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To blog or nor to blog?

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Started by ainsley massarotto 24 May 2011 5:38pm () Replies (5)

I've been having a discussion with some friends (both teachers and non-teachers) about whether blogging is considered homework. Some argued that it is just mucking around on the computer, there is no need to write correctly and it may be helping to form bad habits. Others argued that least their kids are writing and reading, no matter the quality. I'm just not sure

Opinions?

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  • Emma Watts (View all users posts) 26 May 2011 9:50pm ()

    Hi Ainsley,

    Netsafe created a PDF called 'Blogging & Web 2.0 Considerations for Schools'.  In the paper they discuss the educational purpose for using blogging in the classroom and it might help you unpack the challenge of blogging as homework.  They state that blogging can:

    • Create opportunities for students to reflect on and discuss what they are learning
    • Practice the written expression of ideas and opinions with an authentic audience
    • Helps students explore classroom learning through what others have written
    • Receive support and feedback on their own ideas through teacher/peer comments
    • Learn about and practice collaboration, respect, and relating to others online
    • Promote the overall teaching and learning goals of the classroom.

    I think that all of the ideas above prove that blogging is a worthwhile homework task and not just 'mucking' around on the computer.  At Tahunanui School we don't currently state that blogging is a 'homework' activity but we do encourage students and parents to read the blog posts and post comments at home. 

    At Tahunanui  we use blogging to share our learning with parents, whanau and the local community.  We are even begining to forge national and global connections!  We have added blogging as part of our Annual ICT Plan.  One of our targets is for 90% classes to create a blog post about their learning once a week.  In our action plan to help us achieve this school target we linked it to the National Goal 1:  Schools will use e-learning to give effect to the New Zealand Curriculum/Te Marautanga o Aotearoa by increasing the capability of students to become successful digital citizens.  We are aiming for teachers & students tracking their learning through ICTs, NZNC & key competencies through blogging and for teachers, students and parents to develop and use ‘academic commenting’ rather than ‘social commenting’  In Term one 58% of classrooms blogged once a week or more and
    42% of classrooms blogged between 2 & 7! Smile A great start to our target.

    Because we have been actively teaching and promoting academic commenting on blogs, I'm pleased to say that students are helping their parents to academically comment at home. Smile 

    I firmly believe that how to blog as a digital citizen needs to be taught in school before being set as a homework task.  Guidelines for parents help of course.  I also promote our blog at home through class letters and newsletters.  When a child has made a blog post, a letter goes home with the child encouraging parents to make a comment.  Students are also making comments on each others posts from now too (with out any encouragement!)  Yes the quality varies when a student comments from home...but that then provides brilliant learning opportunities in class about academic commenting! Smile  

    As a school we have decided that posts, because they are being seen by a global audience, that both deeper (ideas and content) and surface features (spelling and grammar) are important.  In my class students  draft posts and then edit before posting, and currently I view comments before they post (I teach Year 3s there blog can be found at http://room9-in-2011.blogspot.com).  In this term I will use student academic experts (students in my class who have demonstarted skills in commenting) to view comments before posting and then from Term 3 to encourage self monitoring at school.  We have an academic comment check list in class to help, it is also available on the class blog. At home, well I am happy to trust both students and parents commenting because of the work we have done on digital citizenship in class.

    Hope that helps!

    Emma

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