pair of kids who want to create a cake-pop business. They decided on "Pop-a-doodle-doo" as their project and blog name. Very cute!
Tomorrow the kids get to choose their template, explore the gadgets that Blogger offers, incorporate some of those gadgets into their blogs, share their blog URL with us so that we can list them in our "Must Read Blogs" section, and generally shape the look and feel of their blog. The first blog post that each student/group will post will be "The Origin of the Idea" and those posts should be interesting reading.
One of the reasons that the kids had a successful day is the amount of technology that they have used so far this year. We try to introduce three main apps/sites that we rely on for most of the school year. Edmodo, our student portal, and our classroom websites are the things we use most often. However, we have also incorporated 3DGameLab, BrainPop, Reading Rewards, Quick Topic, Animoto, Glogster, Khan Academy, Prezi, Socrative and the host of Google Apps (Docs, Presentation, etc) into our classes. As a byproduct of our classes, the kids are immersed in technology, from which they learn a great deal. On to Blogger - Day 2 tomorrow! Charge! - Don