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Elizabeth Arnold

on 17 February 2014

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Transcript of Kidblog prezi

Meech (2010) conducted research by setting up Kidblog within his class and found that it had such as impact that it led to every child and teacher within the year group to use this blogging site.
The teachers found that setting-up accounts for all of their students took only 10 minutes and that only two 30-minute sessions were needed to teach pupils how to blog. This allowed for the students to spend more time using Kidblog to explore the world of blogging rather than listening to a teacher explaining how to use the site.

Miller and Olthouse (2013) analysed 85 comments on Kidblog from a group of gifted and talented students and found Kidblog to be an 'effective tool in the critical thinking process' (p.78). Evaluation was a key feature that was promoted by the blogging site, with 54% of comments showing where pupils had created or rewritten their work. This shows that blogging can encourage critical analysis and promotes using comments posted on the site positively to improve pupils' work.
By 000774259 and 0007739087
Parents and Carers 1
Cons that we discovered
The pros of using Kidblog
Would we use Kidblog in school?
Yes , the benefits we believe that would be evident through using Kidblog will be discussed in more detail in the frames that follow.
What have we learnt by using Kidblog?
What is Kidblog?
Who could use this and why?
Anderson (2013) states that"Ofsted make it clear that e-safety should be high on the agenda for everyone in the school" (p.62)
We would need to make it clear that whoever is accessing or using Kidblog needs to be responsible and aware of e-safety. Parents, carers, teachers and pupils all need to be responsible for their online presence whilst using Kidblog.
Parents and carers
Who could use this and why?
We believe that if used effectively, Kidblog has the potential to provide a powerful educational tool to pupils, allowing them to have a creative outlet while building upon their computer skills and subject knowledge. In accordance with the New National Curriculum (NC) for Computing, blogging could offer students the chance to engage in interactive, kinaesthetic learning in a safe online environment whilst incorporating their desire to experiment with new technology in an ever-increasing digital world.
How could Kidblog be used to observe and assess children's progress in ICT?
Using the DofE we analyzed how Kidblog could be used to assess children in each attainment target level of the ICT curriculum. Below each level will be considered with regards to the use of Kidblog.

Level 1:
By using Kidblog, pupils can demonstrate that they know how devices respond to their signals and instructions. This level will be clear through a pupil being able to use of a mouse or touchscreen in order to access Kidblog.

Level 2:

Kidblog could be used by pupils to record their work and findings. In doing so it will show that they are able to achieve attainment level 2. This might also encourage children to get more involved in their education at home as well as in school as it puts a fun perspective on learning.

Level 3:
The DofE (2011) states that to achieve the level 3 attainment level pupils should be able to
"share and exchange their ideas with others."(p.4)
. We believe that Kidblog would provide a suitable environment for pupils to communicate and share their thoughts and ideas. Being able to comment on other people's blogs, ideas and thoughts demonstrates pupils have the ability to peer assess and learn from the knowledge of their peers.
- Teachers have administrative control over all student blogs and accounts
- Student blogs can only be viewed by classmates and teachers
- Teachers can add password-protected parent accounts
- Privacy settings- block comments and access from outside sources
- Doesn’t require any personal information from students.
- Parents get an insight into pupil's work that they would not normally see.
- Parents can comment on their children's work.
- Improved home school links.
-Direct way of addressing parents without sending letters home.
- There is a tagging system in place which make sit easier to navigate and find specific posts.
- Teachers can categorise pupils work into specific subjects and topics.

During this ICT project I have learnt a lot about school home links and involving the parent. I have learnt that whether technology is used or not home school lonks are vital for a pupil's learning. Kidblog itself stands out as it allows parents to see and display their children's work. This means they will be more involved in their child's education. I feel that I have learnt how to use KIdblog and how this could be used by parents. although I have displayed downfalls of the blog I feel from a parents perspective it would be more beneficial than a one way communication system from the school. I have learnt through exploring from the parents perspective that many ways exist to communicate with the school. Ways which I would consider as a teacher in the future.
I feel I have also learnt the benefits of using technology such as Kidblog in the classroom. By using fun, engaging methods that children can relate to, pupils are more likely to learn from the experience. Kidblog itself would not enough to encorage learning to take place due to the cons which we have discovered. I believe however that with use of various pieces of technology and websites, learning can interactive and fun. Anderson (2013) implies that Ofsted feel that good and outstanding schools used ICT in creative and imaginative ways across the curriculum. This demonstrates that ICT can be used in and out of the classroom to benefit the learner. When teaching this shows that ICT can be used as a way to engage and encourage pupils to learn. Therefore when I become a teacher I will encourage the use of ICT along with other methods to ensure that each child is involved and learning in each subject area.

Could Kidblog be used used across the curriculum?
- Parents or pupils may not necessarily have access to the internet to communicate via the blog.
- We found whilst posting blogs that although the content remained private the title was open for the general public to see. This means that all parties involved in using the website would have to be aware of this and conscience when making posts. We believe that if precautions were not in place to stop titles from revealing to many details then the school and those using the blog could be endangered. The picture below shows a post that we used to test the safety of the blog.

- No direct way for a parent or carer to communicate with the teacher.
- Every parent or carer can access the work of other children in the same class
- Some parents would be more involved and interested in their child's education than others.

Teachers, pupils, parents and carers could all use Kidblog to improve the learning experience inside and outside the classroom.
How could we use Kidblog in ICT lessons within Key Stage 1 ?
How could Kidblog be used to observe and assess children's progress in ICT? (Continued)
Level 4: The DofE website suggests that pupils should be able to present their work in different ways through the use of ICT. Kidblog demonstrates how this could be done as pictures, videos and writing can all be uploaded to blogs. Children could therefore be encouraged to carry out different tasks that involve using the different methods to assess their knowledge of using different forms of ICT.
Level 5: Pupils could reflect each term on how KIdblog and other electronic sources have benefited their learning experience. They could also be asked to consider how their use of technology could be improved even more in the next term to further their education. This ultimately will give the children ownership of their learning and will allow them to become more pro-active.
Level 6: A blog page could be created for pupils to share and respond to others ideas on how the use of ICT in society has impacted the cultural and social environments around the world. This will make pupils more aware of how others use ICT and technology for a multitude of reasons.
(Dof E website, Accessed 29 November 2013)
Parents and carers could also use Kidblog to:
Directly upload their child's work. Kidblog can be used to upload and share media files as well as to type and receive comments. Parents could use this to upload work carried out by their child or teachers could use this as a way to vary how homework is completed. The blog could also be used in EYFS for parents to upload and share observations or work that children have done in school or at home that they are proud of. The downfall of this is that everyone in the blog group can see the videos or images and not just the teacher or intended recipient. When we tried to upload a video or post however, it was really hard to do and might deter parents from doing so. Children could also be very conscious about their work being shared online as it will be seen by others which could be considered a safety risk. However this could be prevented by parents receiving and using advice from CEOP. Their 'Thinkuknow' website suggests various ways which parents can interact and ensure children stay safe online, therefore providing a valuable resource for adults if they are made aware of its existence.
Communicate with other parents/carers in the class: This would allow KidBlog to be used as a social environment. There could be a separate page for parents on the blog to discuss and arrange social events such as coffee mornings or a page regarding PTA events going on around the school which they could get involved in. We believe that if parents are involved in events around the school they may become more involved in their child's learning.
Taking into consideration these points, we believe that a VLE such as Kidblog would be beneficial to parents, but also teachers and pupils and therefore decided to explore all three avenues. In doing so we believe that benefits from all angles will be seen and discovered. Ultimately this will show how beneficial a VLE or blog will be to a school and its community.
I would definitely use Kidblog in and out of the classroom to encourage learning to take place. I feel the benefits it can bring to the learning experience outweigh the cons that we discovered. The positive influences it can have on engagement and achievement mean that everyone involved would benefit from the experience. I do feel however that children may lose out due to lack of technology at home or lack of parent willingness to get involved. This issue could be resolved however by offering times in-school when children could come and use the computers or blogs to do homework so they don't miss out on the benefits it could bring. Another issue that concerns me when using Kidblog is that the title of each blog is visible to all; I would like a safety feature to be designed for this but that can only be done by the website itself. I feel that having regulations in place could control this and computer usage could help those who have lack of technology and support. Therefore I would use Kidblog in the classroom and make sure everyone is on board and safe by enlisting the methods mentioned above.
Selwyn et al (2011) wrote an article about a research project that they did on how parents may be more engaged in the school environment through the use of electronic methods. Some parents interviewed for this project by Selwyn et al (2011) stated “that the Learning Platform did offer opportunities for enhanced communication and sharing of information between home and school,” (p.319). With the use of an electronic system to communicate messages between school and home rather than a paper one, it could be suggested that communication will be more effective. Letters will not be lost by children and adults can access the messages whenever they like so can refer to a message as many times as they like. It does however imply that parents or carers would have to be responsible for checking the portal themselves otherwise they could miss out on essential messages being communicated to them. A physical letter given to the adult would ensure that they got the information needed. Therefore an electronic portal, such as Kidblog and the ones discussed in this research has both pros and cons which need to be considered.

One parent interviewed by Selwyn et al (2011) stated that a Learning Platform is “a one-way directional thing…it isn’t a forum, there’s no two-way communication so you have to go back and ask questions.”(p.320). This suggests that although a portal may be useful to communicate messages to the parent, the parent cannot communicate back with the teacher without going into the school itself or writing them a letter. Kidblog however, allows for a parent to communicate with the teacher without having to use such methods. The parent can comment back on post made by the teacher and therefore get the feedback they need on something or clearer instructions. This makes the electronic environment a more efficient one for parents to use and is less time consuming as using old fashioned methods. The parents themselves however, cannot send direct messages to the teacher. Therefore although Kidblog does help improve home school links, more could be done to enhance communication even more. Ultimately a stronger link between the school and home environment would have a positive effect on children and their education.
Parents and carers 2
Kelly, S (Unknown) states that when she used Kidblog in her class “Some parents chose to respond to only their children while others responded to multiple students and some did not respond at all.” This shows the positive impact of parents seeing and commenting on their child’s and other children’s work that they would not normally see. This could be motivating for the child whose work is commented on as positive feedback from parents and other adults would help them to see that their work is good and spur them on to try even harder.
The child’s whose parents or carers do not comment however, could feel negativity about others receiving comments. This could create friction and a divide in the classroom between those that receive comments and those that do not. It could also encourage jealousy between parents as they can all see each other’s child’s work. If work was posted on the blog the teacher would need to carefully monitor feedback and comments to make sure it is constructive and that each child received positive praise. Although the blog could be seen as a positive home-school link, it could also have negative effects on children and their families. For a Learning Platform such as Kidblog to have the desired effect the teacher would have to be prepared to spend time carefully monitoring the comments and feedback on the blog. We feel however, that the time and effort spent doing this would be worthwhile as stronger home school links would have a positive impact on a child’s education. Therefore this suggests that technology is essential to the future and education of all children across the country.
Parents and carers 3
Parents and carers 4
Arthur and Cremin (2006) state that “It is widely believed that primary schools working in partnership with parents to support their children’s learning and development can expect significant and lasting benefits.” (p.443). This implies that parental involvement is beneficial to the child, adult and school. Involving the adult in their child’s education can act as positive reinforcement, showing the child the importance of what they learn at school.
It can be stated however that a blog may not be the most useful piece of technology to use when involving parents in the education of their children. As a blog does not allow for direct communication with the teacher themselves, the parent or carer cannot receive help or guidance from the teacher. This means that to speak with the teacher confidently the adult would still have to go into the school and engage in conversation with the teacher. Kidblog in this case would be useless for direct communication, meaning technology would not be beneficial for this type of home school link.
Kidblog, however, could be seen as an advantage as parents get an insight into their children’s work that they would not normally see. As a parent can also share work on the blog, the teacher could see any work that the parent thinks is relevant. A stronger link between home and school would mean a better outcome for the child.
Parents and carers 5
Overall, for Kidblog to work as a home school link, I believe several adjustments need to be made. The first would be explaining and involving parents in Kidblog itself, maybe through an evening where the website is introduced and explained to them. This would not only make them feel more comfortable about safety for their children whilst online but make parents feel more comfortable with using the site. Hopefully this would result in many parents and carers using the site, therefore becoming involved in their child’s education. We also feel a direct message setting should be added to Kidblog so parents can email the teacher straight form the blog. This would mean that issues and problems could be dealt with almost instantly even if the parent is unable to make it into the school. It could prove advantageous with issues such as communication about a different adult picking up a child after school as the message would be instant and the teacher could also refer back to it at the end of the day, ensuring the child is safe. Another issue that could be solved to make this blog more accessible would be to create an android app so more parents could be easily involved in their children’s education. We feel that with teachers, parents and carers working together would improve the learning experience for all.
How could we use Kidblog in ICT lessons within Key Stage 2?
Pupils in Key Stage One could be introduced and allowed to explore the blog with appropriate modelling to allow them to do so. Pupils for example could create their own display picture on paint, taking ownership of their learning and making their blog more inviting so they feel excited and engaged at the thought of using Kidblog. A few sessions where they are allowed to just explore the blog could allow them to use their own natural curiosity to figure out how the blog works. This means that they would form understanding of the blogging system as well as the knowledge on how to use it.
An ICT lesson in Key Stage Two, could involve children researching and posting their findings on how ICT is use in different ways across the world. This would allow for pupils who do not feel confident in joining in discussions to air their views and opinions. The lesson could also be concluded by the teacher using the tag she supplied to find pupil's posts and comments. This would allow for further discussion of the subject and for the plenary to be centered around the pupil's thought and opinions. The posts and comments which the teacher can access will also prove useful to her as a form of formative assessment .
Before starting this project I had a limited knowledge of blogging but I was excited to explore how it could be used in education as blogging is not usually explored in schools but it may appeal to many students. We also chose blogging to extend our own knowledge of technology and the role it could play in enhancing the learning process.
From the two pieces of research and from our own findings, we believe that the benefits of using Kidblog are:
- It allows children to store their work in a safe environment
- Pupils can write in a collaborative environment
- Kidblog doesn't collect any personal information- it is confidential
- Student blogs are private by default: only their teacher, parents and classmates can view their work
- It is simple to set up and use
- There are clear navigation links which make it easy for students to find their way around the site

However some drawbacks may include:
- Would pupils use it?
- Some pupils may not have access to a computer outside school; in these cases after school clubs could be run so that these pupils are not left out
- Blogging can increase the amount of informal dialogue
Pupils 2 (continued)
Student Blogs
Successful and effective student blogs allow pupils to focus on expanding their writing skills and writing for a purpose. While offering a variety of publishing options, including embedding images and the use of multimedia. Students can make cross-curricular links by combining the use of ICT with other subjects.

However to ensure e-safety, student blogs need to have safeguards in place to protect their users, meaning that the interface must be child friendly. Student blogs also need to be easy for children to use otherwise more time will be spent on how to use the blog rather than extending their subject knowledge.

I would use Kidblog as I feel that this student blogging site offers pupils the chance to engage interactively while exploring different ways of sharing and discovering information, making learning and fun, enjoyable experience. The use of new software often excites children and they can explore for themselves how Kidblog works. This will allow children to feel a sense of accomplishment when they can figure out how to perform a particular task using Kidblog.
Blogging can also stem creative writing skills as they have the freedom to post their ideas in a creative way, allowing them to take ownership of their learning. However Kidblog have considered e-safety by giving teachers the ability to check the content of children's work before it is posted and other users of the blogs can report any content that they may deem inappropriate.
Although some children may feel anxious about their work being posted online (I know that I would feel the same way), receiving positive feedback from parents, their peers and their teacher can give these students the confidence to feel that their work is good. This could encourage them to be more willing to share their ideas, extending their own knowledge as well as given other blog viewers the chance to learn from what they know or have discovered.
The involvement of parents also strengthens home-school links and allows them to engage in their child's learning while further their subject knowledge and observing their child's progression throughout their learning journey.
To summarise we believe that Kidblog could be an effective tool for promoting learning within the primary school. Meech, S (2010) states that " Educators need to encorage interaction, cooperation, and collaboration while providing a safe and secure environment." (p.1). Through exploring Kidblog in detail and setting up our own blog we have deciphered how useful it would be to us as teachers within the school environment. With Computing being at the heart of the new National Curriculum, extensive ways to use technology should be explored by all pupils. This project has opened us up to new resources and tools we can use within the learning environment to provide an up to date, modern learning experience.
We looked at the three core subjects of the National Curriculum and discussed ideas of how Kidblog could be used to enhance learning opportunities. Below is an example for each of the core subjects of how we would use Kidblog within the classroom.

English: The blog could be used for pupils to type and share stories about their life and family traditions or to create mythical stories for others to enjoy. Jesson et al (2012) state that " Publishing to blogs or other Internet sites gives reluctant writers a real audience, including their parents, and this can be very motivating. (P.54). this therefore could aid children's engagement and enjoyment of books.

Maths: the Kidblog could be used to upload videos of the pupils using Beebots and their maps to work on coordinates and direction. It gives children a chance to refresh their knowledge and understanding of this subject an allows for parents to see a side of their children's work that they would not be able to access normally. This shows how technology can be used to involve parents in their child's education.

Science: Kidblog could be used as demonstrated below to record children's predictions and evidence from investigations.
The blog could also be used across the Curriculum to benefit pupils. This could include uploading pictures of artwork, sharing videos of discussions and to share work with pupils who were absent from class.
In relation to the EYFS Framework (2012), EYFS children should recognise that a range of technology is used in school and at home. They should be given opportunities to select and use technology for particular purposes. While they themselves may not be able to use Kidblog, they can observe their work being uploaded to the blog by their teacher and parents to gain a sense of using technology to communicate ideas in education.
Anderson, M (2013) Perfect ICT Every Lesson. Wales: Independent Thinking Press

Arthur, James and Cremin, T (2006) Learning to Teach in the Primary School 2nd edn. Abingdon: Routledge

CEOP (Unknown) Welcome to CEOP's thinkuknow website
Available at: http://www.thinkuknow.co.uk/
(Accessed 6th January 2014)

Chong, E. (2010) Using blogging to enhance the initiation of students into academic research, Computers and Education, 55(2), p.9

Department for Education (2013) 'Computing programmes of study:
key stages 1 and 2: National curriculum in England'' Available at:
(Accessed 8th January 2014)
Department for Education (2012) 'Statutory Framework for the Early Years Foundation Stage' (p.9) Available at:
(Accessed 8th January 2014)

Denham, S (1998) ‘The health-promoting school: reflections on school-parent links’ Health Education Journal. 98(2) pp. 55-58

Driscoll, Lambirth et al (2012) The Primary Curriculum A Creative Approach. London: Sage Publications

Headington, R (2000) Monitoring, Assessment, Recording, Reporting and Accountability. 2nd edn. London: David Fulton Publishers

Jesson, Jill and Peacock, G (2012) The Really Useful ICT Book. Abingdon: Routledge
Kalwant, B and Myers, M (2009) “Gypsy, Roma and Traveller pupils in schools in the UK: inclusion and 'good practice' “.International Journal of Inclusive Education. 13(3) pp. 299-314

Kelly, S (Unknown) Kidblog User-friendly safe start for social media
Available at: http://www.graphite.org/website/kidblog-teacher-review/3889586
(Accessed 6th January 2014)

Meech, S. (2010) 'Kidblog Offers Safe and Simple Interface': Learning and Leading with Technology, 37(8), p.1

Miller, M., Olthouse, J. (2013) 'Critical Thinking in Gifted Children's Offline and Online Peer Feedback': Contemporary Educational Technology, 4(1), p.66

Nandoli etal (2012) ‘The emergence of cyberbullying: A survey of primary school pupils’ perceptions and experiences’ School Psychology International. 33(5) pp. 477-491

Robertson, J (2011) ‘The educational affordances of blogs for self- directed learning.’ Computers & Education 57(1). P.1628- 1644

Selwyn, Banaji et al. (2011) ‘Providing a platform for parents? Exploring the nature of parental engagement with school Learning Platforms’ Journal of Computer Assisted Learning 27(4) pp. 314- 323

The Department of Education (2013) ICT
Available at: http://www.education.gov.uk/schools/teachingandlearning/curriculum/primary/b00199028/ict
(Accessed 29th November 2013)

Wilce, H (2009) Don't knock blogging – it's the answer to our literacy problems
Available at: http://www.independent.co.uk/news/education/schools/dont-knock-blogging-ndash-its-the-answer-to-our-literacy-problems-1832593.html
(Accessed 6th January 2014)

How does Kidblog utilise human resources to enhance the learning process?
Kidblog could be aimed at parents for:
The use of a virtual learning environment (VLE): This could improve links between the home and school environments. Jesson, J et al (2012) state that
" A VLE may provide discussion boards, blogs and wikis to which pupils, and sometimes parents, can contribute and thus continue the learning experience beyond the school day" (p. 35
). The Health Education Journal suggests that although the home environment provides different cultural, social and material influences these are just as important to a child's upbringing as the school environment. As parents have legal responsibility for a child's education it could be suggested that it is essential to have strong links between the home and school environments as parents hold just as much influence and input into a child's education as the teacher (1998, vol 98, issue 7). By exploring Kidblog and its features from a parents perspective, it therefore will explore how home school links could be improved through using this website, either via the internet or through the available app.
Helping Early Years Foundation Stage children. Children who are not confident in writing or forming sentences will be unable to type in a blog so will require assistance from an adult to carry out tasks or to use the blog effectively. This allows parents to have a more active role in their child's education whilst helping them at the same time. The child would be able to develop their ICT and Literacy skills through a more engaging, stimulating method rather than just through the use of pen and paper. In an article by the Independent newspaper, Bev Humphrey states that pupils "
think that school is work, and that they can't do it. So doing things online frees them up to have fun and enjoy writing, and if we can build up their confidence and get them writing, the paragraphs and spelling will come later." (3rd December 2009)
This could also encourage younger children when learning to write with the help of parents and Kidblog; the experience will be more engaging and enjoyable, therefore technology would be aiding pupils in the learning process.
Who could use this and why? (continued)
In KS1, children should be taught how to use technology safely and respectfully by keeping their personal information private. They should be able to identify where to go for help if they have any concerns while online. Kidblog allows pupils to consider the content of their work to view if this is appropriate to upload and share while providing a sense of security through the inclusion of teachers and parents in the blog.

In KS2, pupils should gain an understanding of how computer networks can offer opportunities for communication and collaboration both in and outside of the classroom. As Kidblog is available as an app on Apple products, this allows children to use different devices to create content in order to collect, analyse, evaluate and present data and information.
As we discovered that there was a Kidblog app, we tried this out on an iPod from the viewpoint of a pupil to see if it would provide easy access to their class blog.

While it was easy to set up, add comments and posts and upload audio and video files, the home screen was not clearly set out and it was harder to find your way around than when we used Kidblog on a computer. This could cause some frustration and could deter students from accessing Kidblog via an iPod.

Overall we found this to be an effective way of blogging which incorporated other forms of technology that will appeal to and engage children. Many schools also allow students to use iPods and iPads, especially in EYFS settings, therefore teachers could encourage pupils to use this technology to record work that they complete during the day and contribute to the blog, possibly even starting their own discussion topic (child-initiated learning).
Pupils 3 (continued)
Could Kidblog be used used across the curriculum? (2)
Kidblog could also have cross-curricular links to PSHE as schools could use the blogging site to show their students how pupils learn across the world, especially if they are linked with another school in a different country. Students could use this opportunity to explore different cultures and see how learning experiences and opportunities differ depending on your social and cultural background. This would then have cross-curricular links to Geography as students could investigate where the country is in the world, its population and what its capital city is.

This would also be a fantastic way of introducing different languages to pupils and learning small phrases such as 'Hello', developing their communication and language skills.
I was able to explore how Kidblog could be effective in education from the perspective of a pupil. Kidblog provides many opportunities for students to clearly link their knowledge to other subject areas while having a hands-on experience with blogging and modern technology. Some children may find writing and sharing their views difficult so may benefit from learning being presented in a captivating, non-threatening way.
From this project I have learnt that blogging holds many educational benefits and is an exciting way to engage pupils and build upon home-school links by encouraging parents to take an active role in
blogging. I feel that Kidblog is a phenomenal way of
promoting the natural creativity that children
Kidblog and Special Needs
Kidblog could be used to support children with special educational needs or disabilities. The use of technology in education makes learning more accessible to these students who usually may not have the same opportunities presented to them.

Some children may find it hard to write using a pen and paper, therefore using a keyboard and mouse to access Kidblog offers students a creative outlet where they can express their ideas with less limitations. Williams (2005) also found that children with limited dexterity would benefit from "drag-and-drop" manipulation of electronic images as apposed to cutting out which they may struggle with.
Williams et al (2006) believe that ICT helps SEN children and can 'bolster identity, reduce isolation, and bring the special skills to these schools and units to the mainstream community' (p.333). Kidblog promotes social interactions through peer assessment and communicating with other blog users in their class.
This also strengthens home-school links as parents of children with special needs are often the most knowledgeable of how to support their child due to individual differences.
Would we use KidBlog ourselves?
Kidblog is:
A safe, secure online environment where teachers, parents and pupils can engage in communication around children’s learning.
A blog where posts can be typed, drawn or recorded. This means a wide range of techniques can be used to enhance pupils’ learning.
A blog that has a free 100mb of storage which allows for versatility and capacity , suggesting a meaningful learning environment can be created.
A blog that teachers, pupils and parents can all personalise to ensure a unique experience for all.

Anderson, M (2013) suggests that teachers can use blogs and virtual learning environments for a vast range of purposes. These include:
The blog could be use for a blended learning experience. The combination of face- to - face activities in the classroom and technology orientated activities in the home environment means that pupils are building on prior knowledge within the home environment. This leads us to believe that it is beneficial to have a blended learning experience as children can work on the same ideas in both environments and ultimately gain a higher level of subject knowledge from using this approach. (Anderson, M, 2013)
The blog could be used to set homework that will be creative and engaging. According to Driscoll, Lambirth et al (2012) in a recent survey by Becta
"ICT was identified as the fourth most favoured way to learn by children." (
p.140). We believe that if children are given an opportunity to use methods that they prefer in the learning process, it will produce a more beneficial outcome for all involved. Barnes, J (2010) states that
"children should have a role in curriculum decisions."
(p.156). By actively involving children in their education through the use of ICT resources such as a blog it will ensure that they have a chance not only to submit work that is unique and creative but will give them a chance to discuss their learning and matters that are important to them as students. This will also therefore provide the teacher an insight into how they can then adapt lessons to suit the individual needs of each learner.
Kidblog would also allow for teachers to share work with parents, carers, pupils and other teachers. This means that work can be shared instantly meaning that in the event of an absence by a teacher or pupil no-ones learning will be affected.
Positive effects a class blog had on pupils' learning.
"ICT should be used like a wrist watch- you forget you are wearing it and can't remember how many times you consult it during the day, but if it is missing, you soon notice! "

( Driscoll, Lambirth et al, p. 138)

Teachers Continued
Kidblog could be used as a form of assessment. Headington (2003) suggests that observation is a frequent method of assessment used by teachers. Kidblog is the perfect resource for observation as all work is logged on the blog so teachers can then go back and use what pupils have written previously to aid their assessment of learning. This could therefore be used as a time efficient method of assessing pupils as it prevents having to look through books to find pupils previous work, meaning that teachers therefore have more time to assess and address individual needs in more detail.
A separate staff blog could be created as an efficient way to share resources, ideas and lesson plans. In creating an environment where staff can interact and ask for help it could be hoped that stronger working relationships would be created. In doing this it could suggest that ultimately both the school and the pupils would benefit from the stronger morale within the learning environment.
Kidblog could be used by the teacher to encourage pupils to discuss and offer feedback on each others work that has been uploaded to the blog. Headington (2003) suggests that peer feedback motivates students as it actively engages them in the learning process. By encouraging pupils to offer feedback and discuss ideas online it allows for all pupils to be involved including those that feel uncomfortable to discuss matters face- to - face. This means that blogs such as this one could prove a useful tool when a teacher wants pupils to share ideas or discuss a certain topic to find out what their students already know.
The benefits of teachers using Kidblog in education are:
- They can encourage their pupils to write collaboratively
- They encourage children to investigate and experiment with technology in a safe, secure environment.
- Teachers have control over what their pupils publish on the blog.
- They can oversea and monitor the comments made by pupils and parents.
- Kidblog allows teachers to encourage children to make cross-curricular links between topics.
- Teachers have quick and easy access to pupils' work in one place.
- Kidblog would be a useful tool for making pupil assessments and ensuring that each individual would be making sufficient progress.
- They can identify any misconceptions held by pupils and address these both online in the blog environment and in future class lessons.
- This allows teachers to reflect in their own practice and teaching approaches/methods.
Teachers 2
Drawbacks of teachers using Kidblog in education:
- 'Such active blog supervision and participation can be very time-consuming for the teacher' (Chong 2010, p.9).
- Unfocused students could be easily distracted by the computer and the vast amount of other resources they could use. The teacher would need to consider if the pupil using this resource instead of Kidblog could still achieve the intended learning objective.
- Cyberbullying could occur among students. Although the teacher can remove and monitor comments it is possible that posts of a negative nature may not be picked up straight away. Please see table with results of a study within the primary school based on cyberbullying.
- A blog can be boring to students if all it contains is text and tasks that ask them to write. The teacher would need to make sure that she makes the blog inviting and varies tasks which she sets for pupils. In doing this it will make sure that Kidblog continues to be an engaging resource that children want to use and therefore ultimately will encourage pupils to be active and have responsibility for their own learning.

Teachers 3
We asked two teachers about their opinions of using Kidblog in their classrooms and if they would consider doing so:
- 1) A teacher in an infants school (year one): Their school is currently discussing whether to implement blogging within the school. This would be used to display pupil's work and only students, parents/carers and teachers would have access to this to ensure e-safety. The blog would be password access where teachers could upload their pupils' work and there would be a fix on the work so that no one could alter the work except for the teacher. However there is a current debate: As the work will be written in the children's style, should the teachers be able to correct any grammar and spelling mistakes or leave it as it is? The teacher's discussed that they will need to discourage parents from commenting on other children's work but encourage children to leave ideas about what they feel could be improved about the school. The children will be able to voice their opinions about what they want the school to do and provide (constructive criticism) to gain ownership of their education. The school can then reply and inform the children and parents of what they have done to improve the school. This promotes open-lines of communication between the school and parents/carers.
2) A teacher in a year three class: The school did not currently have an blogging system in place or ideas to introduce one, the teacher however felt it could benefit students especially the high proportion of Ethenic Mionrity Achievement Grant (EMAG) students for example those from a traveller background or English as an Additional Language. Kalwant, B and Myers, M (2009) state that
"Schools must value cultural diversity and multicultural education has to make all children feel they have a part to play in the school community."
(P. 312). Although these students will be have a lower attendance than average due to their cultural background, online environments such as Kidblog could help to ensure that their learning is not affected. By having a way to contact these pupils and their families it would mean that work could still be sent for children to complete. We believe that this would help to prevent deterioration of the pupils learning that may occur due to lower attendance. The only downside of this method would be that it would involve having an internet connection and a strong home school link with parents. Meaning that this method would not necessarily be the most efficient one to use with children from this cultural background as there is no certainty that they will have internet access available to them.

Williams, P. (2005) Using information and communication technology with special educational needs students: The views of frontline professionals: 'Emerald Group Publishing Limited', 58(4), p.549

Williams, P., Jamali, H., Nicholas, D. (2006) Using ICT with people with special education needs: what the literature tells us: 'Emerald Group Publishing Limited', 58(4), p.333
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