Thursday, November 01, 2007

Blogging then and now

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.


  1. Hi Jo,

    Once again, great minds (or minds, anyway ;-) think alike. The day before you wrote this post, I wrote one that mentions "my re-tooled attempt to integrate writing instruction via blogging in my high school (as the English department head, I was able to push through a four-year plan in which students would write from grade 9 to 12 on the same blog, and write a sort of biographical reflection their senior year based on the evidence in those blogs)."

    We're using WPMU and signing students up with blogs using first name last initial + last two digits of graduation year. They'll keep that blog from age 14-18.

    I'm relieved that the English teachers in my department feel too cramped to launch blogging in the 14-16 year-old classes until January - I'm overworked too, so that gives more planning time.

    But once launched, I'm excited to tweak this over the years.

    And as you mention Ryan saying (either in this post or another), getting students reading and commenting on other blogs is crucial (and for my seniors, that means adult blogs, not other student blogs, since I want them to "come out" to the adult world they'll be joining in seven months).

    I posted more about it on my new self-hosted WordPress in posts from here and later.

    I think I may have a co-mgr of the 1001 Tales for you in Korea. Stay tuned :)

  2. i think blogging is a great way to connect with the rest of the world. It's a good way to get a 2nd perspective on a subject to understand that subject better.

  3. i think it's a great way to talk to people and for them to respond back to you to let you know back fast. It's one of the most popular ways and always will be.

  4. Blogging is a great way to interact with the world around. You can learn what different people think and new views. Because of blogging you may change your view becausue of learning a new view you had never thought of.