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Increasing engagement through Blogger

Tags: English | Blogging | Social media | Secondary | Upper secondary |

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."
eLPF 20114

Teacher inquiry

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.  

Selecting a blog publishing tool

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.

Engaging students in formative assessment

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 .

Student outcomes

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.

  • Students were able to enhance the mechanics of their writing.
  • Over time they gained greater understanding of what was demanded by the AS90053 standard.
  • Students found it easier to meet deadlines.
  • They began to regularly read one another’s work.

Blogging in the future

For future blogging the teacher planned to:

  • include explicit teaching on how to give feedback and provide opportunities for students to practise
  • include time to support students with the set-up of the blog
  • expand the use of the blog to include different forms of writing, such as reading logs and responses to text essay.

Software types

Find out more about the software types used in this snapshot.

Blogging
Social software


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