Assignment: Education - Student Bloggers

Onalaska second graders help teach and learn from UW-L education majors

ONALASKA, WI (WKBT) - Computers are common-place in a college classroom.

"Technologies have really changed the way we learn and the way we teach as well," said Dr. Rita Chen, a professor at UW-La Crosse in the department of educational studies.

Professor Chen has not only changed the way she teaches, but she is also training this group of UW-L students on what it takes to be the teachers of tomorrow.

"I am going to be an early childhood to early adolescent education major," said Nicole Milkey, UW-L junior.

But before Ms. Milkey steps into an elementary school classroom, she's learning how to incorporate technology into her lessons.

"It's really awesome," said Milkey.

She gets to do it  by blogging with a live audience.

"I'm in 2nd Grade," said Kyla Betz, a student at Eagle Bluff Elementary School in Onalaska.


Kyla is a part of that audience as a student at Eagle Bluff Elementary. Her Teacher, Mr. Bonnar, introduced his students to blogging last year using a website called Kidblog. This year the project expanded into a partnership with UW-L.

"It's the 21st century pen pal," said Kevin Bonnar, Eagle Bluff Elementary 2nd grade teacher.

The experience uses the communication tool to teach these 2nd graders the basics.

"Often times, 2nd graders can be reluctant when you're trying to get them to write more or read more.

"But when I turn them onto a blog they'll sit there for 25 minutes reading posts from UW-L students, sounding out tough words," said Bonnar.

But knowing how to keep the interest of a 2nd grade student is a learned skill. A skill this next generation of teachers is practicing.

"I personally, in my blog," said Milkey, "I put a lot of pictures because I noticed the more pictures I have the more kids respond, and the more in-depth their responses are."

"I have answered some of her questions," said Gwenyth Harter, Eagle Bluff 2nd grader.

"I've already seen tremendous growth this year," said Bonnar. "It's definitely worth committing to."

"Because of this blogging, I think they have become more creative," said Chen. "They use pictures. they use multiple texts, images, all kinds of things when they write."

So, as technology continues to become more a part of our society, both college students and elementary school students are figuring how to use it to teach and learn in the 21st century.

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