For me, there’s no question – blogging provides a wealth of opportunity for engagement. Edmodo has been our blog of choice for the past few years and I’ve found it an effective way to involve different groups and with varying levels of complexity.
Some of the blogging projects have included: CPD Teaching Assistant training – ideas sharing / COBIS MLDP – international leadership cohort forum for assignments / Project blogs for KS2 Digital Leaders, animation, reading journals, homework, learning reflections and peer review.
During Y6 ‘ICT in Action Project @ BSN Business Units’, students select a placement at one of our 6 business units on site, looking at ‘technology in use in real life business. They post their ‘skills’ biographies, business colleagues post introductions to tasks, followed by feedback from business unit leaders all concluded with student project reflections.
This year I wanted to explore using blogs to gather evidence of learning, as an integral part of Computing modules, rather than as separate ‘Blogging’ projects. I’d hoped that once confident, students would begin to expand the ideas they wanted to share about other areas of learning, via the blog – and boy did this take on a life of its own!
Our expansion to Class iPads afforded easier access to devices and brought a wave of activity by some of our boys who find it challenging to commit to writing. We now have a new league of creative Science Correspondents, Maths Challenge Bloggers and Video Journalists on site, fantastic !
In Y5 & 6 we started the year recording our Y4/5 Computing skills and Learner Profile. Students posted about what thought they were good at or would like to improve. [Profile =Self-Directed/Effective Communicator/Creative Innovator/Technologically Astute/Confident Contributor].
Weekly or bi-weekly, students reflect on their learning and contribute to the blog as individuals, or for example in their Kodu Design Teams, review each others games via Edmodo on iPads while working on virtual game designs in Kodu Game Lab on lab PCs.
Edmodo also offers assessment opportunities via setting questions in Quiz/Polls. It includes options to upload a range of media: URLs, image and video files, a great way to introduce topic resources or as was used in Y4 – to share a film clip of a play rehearsal and invite comment on what went well and what could be improved.
We established ‘JSL Blogging Rules’ as you see below: when students are blogging regularly, its healthy to revisit these as they tend to get so immersed in topics that they often forget the ‘Question to keep the conversation going’.
Student posts have provided an opportunity to talk about ‘audience and writing in different contexts’ and to reinforce cross-curricula language expectations. Some develop an allergy to using capital letters, and general punctuation when blogging! Emojitastic posts, LOLs and !!!!!!!! and the importance of editing before you post also feature frequently in class discussions.
I believe it’s important that mistakes are made so that the conversations that follow create learning opportunities. To help celebrate appropriate and engaging blog posts, I’ve added ClassDojo into the mix, set up with blogging targets. Students develop into great editors when regularly encouraged to review peer posts and suggest improvements.
Finishing off with a Question to keep the conversation going …
How is blogging engaging learners at your schools? Are you using Edmodo, Kidblog, Quadblog or other blog forums?