Three years ago, our school division embarked on a vision to be “a place where exploration, creativity and imagination make learning exciting and where all learners aspire to reach their dreams”. During this time, we were also entering into the collaborative cloud-based arena with Google Apps for Education (GAFE) and Edublogs. This work is also support by the Ministerial Order on Student Learning and the Learning and Technology Policy Framework.
A Look at Edublogs
This platform allows students to engage in developing their writing skills, becoming more transparent reflective learners and establishing a positive digital presence through blogging. Currently in our division there are two types of blogs: a classroom blog (developed and maintained by the teacher) and a student blog (maintained by the student and moderated by the teacher).
The Classroom Blog’s purpose is to share and build a deeper understanding of the learning occurring in the classroom. Teachers use the classroom blog to document classroom activities, curate curricular-specific links to educational resources, extend learning opportunities, model digital citizenship and social responsibility, and encourage student and parent responses.
The Student Blog’s purpose is to share and showcase their own learning artifacts and build a deeper understanding through reflection.
Students use their blog to:
• Share growth in their learning
• Leave a positive digital footprint
• Relate to the topic being discussed in class
• Reflect on their own learning
• Support the learning of others by giving and receiving feedback
• Write about their passions and invite guest responses from community members.
The blog improves their level of understanding, develops growth in literacy and numeracy, increases engagement in learning, encourages parent participation. Student can choose how they present their learning on their blog via video, audio, text, images or a combination of these which offers them different opportunities to showcase their work. Overall, blogging is one important way to have students reflect on their learning.
“Students are more reflective about their own learning because of their blogs. I love that they are able to look at their learning, think about the process, and then write about the experience. What a valuable opportunity! Additionally, the kids love feedback that goes beyond our classroom walls. When someone from another city, province or country responds, they get SO excited!”- Teacher
“Blogging opened up the possibilities of audience in new ways. So, when they are considering writing or publishing for an audience other than me, the teacher, that really impacts how they view what they doing and the intrinsic motivation they have.”- Teacher
“I have really enjoyed blogging this year. It has been a fun way to learn new writing skills. In 5th grade I didn’t really like writing. It seemed boring and like a chore. When we started blogging this year, I was really unsure about it. I thought it would be just a trick to make writing seem more exciting. I was so wrong! Blogging has been really fun for me. Blogging has let me write about things I like and enjoy, such as holidays and video games. If we just wrote papers and essays this year, I would probably get burnt out. I would not try as hard, and it would not be very enjoyable. I really want to continue this amazing experience next year.”- Student, Grade 6
“I want to continue to write these posts … because they help me put all my thoughts into words and to stretch my creativity.” – Student, Grade 8
“Throughout the year, I have learned new techniques for grammar from reading other people’s blogs and from some of my own. Every time I write a blog I learn a new way to use word.” – Student, Grade 9
As one can read from the above comments, our students are seeing the impact that blogging has on their learning. In fact, some of our youngest bloggers are now able to share and demonstrate their learning just as much as our older students because of a third party app called EasyBlogjr. See how some of our early years students are showcasing their learning through the examples below:
Colby, grade 2
RJ, grade 2
The image below shows RJ’s actual post from what he demonstrated in the above video. His title The Deadly Witch, the photo that he took of his deadly witch drawing and his sentence of “My witch is my first drawing and it was as fun as possible and we had to use crayons and we had to fill the hole page” is prominently displayed in the post of which I have enclosed in this screen shot.
As one can see, hear and read, our students today are able to express and demonstrate their learning in exciting ways!