Press

 Blogging Mad At Monteney

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  • Published Date: 30 June 2007
  • Source: Sheffield Star
  • Location: Sheffield

By Staff Copy

COMPUTER-crazy kids at a Sheffield school are becoming experts at navigating the net, thanks to their own blogs.

Youngsters at Monteney Primary at Parson Cross are posting up their work on the web, and have set up links with a school in the USA.The project, backed by the University of Sheffield, is in its second year and more than 100 pupils have been getting involved online.The scheme is helping to improve pupils’ literacy, as well as their computer know-how – and is also providing valuable lessons on how to be safe in cyberspace.

Jackie Marsh, a Professor of Education at the University, said the children were uploading a variety of their schoolwork, including written pieces and animated films. Jackie said: “They’ve linked up with a class of children at a school in Rochester, in New York state, and they comment on each other’s blogs.“Blogging is helping the pupils express themselves and is improving their writing skills, while at the same time they are learning to use the internet safely.”IT teacher Peter Winter said children needed to learn about the basics of online security like they needed to master the rules of road safety. He said: “They learn that they should not give out their full names, photos or their addresses, and that they should use aliases.“The project is giving them confidence to use the net effectively, at a time when so many kids are online at home anyway on social networking sites like MySpace and Bebo. They are learning skills they will be using for the rest of their lives.”The initiative has been particularly effective in grabbing the attention of boys, who can sometimes be reluctant to express themselves in more conventional ways. One strand has involved the pupils creating a ‘dino blog’, an animated serial featuring model dinosaurs filmed in the school grounds. Another project is called Couch Potatoes, with the children taking part in an online survey monitoring all their media use.“We kept media diaries to see how much TV people watched, or how often they listened to music, the radio or went on the net,” said 10-year-old Jessica Ford-Orton.“We found some people were watching up to four hours of TV a day.” Peter said: “The children enjoy seeing their work presented perfectly, and it gives them something they can showto their friends and family.“ It is really boosting links between home and school as parents can log in and see what their youngsters have been working on, such as a recent project on Egypt. The pupils just need to know how to use a blog. They don’t need to know how it works.“In a way we are taking something that is seen as a negative thing for teens – sitting in their rooms chatting online to friends all the time – and turning it into something positive.” Cabinet member for education Coun Harry Harpham, who came to see the scheme for himself, said he was impressed pupils were learning about internet safety at such an early age. He said: “This scheme is a real trailblazer and I’ve been really impressed with the quality of the pupils’ work.”

The full article contains 546 words and appears in Sheffield Star newspaper.

Last Updated: 29 June 2007 2:26 PM

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