This year my team tried student blogging for the first time, setting up every student with their very own edublog where they could personalize the look of their page while posting both academic work and their own ideas. At the outset of the initiative, expectations and enthusiasm was high.
Last week during Thursday’s professional development time, English teacher, Steve Olivo and I sat down to reflect on the strengths and weaknesses of our blogging initiative along with next steps for improved educational value. We generated a pro/con list to first evaluate the program and came to a few conclusions.
- Student blogging has effectively created a portfolio of student work that is being updated weekly.
- The use of Google Reader in conjunction with student blog posts has made assessment easy and feedback more timely.
- There has been a significant reduction in the amount of “paperwork” generated by students that must be collected and returned.
- Student reflection and interconnectedness remains weak. Rarely do students revisit their work after it has been posted on a blog and rarely do other student look at fellow classmates pages or provide feedback (as is seen to be more effectively done through nings such as this one.)
- There is no efficient way to track commenting by students on one another’s blogs or effectively monitor blog comments for inappropriate comments.
As Kerry Gallagher recently reported in a professional development seminar on student blogging, there are a variety of reasons for students to blog, none more important than to use blogging as a “tool for reflection and student learning.” With this being one of our key focus areas for improvement, Steve and I came up with a few techniques we will use to bolster such work in the second half of the school year.
- Create student lists with numbers. Students receive a number matching them with another classmate. That student will have to visit their classmates blog and write a comment on a recent blog post by the student. Assessment can be performed easily when teacher knows what blog each student is matched with.
- Taken from Kerry’s own method of feedback, have students write comments weekly to a class blog post titled “comments for week of _______” that will provide feedback on the class as well as develop interconnectivity between student blogs and classroom blog. (See Kerry’s honors history blog here for an example.)
For an example of some current student blogs see the following blog post off my professional blog.