Monday, June 22, 2009

Rm 17 'experts' share their experiences....

I also spent some time talking to a few 'experts' from Rm 17.

There were some technical difficulties with the video recording which meant that we only got a couple of minutes at the end to re-cap - I have edited it and it can be viewed below:

What else did I learn?

- They shared a lot of the same frustrations that we had talked about as a whole class. One major one affecting their ability to blog is the internet speed. This was demonstrated by the fact that we spent 30mins outside chatting and in that time we were only able to download two internet pages. The students described the way this often made them less enthusiastic to post blogs because of the frustrations that they encounter during the process. It definitely left me thinking about the ways in which successful implementation of a process like blogging can at times be beyond your control when you encounter these kinds of problems (and something that doesn't look like it will be solved any time soon in NZ).

- The students said that the best thing about blogging was the ability for people to provide feedback on their blogs e.g. I really liked this part of your story. It was really interesting to see that they like the constructive feedback that was given, and the ways in which is was functioning as a form of formative assessment for students in their writing. Students also liked to provide feedback to other students so it appeared to be very much a two way process of writing and providing constructive feedback.

- The students described the way their parents provided comments on their posts and like to see what they were doing in class.

- The students explained the digital safety rules that they have in place (these are displayed in the classroom alongside the fire and earthquake safety rules). They described the way they only use their first names when posting because "someone might see us and find out who we are and want to kidnap us". They were very much aware of the serious risks that could be associated with their posting, but also appeared comfortable because of the rules that are in place.

- The students I spoke with preferred to use a blog over writing in their books, but they like to make sure they have it 'right' before they post things. They described the frustration of reading things with spelling mistakes.

- An exciting connection had been made between their classroom blog and a blog of a class in the North Island. The students said it was exciting to be able to post on their wall and to know that another class in NZ was interested in what they were doing in Rm 17.

- Students said that it was usually a 'first in, first served' approach to who could blog. Blogging is also listed as one of the 'can do' activities that students can work on once they have finished set work. It was also a popular activity on a Monday morning when students wanted to share what they had done in their weekends.

- We also talked about what makes an interesting blog post - how do you decide what to read and comment on. Students described things like 'headings' and the 'topic' being deciding factors in what they choose to read and comment on. Extra additions like photos or video clips also made posts more appealing.

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