Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Start-up of Online Journaling with the English Class

Today I went through the process of accessing the student blogs with the accelerated English class . . . at least as far as I could in class.  Jenni Durbin and I ran into a couple of snags along the way today, but all is well now.

Jenni found out that because our school firewall hides the individual IP addresses of each computer connected to the server, only sending out one IP address to the outside world, Google let one student create a Gmail account and blocked us for the rest of the day.  Our firewall is designed to deter hackers from accessing individual pc's, but the feature hindered us a little today.  Google only allows one Gmail account to be created per IP address per day so we asked the students to take a couple of minutes tonight to create their Gmail accounts at home - problem solved.

The issue that I encountered was a little less of a problem but was not resolved until after school.  I found that blogger.com was blocked by our school's CIPA filter.  The students and I had access to our blogs since the domain of the blogs is at blogspot.com, but, unfortunately, the controls to sign in to the blog, make new posts, and access the settings menu are all housed at blogger.com.  I called our computer tech and explained that rationale for unblocking Blogger, and he "whitelisted" it.  After he did, I was able to access the settings menu as well as all other menu items.

A few students expressed some appreciation in the different approach to journaling.  Some appear nervous about using the blog, but all are making the effort.  I am looking forward to the first entries (assigned for homework today).  Next, we will spend a little time reviewing writing by other students and leaving comments about the writing.  I plan to model how to give constructive, meaningful comments next class.

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