Tuesday, January 31, 2006

Reflections T4, 2005 (Emily)

This terms use of blogs has been minimal at best. This term, due to factors outside of the classroom I chose to take a different approach with the blogs. I took an active role at the beginning of term in order to help students create their own blogs and to identify those students in the class who had had blogging experience in the past. It turned out that about half my class had blogged the previous term so I asked them to act as mentors for the newer students. As later arrivals came to class I handed them the worksheets and asked them to work with a classmate to set up their blog. Throughout the term I asked students to write different pieces and suggested that they may want to put them on their blogs. Most students preferred to hand write a first draft then blog the final copy later. However, for the most part of the term I chose not to take a very active role in asking students to post work or reminding them to post work.

If students wrote anything on their blog I would correct it, using the correction code, and hand it back usually within 24 hours. A few students took advantage of this and would look at the corrections and ask me about them the next day after they had had a chance to make the corrections themselves to check that they understood why the draft had been incorrect.

At the end of term there was a flurry of activity which can possibly be attributed to the need for the Intermediate students to provide 3 pieces of written work from throughout the term for part of their final coursework mark. Each piece of writing had to be accompanied by a draft which had to have been corrected by the teacher(s) prior to the last week of term.

It was interesting to note this term the lack of blog personalities that had been present the previous term. The previous term saw one student very keen to show his peers what could be done with the technology and one student who made a consistent effort every night to comment on other students blogs which in turn encouraged his classmates to do the same making for a very interactive and social classroom atmosphere. Students in class often talked to each other about what they had read on each others blogs the next day, asking for clarification or as a way to start a conversation.

Plans for 2006
Put coursework online by using blogs as a presentation tool this will possibly change the nature of the blog due to it now being part of the assessment (15% of overall mark)
Encourage more discussion of postings in class (as suggested by students???)
Re-introduce the ‘Let’s surf the blogs’ worksheet early in the term to encourage the idea of writing for an audience and to encourage students to interact through reading (and eventually commenting on) each others blogs.


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