By Moise Nicu (Own work) [CC BY 3.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/3.0)%5D, via Wikimedia Commons
Well, I am finding that the old tale of the Tortoise and Hare is well in play with our class blogging.
Some students have really jumped into this project, while it is taking others quite a while to get going.
As of now, everyone has blogged at least one time. I am wondering if the struggle with this project is that my students work on their projects independently or when I am out of the classroom and have a substitute teacher in (its really hard for me to get a sub who is comfortable teaching science, so I tend to leave this project for the days I am out of the class)? In the past, students have had verbal conversations with me regarding their science fair projects, I am finding this is how students are still interacting. I am noticing more verbal and less blogging taking place. This is where my struggle is, the verbal is immediate feedback, where as the blogging is not. Sometimes it is best to have verbal in order to keep the “flame ignited” immediately within their projects. On the other hand, blogging is written down – this allows students to come back to their posts and my comments to re-read what I have written to them. This is a good thing! If they forget or get mixed up in what I say to them, they can simply re-visit their blog post to confirm or deny what they recall me saying to them.
I have taken advice from my classmates and colleagues and have asked the students to blog their hypothesis, in detail, by last Monday. Only three blogs were posted. I think where the students and I are struggling with this is the lack of time to blog in class. I am going to dedicate a minimum of half an hour per week just to blogging. The students are always given time to work on science fair each week and this may be what is hindering the progress. Reflecting on this has been a good thing for my pedagogy – re-thinking and re-vamping the way I teach, and learning from my colleagues and classmates is always a good thing. I have viewed videos about engaging students in blogging. The Extraordinary Teaching Project really, really excited me – honestly I wish I would have seen it sooner as I feel it may have been a better major project. In fact, I think I will employ this in my health science 20 and physical science 20 classes this week!
In other news, I have reached out my social media “feelers” in my other classes. All of my students in all classes are now blogging, not just the science 10 class that I am focusing on for my major project. Last week I had my health science 20 class create social media “Did you Know” bits for their patients. This worked out very well as I had some using a fakebook, while others used a piktochart and others chose to blog! The confidence I have in myself to introduce social media and the comfort level that I have has grown ten fold! Not only am I growing as a student and educator, my students are growing as responsible digital citizens.