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What’s an elgg?

An elgg is the fastest, easiest, most engaging blogging platform I’ve ever seen. Here are three quick stories to suggest how an elgg is about building community.

Yesterday Richard Stohlman mentioned that a teacher in a school where he works, Rachel Posner wants to use a blog with her students. Over the past couple of years I would work with Richard to set up a class blog, and students would begin posting in class in response to Rachel’s assignments. This year looks a little different.

In a few e-mails back and forth with Kevin Hodgson (6th grade) — see comment on the post below this one — and his wife Leslie (high school) this weekend, I excitedly invited them to join us at YouthVoices.net or PersonalLearningSpace.com. They’re from the Western Mass. Writing Project.

Last year all of the 9th graders in my school (about 90 students) blogged using a whole-grade blog. It was our third year of working with Manila blogs, and we had some disappointments and failures, but overall these student left their first year in high school knowing how to blog. This year I work more closely with the 10th grade teachers, and these same students. How do I get them to find ways to use blogging again with these students? Right now I’m piloting a “community” in the Youth Voices elgg for my advisory. All of my students have blogs in this elgg, and they are working on their profiles. Most have posted once, some several times. There’s immediate buy-in as soon as they see how the social networking works in this elgg.

I’m talking with my principal this afternoon, both about how to integrate blogging into the 10th grade, and how he can participate in the elgg. He’ll have a blog, and I’m planning to set up a groups for him so that he can address particular grades, or only teachers, or the entire East Side Community High School. The access controls available in the elgg will work really well for my principal, Mark Federman. And maybe he’ll post publically once in a while too!

We want to invite you to join the high school or the middle school elgg that WorldBridges is sponsoring for us. If you would like to make this available to your students, let us know! To find out more, respond to this post. Also please listen to and participate on our live Webcast this Wednesday — and every Wednesday — at 9:00 PM Eastern.

Connect with us on the “Teachers Teaching Teachers” webcast at EdTechTalk.com.