Every year since I’ve been here, our grade 8 students have taken a trip to Hoi An and Hue. This year is no different and the leave on Monday!
Last year the students came back from the trip and created showcases using Shutterfly. This year, we’re aiming for something different…
The team of teachers who are running the trip decided they wanted some sort of real-time blog-based updates of the trip so that parents could stay up-to-date on what was going on. I thought this was a fantastic idea and set off to do some investigating. While we are a 1:1 school, we don’t have a culture of blogging nor do we have easy access to open blogging tools such as Edublogs Campus or a self-hosted WordPress installation. There was also the added complication of not having the students bring their own laptops on the trip. (The last thing anybody in a group of over 70 people is another thing to carry!). Students would have to rely on internet cafes or the teacher’s laptop.
Genki has been using Posterous for the YIS Field Studies blogs for a few years now. I had dabbled with it way back when it was first introduced but hadn’t really touched it since. So, after playing around for bit, here’s what I decided to do:
The 66 students would be broken up into smaller groups of 4 or 5 students per group. In all, I needed to create 14 different Posterous blogs (7 groups of students are going from Hoi An to Hue; the other 7 are doing the journey in reverse from Hue to Hoi An). I could have created 14 sub-blogs, but I thought it would be too difficult to manage the invitations and passwords and what not. I decided to create 14 individual Posterous blogs instead. To do this, I used disposable email addresses based on my Gmail (such as email@example.com) to register for each blog. I then registered each student’s email account with the associated blog.
So now we’ve got 14 Posterous blogs set up for the entire grade. In order to write their posts, the students just need to use their school email account to send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org with the pictures attached and the text in the body of the email. They can even add tags by modifying the subject line!
I’ve also created bundles in Google Reader that I have shared with the teachers on the trip. In order to check all the posts for their cohort of students, the teachers just need to check a single link!
Total time in front of my computer setting this up: under 2 hours, I would guess. There may be an easier way to do this in the future (if you have any ideas, please let me know in the comments!) and there may still yet be some complications, but this was pretty dead easy to administer.
If you interested in following along as well, use the following links. Posts should start coming in on Monday evening!
Hoi An to Hue
Hue to Hoi An
Image Credit: Japanese Bridge by Pigalle licensed under CC BY NC SA