Wairakei School teacher, Kate Friedwald and student, Rosa, explain why blogging encourages students to write more, to write better, and to produce better quality work because it is being seen and commented on by an authentic audience.
Kate Friedwald: We started blogging here in Room 1 at the start of the year through Google Blogger. Each student has their own blog, along with us having a class blog, and every week the students do a piece of work specifically for that blog, but then any time a piece of work pops up that they are proud of that they want to share then they put it on that blog.
Rosa: The last thing that I blogged about was a little piece of information on our inquiry which is quite exciting.
Kate Friedwald: So what it means is that the biggest thing is that there’s an audience for their work now, it’s not just on the classroom wall, it’s not just in their book. It’s out there for the world to see.
Rosa: My mum’s commented on most of my things. Like, some of our netball games, because we write about that because I play netball, she comments on that. She says stuff like “that was a really good game, you made how many shots but you could try to get in front a bit more” or something.
They are getting feedback and that’s encouraging them to write more, it’s encouraging them to write better, it’s encouraging them to produce better quality work because it is being seen.
I’m learning that a quality piece of writing doesn’t actually have to be long. It could even be a sentence but very detailed, and recrafted and GPS’d very well. We have blogging buddies in Greymouth who read and comment on most of our blog posts, and we read and comment their blog posts.
And what they do is they help us out with giving us that similar aged students giving us that feedback and that feedforward on what we can improve on. And it’s just having someone there “oh somebody’s waiting for my writing, I actually need to get something up there”.
And we can learn stuff off their blog, get ideas and just read it and give them some feedback.
It’s a lot of sharing. Family, parents, extended family. And they are able to share not just text, they can share media, they can share photos, they can share videos, and that’s something that wasn’t easily shared before we went digital.
Rosa: The things that I like about blogging are is it’s not as nerve wracking as actually getting up there and standing in front of a whole entire audience and reading it out.
So we have a quality feedback and quality comments guidelines which states what things need to be done, and it’s to get past the “oh yeah that’s great” to the “I really like how you’ve done this, maybe next time you could do this” or “look how I’ve done this, you could include that”, and the kids are finding they are getting a lot more feedback from each other, it’s removing me a lot so I can concentrate on needs, and they are moving themselves along with the help of their peers.
Through our blog we are learning about digital citizenship, and how the Internet is a big place and everyone can see it and it stays there. And the one thing that we’ve learnt that’s like key, is never give away your YAPPY. So the Y is your full name, A address, P phone number, the other P passwords, and the Y your plans, so that people can’t like stalk you creepily or know exactly where you live or something.
The other thing that blogs do is because it’s all date stamped, it’s a time by time how they are progressing, what they are putting on there. The students love going back and looking at their first post of the year and seeing how much their writing, how much their learning has progressed. They quite often use their blog as a place to review their learning, whether it’s the end of the term, the end of a unit, so they can just see how far they have come.