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Session 28 – What is the eductaional value of class blogs, wikis etc

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Session Title
What is the eductaional value of class bogs, wikis etc

Session Summary

Poor blog = comments in lesson. Good blog = comments that night. Great blog = children continuing the discussion weeks later.

Although expecting a quieter #ukedchat discussion than usual, owing to the numbers of ‘regulars’ attending BETT, I was pleasantly surprised. It appears there’s a whole host of enthusiastic teachers blogging out there who were more than happy to share what their experiences have taught them.

What was evident from the outset of the conversation, was the endless possibilities that a blogging offers a school and its learners. There were examples of sharing pupils work, using a blog for pastoral reach and thoughts about how blogs improve parental engagement.

Many of the teachers involved in the conversation shared links to their school blogs and I have listed those links below. There are some fantastic examples of good practice and some inspirational student work, so do have a look. (Apologies if I’ve missed any: they are all available to view in the archive.)

One of the ideas which really struck me, was the power of blogs to teach pupils about writing for an audience. I asked the question ‘do you edit/correct pupils’ work before uploading it to your blog?’ and I was surprised at how many people said no, because pupils learn from mistakes and knowing they have a ‘real’ audience encourages them to self-edit and improve their work. Maybe it’s the control-freakery of the English teacher in me, but I genuinely found this a refreshing attitude! The power of a worldwide (in some cases) audience also resonated; I can imagine my pupils would really enjoy knowing their work had been read and enjoyed by the wider world.

Parental engagement was a message which came through loud and clear. The idea that parents can see what pupils are doing and can comment on work produced is definitely an improvement on the annual parents’ evening or termly report!

All in all, this was a thought-provoking and useful discussion and thanks go to all those involved. I was certainly not alone in feeling inspired, as you can see from the tweets below…

Notable Tweets from the session:
@NikyNewbury My class are fairly new at blogging but they love contributing to it. They especially love that their audience is worldwide.

@The_Librain Using wiki for reading devel worked well – kids loved helping each other to choose books to read via comments

@phillengthorn Y11 wiki has worked pretty well for students to discuss poetry. – we would study poem and discuss the poem on the wiki for hwk

@narthernlad blogging opens teachers eyes to lots of different media for teaching! It is amazing what is embeddable in a blog!

@kazmuir4: This has def given me much to think about, thinking of starting my own blog

@H_R_S_T: used a blog with Y6 when away in France, gave their parents access to it & them up to date info on kids & kids loved it

@H_R_S_T: blogs on poetry give the quieter kids an important outlet to express their views without the dominace of the more popular

@ClaireJoanne35: feeling quite keen to get class blogs set up again

Tweet of the Week:

There were some fantastic examples of improved pupil assessment data:

@trees2066: Primary school Eng 2L progress up from 62% to 96% over same period. Can engage reluctant writers.

@trees2066: In our school English L4 has increased from 70% to 96% in 2 years since intro of blogs and VLE

@DeputyMitchell My last Y6 class made 6.6 points progress in 12 months in writing, L5 results from 9% to 63% in 1 year. At beginning of the year we were struggling to find 3 pupils who would get L5 – finished with 19 IIRC

However, I think it was this tweet which got me thinking about the power of blogging:

@trees2066: Poor blog = comments in lesson. Good blog = comments that night. Great blog = children continuing the discussion weeks later.

The idea that pupils could be so engaged as to continue that learning conversation independently outside the classroom for weeks excites me: if that is blogging, then bring it on!

Weblinks Highlighted During The Session:

http://www.littleharrowden.northants.sch.uk/blog/?p=141

http://thrustablegeography.blogspot.com/

http://meresideyear6s.primaryblogger.co.uk/

http://trinitylower.net/

http://stjohnsblogs.co.uk/class5/

http://stjohnsblogs.co.uk/sport/

http://class2hbps.posterous.com/

http://7rcs.blogspot.com/

http://stjohnsblogs.co.uk/

http://avenue5d2010.wordpress.com/

About The Host
I’m second in the English department at a secondary school in Liverpool. I’ve been involved in #ukedchat now for a few months and am constantly amazed by the power of a PLN! I’ve been inspired by this week’s discussion to start up a class blog of my own: so, watch this space…

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