Thursday, August 4, 2011

To Blog or NOT to Blog...

The big question is this: are your class blog and wiki an extension of your classroom programme or just a place to display excellent work or a real pain to keep on top of?

I began slowly 2 years ago...I eased myself into the whole thing with a small, basic class wiki. It was a hassle to keep up to date. I tried really hard to work on it regularly, but by the time I reached the first round of parent interviews, I was over it. Actually, I had completely forgotten about it.

Last year, I started with guns blazing, every hot idea in the forefront of my mind with the best of intentions. By the end of the first term I asked myself the big question: why am I doing this??? And most importantly, WHO am I doing this for?

So I stopped what I was doing. Yup, just stopped. Then I spent several weeks with my class purposefully seeking out what THEY wanted to be on the wiki, what was useful to help their learning, what websites would support their learning goals and so on. We built the wiki together and we added to it constantly. If wikis could fall apart from the weight of information, then ours would have!

Suddenly, there was a shift that occurred in the classroom. The kids rushed in every morning to get onto the class wiki. They added to their own pages and took each other on tours of the fantastic new ideas they had discovered. They supported one another and shared their skills of how to embed youtube clips, how to link to other pages, how to put slideshows from keynote onto and then embed it...the list just grew and grew...

So what had happened? Our wiki became an extension of our classroom. We became a class without walls and we all knew it. The children had an investment in their own learning and they wanted more. They were engaged in the process of planning and they were a part of the decisions around what they wanted to learn and how to do that.

This year, after finally get my head around blogging with children, we have added our class blog as part of our class without walls. This platform also provides us with a forum for reflection - not just token reflections of what we like but real, deeper thinking about an authentic learning pathway and the feedback and feedforward that drives that learning journey.

My personal blog here has become a way for me to reflect on the power of the journey that I have been on for almost 4 years. If I look back, I was stumbling for the first 2 years, tripping over everything that I put in my own way. But if I get real here, the reality is that NO journey is fun alone. And that was what I was trying to do! I was journeying in an empty car and I was trying to drive and navigate at the same time! No GPS in sight! So now, my class are on the bus with me and we are loving the ride!

1 comment:

  1. I think you touched on an important point here, purpose. If you are blogging for the sake of blogging it quickly becomes a chore. If you are doing so for a purpose, to learn, to share, to grow, then it is something you enjoy doing. As I've said many times before it isn't about the technology it's about the learning.