Only As Good As The Weakest Piece

21st Century Skills Need 21st Century Tools

The 33 21st Century Skills Every Teacher Should Have

Today I introduced blogging to my oceanography classes. My school has two computer labs available for the entire high school Our science department, needing to use the vernier probes for some of the labs, has purchased two laptop carts, each with 12 laptops in them. School computers will only allow access if they are within reach of a wifi hub; my classroom has wifi internet access. I reserved both of the laptop carts for the day so that each student could get a login account, and I could show them how the Wordpress site worked.

Problem #1: First thing in the morning I went to collect the two carts, each of  which is housed in the newer science classrooms.  One was not there and the other one was missing a laptop. I searched every other science classroom, and the library, looking for the missing cart but did not find it. I have 11 laptops. Flex: Students share and take turns signing on. While one is learning the wordpress blog protocols the other can be drafting his or her post on writing paper.

Problem #2: Knowing that the login tends to take longer in my room, I instruct the students to begin logging in while I explain the assignment. The blog assignment is an analysis of learning attained on a field trip the previous day. We get through a detailed explanation of all the aspects that could be blogged. Only a few laptops have booted up to the login screen. Flex:  I have the wordpress site projected on the wall and begin explaining how to sign up, having the students hand write the website url and sign up instructions. By the end of the period, Only two (2) computers have made it to the login page. I check the library schedule and find it is open for my next class; I sign up.

Problem #3: Students sign up for and log into the wordpress site. All blog posts are to go on the PRHS science blog, so they also accept invitations to the site. When students click the "New Post" link, one-third get stuck in spinning limbo. Flex: Students are directed to draft their work on Word, for later posting. I sign up for library for Tuesday (next school day).

So THIS was a frustrating day. What should have been accomplished in less than one period, remains for the next class day. Good thing I'm flexible and can adjust, but if schools are to embrace the 21st Century skills, and I believe blogging is an important skill, then schools will need to establish strategies for maintaining highly functioning systems.
“The fact of the matter is, if you can start up a local blog about the independent hip-hop scene in Seattle or the financial side of the restaurant business or the intersection of immigration and entrepreneurship, you’ve got a far better shot at becoming a leader in your field.” ~Rand Fishkin

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