Tuesday, 14 June 2016

Blogging! Has it made a difference?

I have been on this journey for a while now and it's time to reflect on the changes that have occurred, or difference that it has made in my delivery of the curriculum and more importantly  student success.

This term my class all started blogging on their individual blogs.   The children were very familiar with the blogs as we had a class blog that we used successfully last year and the beginning of this year to promote visible teaching and learning.

The impact on engagement was instant.  Children are highly motivated to 'share' or post on their blogs. They have an authentic global audience.   There is more purpose to what they are working on and are connecting with friends and family across New Zealand and in some cases overseas.

The most important part of this process has been teaching the children how to comment on other children posts.  They follow the 3 steps of write something positive, thoughtful and helpful.

By following this template it has stopped children from giving shallow feedback like 'Good work',  'Awesome, well done!'.  Their comments now are full of advice or questions that promote further learning or initiate a learning conversation.  But the biggest impact to the students learning has been the improvement of punctuation in their writing.  This has been transformational!  Through the combination of the  3 steps to writing a comment and having an authentic audience the children's punctuation has improved out of sight. 

Here are some examples.

This had made me make changes to my delivery of writing.  I have stopped giving children constrained practice activities (worksheets), related to surfaces features like punctuation.  These have been replaced with blog commenting.  Not only is this a more authentic writing activity and engaging, it has lightened my workload in terms of finding or creating the activity and then making them all.

Finally, my ultimate aim as an educator is to cause learning.  My biggest change that I am currently working through is ensuring that all teaching and learning is visible.  Why?  Because not only do I want to engage the students, but I also want to engage the Parents, Caregiver and Whānau, so they can play an important part of the learners journey.  

So is this happening?

This is gold!  How does a comment like this make a student feel?  That's easy to answer.  It motivates and drives them, it gives them a huge sense of pride, they see themselves as a learner, an author and a teacher.  They have a voice and a world wide audience that is listening!

I would like to acknowledge Mark Maddren for his ongoing support as the Manaiakalani Outreach facilitator.