Students at Epsom Girls Grammar School improved their writing ability and their understanding of assessment standards through the use of blogging.
"In our school, e-learning is part of effective cycles of reflection and assessment, involving the wider community."
The classroom teacher wanted students to be increasingly involved in the formative assessment of writing. In order to meet NCEA writing standards, the teacher felt that students needed to write more often, act upon feedback, and regularly read each other’s work. Blogging was trialled to help achieve these outcomes.
The teacher selected Blogger after browsing a range of blogging programmes. Blogger is free, easy to use, and can be accessed from home. It provides a flexible platform for editing over time. This feature became increasingly important as part of formative assessment. Students were able to adapt their work in response to feedback and new understandings.
Blogs can be "followed" providing easy options for teachers to track blog activity. The comment feature in Blogger lends itself to brief but targeted feedback. The public nature of the blog supports students to access and read one another's writing. Other Blogger features include ability for students to personalise their individual blog and determine who can view it.
The teacher introduced the students to blogging in the early stages of a long term and ongoing formative assessment project for NCEA standard AS 90053 Formal Writing . They drafted their work in Blogger and the teacher gave regular feedback about their work in reference to the NCEA achievement criteria. Students then recrafted their work in response to the feedback. Read the examples of student work in this English with Amos wiki .
Students found blogging to be a helpful tool for emphasising important outcomes, and developing their capacity for self and peer assessment. They liked receiving regular, quick feedback, and they viewed their blog as an ‘online portfolio’ of their writing and progress.
For future blogging the teacher planned to:
Join the Virtual Learning Network (VLN) and participate in these discussions.