Evolution of a Major Project for both myself and my students…

I am just beginning to mull over my major topic.  I am having my grade 10 science fair students blog to me weekly about the topics they have chosen to inquire about.  This is week one of blogging and so far, so good!  All of my students have signed up on our class blogging site and I have responded to each and every one.  I feel that this is a win-win situation thus far as I am able to put more thought into their inquiry and help encourage them to dig deeper into their projects. I am wanting my students to connect the resources that they are finding to help drive their science fair projects right into their blogs (video, web links) as this will be one place for them to gather all information and hopefully help them to develop their projects further than just a surface level project – bringing about deeper inquiry investigations and helping to create scientifically literate (written and media) citizens of our communities.

Being a digital immigrant myself, and working with digital natives, this will be quite the learning experience for both parts.  For myself, the ability to keep up with the media, apps, technology that my students use on a daily basis to help drive their natural curiosity.  For them, the ability to go beyond using various forms of media for the larger aspect of social networking, to learn how to research properly (and to give credit properly) to sites on the web that they may have never visited before.

I have found myself moving along the continuum of visitor and resident within media literacy and the virtual community.  True, I have looked up how to “fix” or “build” things on the web – and then to simply shut the computer off and go about my day.  Not saying that I don’t use social platforms of media, but I am very careful what I put up as I am very aware of a social trace being left behind – my thoughts could be there forever!  What if I were to put up a post one day on a form of social media, and it were to come back to haunt me????   Whereas my students would be considered more of a resident of media – continually leaving a social trace behind.  They seem to not consider some of the “shotgun” posts that they write, or some of the data/images that they look up.

So, my big question – and my project – becomes this….how can I encourage my students to remain digital citizens and become scientifically literate individuals in a responsible way, for the benefit of learning curricula and not simply for just immersion into social media.  How can I give them what they are already a native to and use these tools to allow them to expand on the inquisitive nature that they have.  Blogging!  My idea of connecting to each student via a digital conversation may help us (the student and myself) understand exactly what the student is curious about. I am really hoping this works.  I hope that the students stay on track of the their projects, and I learn to blog along the way, helping the students to uncover layers of their curiosity.

I am wondering if anyone has blogged with their students before on major projects and if it has worked or not.  I would love some advice on how to make this not to overtake my nights at home.  Although I am really excited about this project, I am also cautious about not only blogging with my students, but maintaining the conversation and face to face contact with them while they continue to work on their projects.  After all, only one part of science is looking up background information, the students must perform and collect data, in which to evaluate (and possibly go back to do more research on).

A New Adventure Begins!!!

This is my first ever blog!  Actually, I have decided to set up two blogs:  this one and another on kidblogs.org for me to connect and converse via blogging with my students on their science fair projects.  On one hand I am exited about this new media as it will enable conversations and inquiry into digital citizenship.  On the other hand, after viewing Shelly Turkle’s TED talk, I am hoping that the use of social media does not reduce the amount of “connectedness” that I have with my students, rather that it will help bring and build a society of students whom are connected to their learning by exploring a variety of media available to them.

Everyone in the classroom will be blogging!