This is a draft of my presentation, to be delivered next week at the Office of Schools conference, Engaging learners through innovative practice, about blogEd, the NSW DET blogging platform.
Actually, the presentation is more about using blogs at school and in class, rather than anything specific about using this great tool for students and teachers. If you are keen to see more about the actual blogED platform check out this great video overview, my delicious bookmarks or this Prezi by Craig Snudden.
I know it is traditional to actually present your material, then provide the copy for delegates but I am hoping to try something a little different for this workshop.
If you do check out the Prezi and notes below, please suggest OTHER IDEAS that are likely to engage students with blogging. The delegates can have a look at the end the workshop, or even better, participants may assist build an evolving resource, with their own suggestions posted afterwards (or during the presentation).
In my perfect world, the most enthusiastic post follow-up comments about their blogging efforts, later in the year, with links to their own blogs and reflections.
Prezi – oddly enough ;O) – tends to work best with the presenter’s narrative rather than being placed soundlessly online. To counter this, I have posted some notes below, which may help fill the gaps, to show more of what content will accompany the slides.
1. Student Representative Council: the students at our school named their SRC blog, OURSPACE. The posts varied greatly, covering topics like the MADD (Music, Art, Dance & Drama) Night, a school play, the Breakfast Club, uniform issues, excursions, recycling, student elections, a video conference with another school (thanks Victor) and social media. There were many comments and very positive student input. Here’s an article with more detail about the idea (last page).
2. Engagement & Activism: what’s the point of blogging unless you care passionately about something. Why should it just be the SRC that get to agitate for positive change? Students care about the future and a blog allows engagement with other young people and our world. Which kids in your class will enjoy having this kind of a voice? Our school has some Aboriginal students becoming involved with the Junior AECG in leadership positions who are keen to link up with other kids in our Learning Community. They will be blogging next term!
3. Digital Citizenship: our school ihas commenced a blog for Year 6 transistioning to high school as part of our focused Peer Support program facilitated by Year 9. This is a long running tradition at the school which culminates with the Peer Support Leaders accompanying their charges on a week long camp when they commence Year 7. Years 7 and 8 already have Year Advisor run blogs which covers aspects of this program.
4. How many blogging unit ideas can be accessed via our PLNs? Twitter and Yammer (where there is a blogED community) would be a great place for teachers keen to learn about blogging to connect with other educators.
5. Creative Commons: it is just essential that students and teachers are exposed to this concept and copyright during blogging – the earlier the better
6. Fragments: this idea is Troy Martin‘s – see f. below
7. Personal Interest Projects: blogED quire simply is a perfect teaching resource that allows students to connect and collaborate to research and present. What an opportunity to engage kids’ where they are at, perhaps in teams or pairs.
8. Reflection: the first unit I ever wrote about using blogs in class was in 2004 (page 71) and it focused on reflection. It still seems to be the best use of a blog. A teacher can commence a class blog and in simple, brief posts have children reflecting and interacting. Often, the most reluctant to contribute in class will type quite happily.
9. Assessment: quite simply, how would you use a blog for summative and formative assessment? Please post a comment for the delgates. Please.
10. Social media: how could a class or school using blogs to explore cybersafety and issues to do with ‘the medium’ and societal change? Please post a comment for the delgates. Please.
a. Slide 2: Angela Kasimis created this image (using Wordle and our SRC photo)
b. Slide 6: Barack Obama Flickr
c. Slide 13: Post from OurSpace blog
d. Slide 19 Tagxedo.com cloud of my Delicious bookmarks
e. Slide 21 Tagxedo.com cloud of Digital Citizenship blog used for the header
f. Slides 38-9 These quotes from two posts, ‘fragments’ at Troy Martin‘s blog and I thank him for ‘donating’ some ‘memories’
Great job on the Prezi draft. I have a few suggestions which may help further the discussion about blogs, copyright, and rubrics.
~David Ligon (@EdTechLeader)
Example of a blog used in a secondary school classroom to engage students in Shakespeare for an English 10 course. Some of the assignments involve students blogging from the point of view of a character in the story, and incorporate use of critical thinking skills in the assignments.
Students could go on a virtual tour and blog about their experiences:
For example, students could be asked to take a virtual tour of the Lourve Museum and report back in a blog with images and text about their favorite artwork there. One idea may be for them to name the artist, title, style period then describe why it is relevant and meaningful to them.
Another example would be to ask students to take a virtual field trip to outer space in Second Life and blog about their experiences. For example, I took my son to UK Spaceport (Star Beach Island) and Apollo 11 Memorial (Daden Prime) then blogged about it here:
and posted annotated Fickr stories here:
UK Spaceport Photos http://www.flickr.com/photos/edtechleader/sets/72157622297555399/detail/
Apollo 11 Memorial Photos http://www.flickr.com/photos/edtechleader/sets/72157622182009792/detail/
One idea I have is to ask students to take a virtual field trip to the UK Spaceport to research how many moons each of our planets has, and to bring back information on Sputnik, then report their findings in a blog.
Here is a blog rubric from SDSU:
which is based on a rubric used by Catholic-Forum :
also, here is a rubric for Wikis from the Horizon Project, some of which would be applicable for blogs:
A couple of cybersafety resources:
Web Wise Kids organization:
CyberSmart Curriculum from Common Sense Media:
And last but not least, a couple of innovative and informative copyright-themed music videos from Media Education Lab in the states (engages students and teachers alike in the often dry subject of copyright):
User’s Rights, Section 107 (Fair Use Doct) presented in a “Ramones-style” music video:
Copyright, What’s Copyright? “Hip Hop-style” music video:
As someone that’s relatively new to Blogs and even newer to blogEd I’ve been giving a lot of thought to the ways I might use a blog for summative and formative assessment.
What’s most important is to develop assessment rubrics backwards from the outcome statements in the curriculum. There’s nothing new about backward mapping, it’s sufficient to say that we must not lose sight of this process, just because we’re working in a digital web2.0 medium.
For me the answers are beginning to form and in this process my most recent discovery has been this blog:
The blogger is Megan Poore. I found her comments on Blog Deployment Basics and Assessment Rubrics, the most useful I’ve yet encountered.
Here Jill Walker Rettberg, an associate professor at the University of Bergen cites some basic principles. She writes:
“First: understand this space. Some students will be experts but most still lack overview, critical reflection and an analytical approach. Many have a thin surface knowledge. Understand the Wikipedia, Flickr and so on. What is the incentive for people to participate in such social spaces?
Here are some of my experiences with what works with students and what doesn’t:
* concrete tasks, in classroom
* set up tasks where students have to link to each other
* insist on feedback to other students
* teacher must model good blogging: link good or interesting posts from main course weblog
* encourage feedback and editing of posts
* set tasks that require reading and linking to other weblogs.”
May I borrow?! The junior AECG excites me, so too the connection between the Learning Community. We are having a Moodle day during Education Week, bringing together the Primary Partners and involving the Science Faculty.
The last bit, about having FUN, is the most simple idea…and the best.
I love this! So simple but full of ideas that force one to pause for reflection. I have been using blogs in edu for a number of years now, in a very informal manner. Initially it started as a place to continue the discussions and arguments my Extension English class were having about the Uncanny. We shared links and ideas – it was fun because we all loved talking and thinking about literature and the world. I used blogs with SRC to get students connected outside of the fortnightly lunch time meetings – this worked well when events were happening but students didn’t seem engaged at other times. They were project focused and less passionate than my Ext kids. I think I could have stimulated debate on broader global issues a little more.
I now use blogs for many classes but often the engagement/discussion is lacking. I post reflections on lessons and summaries of content covered – not very inspired. With year 10 I have been using our blog to showcase their work and have them comment on each other’s compositions and I think this has been a success. usually writing is on lined pages and hidden in a backpack. Blogs make creativity and thought public which is really cool.
Looking forward to comments from your delegates!
I think it also depends on the motivation of the students and what they think the goal of the blog is.
Many students only continue something outside the classroom when it is Assessment OF learning. If it is FOR learning, they sometimes have less engagement because they don’t see the qualitative value, only the quantitative.
I do think though that using it for group collaboration and teaching student’s about early in their education will lead to more native and interested students that take it as an extension of their learning and a place to continue debate and discussion.
I have made some comments here, nothing too earth-shattering.
Enjoy the conference!
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Some ideas for using blogs in the classroom…..
I am about to use one for my photography class (albeit they are Year 11- but it could be applied to stage 5 too!)
I am teaching them about taking photos with the theme “The Ordinary Everyday/Places and Spaces”, so I am going to load the photos they take onto a blog and get then to analyze and critique their peers work.
In this space I can also foreground the artists that we are studying for theory which are Glenn Sloggat http://www.stillsgallery.com.au/artists/sloggett/ and William Eggelston http://www.egglestontrust.com/.
I want to teach them to use the art frameworks for analysis and I will provide models of writing. It will also be like an online exhibition space. I will also get them to suggest other photographers that could help inspire and build on their photographic practice.
I use blogging in Moodle as a reflection tool. Each night my students need to write a blog as a reflection of the lesson that day. I use this as a record of their journey of learning. There a number of blog marking rubric floating around.
At first I found students would write blanket statements about a lesson i.e. I worked on the textbook exercise, now, students are reflecting and the same lesson now would be written something like: Working through the exercise on database design, specifically I designed the database by starting with a data dictionary, identifying he fields, their data type, size and description…
Ultimately the goal is for the student to reflect on the big idea of the lesson, i.e. what did they get out of the lesson, did they understand it all or was is all a blur…
Recently at a parent teacher evening I showed student blogs to their parents and explained it like this. The idea of a blog is to reflect, what did I do this lesson? Did I understand the ideas of a, b and c, maybe a and b but have no idea about c? Well, what I can I do? I could ask a friend, look at a textbook or ask the teacher, next day, today the big ideas were d, e and f, yep understood d and f but no idea about e. At this point if the student hasn’t reflected on this point and thought to him/herself that they have gaps in their knowledge these gaps are going to become craters… In addition by reflecting the student is processing the knowledge they have gained and when it comes to extended response questions in exams, they have a head start.
If it’s any use to you, I’ve started exploring BlogED with my Stage 5 PE classes and I’ve documented some of the stuff I’ve done, and hope to do, on my blog http://jonesytheteacher.wordpress.com
I looking at using our blogs as journals where the students reflect and record happenings in class, use video and images of work or movement as part of our lessons, as well as the most important part, reflecting and commenting on their classmates posts and contributions
Ultimately, the kids will each run their own blog and use it to document their way through a project, using it as a portfolio of their journey and the skills they have developed. I can use it for assessment, show it to the boss, or better still, to the kid’s parents.
Troy, Tanya, Jess, Jonesy, Bianca, Elaine and Russell – I really appreciate your comments, links and ideas.
As always Darcy a great post!
Explicit quality Criteria (QT)
Teacher can post 3-4 exemplars and students can comment on the task
Student’s tasks can be pasted and peers provide feedback on the work by commenting
Blogging (as in Web Log in which a Blog was first conceived)
Blogs started as an online journal of an experience. Student (or group) can journal their learning around a rich task through the blog. Videos, pictures, online references can be collected to create a ePortfolio of learning. Students in TAS could document every stage from design to finish of a project. Creating a rich and engaging document of evidence support ownership of learning of a holistic task.
Students can use a blog a s personal self-reflection tool about their learning and progress. The Blog can then be linked to more formal tasks as a deeper guide to the students learning, attitudes and progress.
Congratulations Darcy. You seem to live on the cutting edge. Don’t know how you combine DP-ing, parenting, partnering as well as modeling ICT for us.
Love what you have done Darcy! It simple, truncated and thought inspiring. Like Bianca and Ben have said I have used the blog, In my Nings, as a peer marking- hence peer learning tool. It was absolutely fantastic and got the students talking. It also breeds a culture of sharing, which in a seelective high school, is not something they do easily!
I would definately foreground the’ authentic task’ and formative assessment, peer assessment ideas maybe with some captured samples of student feedback to other students posts placed in your Prezi
And Bianca is right! It is about changing our culture about students writing. They must move away from the lined paper in the grubby text book hidden in the school bag- moving away fro private journalling to more public writings.
Hi Darcy, re: assessment – I recently completed a uni task where our blog entries and our responses to other people’e entries constituted our assessment.
We had to include 3 of our own entries which others had responded constructively to. Also meant that everyone had a responsibility to get involved witht the discussion. Will definately be adapting this one into Stage 5
Sue Waters, The Edublogger, and Richard Byrne from Free Technology for Teachers both presented: What you WANT to know about student blogging at Denver recently.
Shows an interesting diagram which sums up her innovative ways of using blogging with her students.
Roger Pryor posted about blogs modelling leadership @ http://bit.ly/98zJA6 in May 2010 🙂
Great links! Thanks Audrey!
Having already posted on this with some references to others’ material on blogs I just thought I’d reflect a little on my own use of blogs. I’m operating two with students at present and also using Edmodo with several classes.
The first blog I established was an attempt to explore urban processes. I saw my role as one of modelling an appropriate geographic writing style and demonstrating the manner in which other digital resources could be merged with text. This blog is part of a #DERNSW action research project with a Year 10 Geography class. Each day PowerPoint presentations, used in class, were posted onto the blog. Students were invited to post comments, ask questions or raise any matter they chose. They were also invited to use assets from the PowerPoints to complete various homework tasks. Since blogED wasn’t available at the time Edublogs was used. Response to the blog hasn’t been great, just a little interaction but many visits.
Arising from this activity and a field study, we’ve started building a wiki on urban processes. Initially text based content is coming from student field study reports. I’ve merged two student reports at this stage and posted them. The task for students is to refine the text, layer in additional information using hyperlinks, in the process adding in the digital resources that they’ve collected in the field or even those from the PowerPoints, posted on the blog. We have photographs (both students, mine and archival), field sketches (scanned), sound recordings and some video.
My other blog is a blogED one with a group that have just received their #DERNSW laptops. This is going well. They’re doing a lot of writing in response to specific questions. I’m able to complete a lot of 1:1 refinement of their blog posts with them. At the moment students aren’t commenting on one another’s work, but no doubt this will come.
As I final note on blogED I’ve noticed that there is sometimes a discrepancy between school data and the student lists available through blogED. I’ve had to ask for assistance in uploading three students.
Wonderful, some good advice indeed, Russell! Unless teachers are prepared to model writing generally, especially when using blogs and online spaces, it is unlikely students will flourish!
NB ERN needs to be accurate for the students lists to be correct in blogED. 🙂
I was very impressed Darcy, and immediately had a go at making my own prezi. If I can do it, with the minute and a half You Tube demo as a guide, any one can! Your content was inspiring and the innovative presentation would be sure to engage the audience. Good luck with your conference!
(I am at Sydney Distance Education High School, and have been thinking that blogED is not really suitable for us as we have the Moodle blogs/journals/forums already in use. And our students do so much writing already…
But we are about to embrace it to see what the response is like. If we build it, we hope they will come!)
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