Using Blogs for Student Writing Ideas, strategies and research findings Claire Amos Director of e-learning Epsom Girls Grammar School email@example.com
Workshop Structure Part A: Presentation of project and findings Part B: Online workshop – Looking at class wikis and blogs in action Part C: Online workshop - Creating your own class wiki
Learning Outcomes On completion of this workshop you will be able to: Recognise the benefits and potential uses for wikis and blogs to support literacy Access a range of wikis to develop ideas Create your own class wiki using www.pbworks.com
Project outline The project looked at how student blogs and class wikis can be utilized to raise literacy levels in the context of formal writing (AS 90053) preparation and practice. The Project
Year 11 students were given the opportunity to complete their practice of formal writing as individual blogs that were linked to their online classroom community (the class wiki) I followed the same process with a top stream and a standard English class The Process
The Process Those students who completed the formal writing practice online, received their feedback as online comments Topics were posted on the class wiki with hyperlinks to other resources such as newspaper articles and video clips about their topic
The Process Students who chose to complete their writing on refill continued to hand in as normal and received written feedback on their essays These students still had access to online resources if they wished to use them
Outcomes Students who chose to write their essays as blogs were: More likely to meet deadlines More like to act upon feedback/next steps More likely to read one another’s work
Student Voice Other positive feedback from the students: Like that they often got quick feedback Like that they built up an “online portfolio” of writing Like that the could use spell check and easily fix errors Liked the sense of a public presence and that they had an audience
Potential challenges The lack of easy access to computers at school Blog sites are often blocked in school Not all students have internet access or computers at home Students not practising writing quickly by hand???
Advice Have the wiki and framework set up in advance If possible unblock useful sites Teach students how to give each other feedback (this was something I thought would happen naturally but didn’t) Use blogging sites that allow you to “follow” students so you are alerted when new blogs are posted Don’t assume students are young and therefore internet savvy
Benefits for the teacher Lightens your paper load – can’t misplace student work Quicker to assess and feedback – comment format discourages too many comments and encourages you to focus on next steps Easily accessed at all times Resources and framework can be used again and again Encourages students to be more independent Easy to track student progress (or lack of…)
The main links are: encourage reflective thought and action facilitate shared learning provide sufficient opportunities to learn E-learning Links to the NZCEffective Pedagogy
Links to the NZCKey Competencies thinking using language, symbols, and texts managing self relating to others participating and contributing
Moodle This is facilitated by the department as a whole. This is used as the home page for entire subjects. This is where you post common course outlines, handouts and exam information.
Google site (or wiki) This run by the individual teacher as an online community for their specific class. This is where you post resources and links specific to what you class is doing. This is where you would also post links to student blogs of they were going to be shared. This is where you might embed other Google apps such as calendars for tasks and assessments, forms and slideshows.
Blogger This is the place for student’s public, published writing. This is set up and run by the individual student. This is attached to the class Google site or wiki by a hyperlink (which allows for easy access by teachers and other students. (a student can set up as many different blogs as they need under using the Google login)
Google Docs This is the place for student’s personal writing and notes. Students who choose to do class notes and pre-publishes writing may work in Google docs. This will remain private, except for sharing with the teacher which allows the teacher to check in and provide feedback. Students may also share individual document s with other to work collaboratively (teachers can check who contributed what in a click of a button).