Today I took a replacement class, as my Year 12s have gone. It was a group of Year 11s in a computer room. Among them were some students I had taught in Year 9 two years previously and were some of the first students I ever blogged with. We talked about their old blogs, abandoned since year 9, and I showed them to the students. They laughed at their younger selves, amused that back then they had gone to "parties" rather than "clubs". They seemed intrigued by these word snapshots of the now distant past. It was clear to them how much they had developed and changed. I then showed them some of the blogs of the current year 9 students and now I was unexpectedly faced with (and pleasantly surprised) by the differences between the two groups. One possible reason is that my experience as a teacher who blogs has had some impact on the quality of what students write. I have also noticed that, with practice (the current year 9 students have blogged longer and more often than the 2005 class), and the practice could also be having an impact.
It made me feel that potential we have to have each Year 7 student start a blog at the beginning of high school and maintain it for their time at school would be a genuinely useful process. The students could each year be linked to a Year Level class blog and I would envisage the teacher of any subject at that Year Level being able to put up posts to the Year level blog and ask the students to put up some response. It wouldn't always have to be writing. It could be a file uploaded, a game, a voicethread, or podcast, a cartoon or anything, as I know that not everyone likes writing so much. But creating something - that's another matter. Students generally love that and it would be a great challenge. But I guess a lot of students still generate and show their knowledge in writing so that would work as well. It is a dream I have and who knows maybe it will be able to happen.