Ok, bad title I know. But the content is good. At least I hope it is. Today I gave my students a survey about blogging. It’s the first year that I’ve done blogs from the beginning of the year and I wanted to get some feedback on their thoughts and feelings about the experience.
Some of their responses were predictable. Others not so much. Although, when I asked them to compare doing a blog with our old practice of writing a letter to the teacher in their notebook each week they almost all said they preferred the blog. I was surprise that many of them considered the blog harder, yet more preferable.
Here is some of their data and responses.
Of the students who said they didn’t like blogging, three said that they would prefer the blog to writing a weekly letter, two said they would like to mix it up, and one said they would like only letters. As a teacher I must note that most of these students indicated that they would prefer to do nothing at all if given the opportunity…yeah right. I’m not running a vacation spa here folks. One student made an interesting point that he feels like he has to finish a book before the blog post so he has a new book to write about every week. While I’m not super sad that he’s reading more, this will be a good lesson to teach and model later. Sometimes we dwell on a book for a little bit.
Not surprisingly, the social aspect of the class blogs is a major draw for the kids. They love reading each others work and many said it gave them a sense of purpose in their writing.
I love to write for an audience, that can connect to me, and who I can connect to. I also love the feeling when some one compliments my writing, and I love putting randomness in my blogs.
I like people following my blog and the joy of writing.
What I like about our blogs is that you can describe your book but also give your thoughts and have fun. What I don’t like is that you don’t really get creative freedom with the web site and it’s also hard to find photos that will work and it seems as if every thing is so confusing because it’s in HTML coding.
That last comment is a drawback of using kidblogs on the iPad. We’re working on it!
I’m interested to explore the quality aspect of the blogs. My gut tells me they are much better, but I’ll be collecting some objective samples in the near future to compare. I also, asked students what would make their blogging experience better. How could we improve the quality, motivation, and enjoyment of this experience. This is what they had to say.
Several of my students felt that because they blog was so “final” in feeling they wanted more time to devote to it and they wanted more acknowledgement of their hardwork through comments. In their open-ended responses they stated that having an audience and getting comments was one of the main reasons they enjoyed blogging and that they felt it made the task purposeful. They also indicated that they would like more feedback from me and not just “teachery” stuff, but me as a participant in the community of readers. So, in response to their survey we made the following adjustments today.
- Students will be given more time to prepare in class and comment, they also agreed to do some prep work at home for homework.
- Students will be given a “letter” pass to use once a month if they feel like they would prefer to give and receive a more personal letter from the teacher.
- We are working on updating our WordPress App so that we can insert pictures from the iPad and maybe this will make it easier for them to have a little control.
- I have pledged to be better about commenting several times a week and am only giving “teacher” comments through Edmodo when I share their assessment piece. All other comments are from me as a reader.
- I will be creating a rotating “comment circle” so that everyone is ensured a certain number of readers every week.
- We linked up with the other fifth grade class so that we could read and comment on each others blogs.
I had one other point of interest, which was I asked them what effect they thought all of this blogging had on their keyboarding skills, handwriting, and spelling. Many students said they thought their keyboarding was better, a few said that it wasn’t and said that it was hard because they couldn’t feel the keys. (Mental note-write grant for external keyboards and some stands.) No one thought that their handwriting had suffered but many of them indicated that they did feel they were relying on the spell checker too much. (Other mental note-find a way to address this.)
So that’s where we’re at. Thoughts?