The second classroom blog I reviewed is “Billings Beta – Technology with Intention”.
According to the blog information section “This blog catalogs Billings Middle School student experiences with digital tools & discussions around the social, political, environmental & moral impacts of technology.”
It was the 2010 Winner of Best Classroom Blog Award. I was pretty excited to see what a number 1 winning blog looked like, especially considering how many other really good blogs I found. I think what sets this apart is the ease with which it incorporates not only the math, science, technology, etc. education but also real-world application and analysis from the classroom onward.
There are widgits on the side which have links to current articles pertaining to technology today. Students, parents, and teachers can read up to date news articles.
A tab located at the top of the page is titled “Digital Identity” and contains lessons and articles pertaining to teaching students about digital identities in today’s age. The very first posting is from a lesson in which the students read two different articles concerning teens and the digital world (one was about cyberstalking and the other about tweets with lewd language and drug posts negatively impacted a teen).
The questions posted by the teacher were:
“8th graders spent time debating the conflict between the teen’s positive actions and negative digital identity. Which is a more accurate depiction of the teen? Do we all have negative aspects of our life that aren’t meant to be recorded forever? What are healthy ways to explore identity without putting everything online?”
What an incredible teacher to present these questions with real-life situations concerning modern social media which most (if not all) students are aware of or belong to!
One posting that I absolutely loved is the “Playstation Network Hacked”. http://www.billingsmiddleschool.org/beta/2011/05/04/playstation-network-hacked/
The post discusses how the 7th and 8th graders are studying and discussing the timeline of Sony’s Playstation hacking. There is brief information on implications of such an attack including security issues for millions of users, affects on Sony’s stock prices, and the inconvenience for millions as the network had to be shut down until the security issues could be resolved.
The teacher used this as a teaching moment to show the students that there are numerous online outlets which have networks similar to Sony’s Playstation and how these networks keep personal information such as names, addresses, birthdays, and credit card numbers.
I think this blog is an incredible educational tool. It is fun and engaging as well as informative. Something like this could be extremely useful as a way to teach technological and digital responsibility while opening lines of dialogue between parents and students.