Tipping the Scales….

This time last semester I was still a lost and confused sole in the midst of learning all about technology and it’s uses in the classroom.  Then at about the halfway point in the semester everything began to click and make sense.  I had my “Eureka” moment.  And I continue to have these moments as I dive deeper into the understandings of educational technology.  I really connected with Michael Drennan’s article regarding Blogging in the Classroom and agree with Ashely’s thoughts rewards outweighing the risks of student blogging.

blogging letters

This semester I  continued to have my students blog – but I requested that they switch to WordPress as I was unhappy with the other blogging site that we were using.  My unhappiness maybe due to my comfort level with WordPress opposed to the other sites, I just understand this platform better.  So far, I have seen the rewards outweighing the risks:2887779248 (1)

  •  A few students have mentioned to me that they feel that this way of communicating through written work is better than handing in a paper (keep in mind, we are in week two of semester two and some of these students are very, very new to blogging).
  • Hyperlinking reduces the risk of plagiarism – I have found that my students are more confident with their writing when they can give credit to the article directly.
  • Students are NOT writing like are speaking – they are putting thought into what is being written, zero slang/text abbreviations/defamatory language has been used.
  • Peer reviewing has been well received so far – although I think that students could provide more meaningful comments than what has been posted so far, we really are only one peer review in and I expect to see a lot more depth as the semester continues.  (more about this near the end of this post)
  • Individual development will show over time – students may even begin to see their improvements within weeks, while it may take others longer to see how they are shaping themselves through their e-portfolios.

Terry Heick wrote about creative nonfiction, this is a term that really like!  Creative nonfiction = communication!  A form of self expression.  Jessica Strawser in her blog post “Are You A Born Storyteller” stated:

               And the more creativity you bring to any piece, the better it’s likely to be received, whether your target reader is a friend, a website visitor, an editor                or agent, or the public at large.

The above quote is one that I will use with my class tomorrow as I remind them that their blogs are open to the public and that anyone could read them, so why not put a little bit more oomph into them – after all, what do they have to be afraid of, writing better and connecting with others?  Imagine the possibilities!  Just as Andrew Forbes states in the video below:  teaching students to learn is more than just memorizing the vocabulary words or concepts, its about understanding the content.

I tried what Andrew has his class do, but gave my students a bit more direction as this would be the first blog they would create in WordPress.  I introduced both blogging and Environmental Science by asking my students blog about what is going on with the Flint water crisis, they were then asked to post their blog and comment on five other blogs (our first attempt at peer reviewing).  I really liked this activity as I did not have to teach the students about what was going on and the environmental concerns that are being raised in Flint, the students taught themselves and each other! Some students even began to think deeper, and to ask deeper questions!  Yay!  Success! And I have a feeling that this may just be the beginning… 🙂



2 thoughts on “Tipping the Scales….”

  1. Thanks for the pingback! It sounds like you’ve had a lot of success with your students. All your hard work is paying off! Such a reward 🙂


  2. Awesome-looking post. I look forward to hearing how this goes in your class as I may want to utilize this idea in my science classes as well. The peer-review is important and is a great piece of peer-to-peer assessment. Our PGP’s and associated rubrics call for it.

    By the sounds of it, it’s beneficial that you’ve done this before. It sounds like the students have had some experience with it now and this lends itself to a greater writing and learning.


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