8th Grade DC Trip – Blogging with iPhone and iPod touch

I am chaperoning the Parkway Middle 8th grade Washington DC trip. We will be visiting Washington DC, Philadelphia, and New York City from April 6-11. I created the Parkway Middle blog for the DC trip chaperones and students to share their experiences. The chaperones are all contributors to the blog, so that they can independently write blog posts. I have encouraged the chaperones to write posts that include questions for the 8th graders to post comments (which are moderated by me). The chaperones and students have already been participating, which is hopefully making them feel comfortable with blogging, prior to the trip. I have provided a fair amount of blogging support in terms of training the chaperones and students via meetings, video tutorials, and “how to” blog posts. Here are student comments to a recent DC trip post.

During our trip, I will have my iPhone and iPod touch available for blogging. I’m planning to encourage the 8th graders to post blog comments, when we’re visiting memorials, museums, and other sights. Using laptops “on the go” would be much too cumbersome, so I’m happy that portable devices exist. It will be interesting to see where the iPod touch can tap into Wifi. Luckily, my iPhone can be used anywhere to blog, since I have a data plan with my service. I’m hoping that the 8th graders will want to frequently use the iPhone and iPod touch to blog, if for nothing else to win one of 5 flash drives rewarded to the top 5 student bloggers.

I’m expecting questions from the chaperones and other parents regarding my iPhone blogging idea. Here are possible questions that might arise, and my prepared answers (which I may elaborate in the moment):
How is this educational? I’m going to have the 8th graders respond to blog questions that pertain to historical references on the trip.
Aren’t you afraid that the devices will be broken? No, because my devices have protective cases.
Aren’t the students just going to play around on your devices? No, because I’ll be watching them like a hawk to ensure that they are blogging.
Why are you letting the students use your iPhone and iPod touch? Because I believe what’s mine is theirs.
Aren’t the students going to be distracted from the sights? Speaking from experience on last year’s trip, it’s better they stay busy blogging, rather than asking me inappropriate questions.

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