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ISTE10: Edubloggercon Session 2: Student Blogging

Much of this session focused on policies for student blogging and people sharing their experiences.

The #comments4kids Twitter hashtag and Comments4kids wiki were mentioned as great sites for publicizing student work and inviting comments from other students or educators around the world.

Jeff Utecht shared these guidelines from the International School in Bangkok. Our Web 2.0 Code of Conduct (.pdf alert!) has some similar content, but perhaps too heavy handed in our wording? Note: #13 was actually added by our lawyers!

One participant suggested that the forms permitting student blogging should be sent out a couple of weeks after the blogs have been set up, to be able to say, "Here's this cool thing your child did. May they have permission to continue?!" Others cautioned that it was important to get permission ahead of time, especially if the audience was public. This led Steven Anderson to wonder out loud over where permission should stop. Do we need parents to grant permission to simply teach?

On the topic of assessment of student blogs, some in the crowd felt that it wasn't necessary and in-fact detrimental to grade every post. The use of aggregators such as Google Reader or Netvibes was suggested to manage student blogs. I suggested outsourcing assessment as demonstrated here by Christian Long. Others suggested that peer review can be successful. Utecht commented that if we grade EVERYTHING, it becomes an assignment, not an individual reflection. Then it becomes to "schooly!" Someone else pointed out that if AP students are assigned a blog post and it isn't graded, they will resist it and push back.

Utecht shared a .pdf he has created for setting up blogs as electronic portfolios.

By allowing students to keep the blog as their own, it can be used as a portfolio for others to see what they are about as a learner.

Wouldn't it be great if a district gave a student their own domain name as a graduation gift?!
Dean Shareski has just received a grant to do just that in his district.

Jim Gates, the moderator has more notes here.

Comments

Anonymous said…
Great review of the session. Next year will be my first with individual student blogs (planning to use Posterous) and I left with a lot to think about.

With so many tech veterans around, I have to keep reminding myself that it's okay to set smaller initial goals for my teaching (say, implementing student blogs, period!) then work to refine from there.
Lisa S. said…
Oops-- that was me. :)
KC said…
I have done a bunch of student blogging, and I completely agree that grading every post is pointless.

Of course, I'm going through a grading crisis in general - why do we do this? How can we stop?

I've also found that students resist blogging if the topics and frequency of posts are overly prescribed. I think novelty and freedom are important elements.

Did you know I did my M.A. thesis on student blogging?

Also, I love the comment from the session about asking permission from parents to simply teach. Amen.
Unknown said…
@Lisa Thanks for the comments! Looking forward to our learning in the cohort.

@KC
Yes, I knew that. I wonder whether Blogger moving into Edina Apps this fall will get people to utilize it more, as much of the management will be taken care of? Also, instead of it just being a "English Department" thing, it would be cool if it could become the portfolio that was discussed in the session.
Jeff said…
Great review of the session. Looking forward to having more student voices out there to share ideas with. The best thing to come out of each student having their own blog is we help them to build a positive digital profile of themselves. Something that I believe can not be started ever to early in life.

Giving students the ability to express themselves to the world, opens up a world of possibilities for teaching in the classroom.

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