Monday, March 16, 2009

Student Reflections about Creating Connections

In an effort to connect with our own personal ideas or "reflect" as they say , with other students and experts in the area of blogging, the students in Gr. 7.1 have participated in a few opportunities to talk and think about their thoughts regarding the art of blogging. We have also had a computer class in which we were able to temporarily 'follow' (read) a few different styles of blogs: personal, social, educational.

They acknowledged that they would have liked alot more time to sit down in front of the computer to "practice" it without alot of pressure or time limits. Some admitted they "were afraid to be hurt by strangers who prey on children." They said it was "like work but not really" or "something that you do on a regular basis which could be fun if you were working on something you really loved or liked." A couple of students said "it would be nice to work with another person together in partners." Some said, "it looked liked the bloggers were answering questions" while a few noticed " other kids wrote what was on their minds about a certain topic." Many liked how the blog kept notes organized and together which prevented lost articles/assignments. A few students mentioned that "it was like a magical notebook" in which you could store your best videos and share them with your friends or make "digital artifacts" as we all learned what the term was for new tool projects. When I asked them about the language we were hearing like 'blogging, tools, following', one boy remarked "that it was a strange but fun language that a non user might not understand!" They all liked reading about our partners in Roseville via this blog. Comments such as "It was unbelievable at first", and "amazing during the second time communicating on the computer", and "great the third time", and "really fun during the video conference." At least half of the class indicated who they thought amongst their peers were really good 'experts' at teaching stuff to while the rest said " I could become really good at this computer work."

Once again my students have demonstrated to me that they will adopt whatever attitude is presented and learn whatever language is used. They will easily adopt it once they understand how it works, where to use it , when to use it , why it is called something inparticular. And they will eaglerly set out to try and try again even after mistakes are made because they have verbalized that " the computer so easily cleans up the work as long you know what to tell it."

After our short series of talks, I showed them highlighted sections of a blog post by Konrad Glogowski entitled "How To Grow A Blog" which I had read about six weeks ago before my own initial adventure into blogging but back then didn't understand it until I reread it again a few days ago and had at least four weeks to test out the art of blogging on my own. I told my students that they understood what he was saying about blogging because they were giving me details of his post without even seeing it first. They were all smiles and equally impressed with their "knowing" when I read that he believed kids/students

" need freedom to grow blogs"
" like engaging in ideas/concepts that are interesting and personally relevant"
"become experts in their chosen fields"
"need increased amounts of support, engagement,conversation and practice with blogging"
"need to set goals, learn habits and commitments, and have the right habitat" to create, maintain and sustain their blogs.

Glogowski advocates that "blogging is not a response to an assignment but engaging in what is personally relevant." If I treat my students like colleagues or cocreators as I have read about in my Web 2.O research they will live up to the expectations and share with me their knowledge and expertise if they are 'allowed and afforded the opportunities to grow.' I take that as an indicator that they should be entitled to own some responsibility to own their own blog and be accountable for it's growth so that will be the next step or goal...working toward creating their own blog and assuming increasing amounts of ownership for creating opportunities towards their own learning!


  1. Excellent reflection. Always nice to see quotes of your participants. They have grown as you have grown using internet technologies. Your students have used a number of web 2.0 tools which is fantastic. Your students are lucky to have such a great teacher.
    I look at what my students have done so far and it doesn't seem like much. However, I hope to cover a number of tools by June. I will keep posting updates on docs and my blog. Anyway good work!

  2. Thanks.
    It would have been ideal to have the students post their comment on their own blog and add their work directly to their blog.
    I made it a priority to use as many tools as I could because I felt I needed to be exposed to as many I could during this course. It was a bit selfish and frantic because I put my needs first and at the same time I wanted the students to all have a chance to see the amazing benefits of technology and what computer class could really be like and how we could utilize technology in all subject areas-even P.E. . A few years ago I just use to do word processing for this class or macpaint or spreadsheets!!

  3. I know. It is amazing the changes in tech. Imagine what the internet will be like in 2 more years. What will googledoc look like? Or reader? Who knows can't wait to find out.