Friday, 30 May 2014

Evaluating our blog- what are our next steps?

Keeping a class blog has been transformative for me as an educator. Creating 8C Happenings was part of my PLD in 2013 so I was something of a late bloomer in the blogging field. At Selwyn House, we've maintained blogs for years but they were private blogs through Ultranet and I desperately wanted for us to become connected beyond our school community.  I could not have foreseen how transformative keeping a blog would be for my learners and myself as a teacher. As the first public blogger at our school, I outlined three enormous benefits of keeping a blog for my colleagues in this short clip. Excuse the cheesy grins......and the somewhat startlingly thick kiwi accent. Who knew I had an accent?! ;)

This year began with all four classes in our Year 7 and 8 team committed to keeping class blogs. This has been a great experience and I think one of the reasons blogging has been so successful amongst our team is that we started blogs as part of the action in our Straight to the Blog Unit of Inquiry; expecting teachers to find time to learn about blogging in busy schedules on top of everything else might not have been so effective.

So 8C Happenings has been rocking along, tickety boo. We have over 40,000 page views and have made some really powerful connections but recently I have been reflecting a lot on what our next steps are as bloggers. Are we really using our blog to its full potential or is it at risk of simply becoming a digital noticeboard?

Then on Monday evening, Danielle Myburgh tweeted this:

I was so excited when I saw the blogging rubric she had created. Embarrassingly, it had never occurred to me to evaluate our entire blog as a whole. We'd evaluated plenty of individual blogposts but never our blog in its entirety. I was keen to get started. So on Tuesday morning, we abandoned our writing programme and the girls split into six small groups with each group taking one aspect of the rubric to assess.

I thought this was particularly harsh in the Participating and Commenting section as the girls are generally great at taking part and leaving quality comments. Also, they have contributed in Quadblogging twice this year and made a very positive contribution. As a say, we are working on not looking at things from a deficit mindset! But on the whole, their assessments were astute and reflective.

Where are our Quadblogging Buddies? 

The girls identified some next steps for each category and the one that stood out for me the most was that they want (and to be fair, deserve) to have more ownership of posting to the class blog. They are desperate to get their hands on that Blogger password instead of sharing their google docs with me so I can post for them. Fair enough!

Next steps as identified by 8C:
Visual Impact- Ensure images enhance our learning rather than just looking pretty
Student-Centred- Post our blogposts straight into Blogger rather than sending to Mrs C-M to put them up
Multi-Media- Create more video content
Digital Citizenship- Be more familiar with the 9 Aspects of Digital Citizenship
Participating and Contributing- Use emoji in our comments (!)
Academic Contribution- Design our own learning tasks which we then share on the blog

After reflecting on these next steps, I let the girls take charge of this week's posts. There was a common theme from the small groups regarding a desire to have more video on the blog so there has been a lot of time spent in the past couple of days filming imovies the girls believe will be interesting to our blog readers. These obviously take a lot longer to prepare than making a quick Photopeach; next week, expect an onslaught of stimulating posts about our learning at Selwyn House! These posts are entirely driven by the girls and will be uploaded by the girls themselves.

GULP...... ;)

Encouraging independence with multi-media
Thanks so much Danielle, for inspiring me to evaluate where we are heading with the class blog. Your rubric is fantastic and has encouraged me to give control to my learners....... again? This is becoming a habit! 

1 comment:

  1. It's great to see you giving ownership over to your students and getting them to use the rubric. How powerful! Thanks for sharing