The first Pick ‘n’ Mix module focuses on InformationTechnology and Digital Literacy, particularly blogging and tweeting within schools or ‘children as publishers’.
Some schools have adopted class blogs, whereby either the class has a blog they update together or each child has their own page which they can update regularly with lessons, investigations and anything they have enjoyed or found interesting at school. However, this area of computing is still relatively new as schools will have concerns over e-safety, staff who may not be confident in blogging themselves and time constraints.
Nevertheless, schools that have engaged fully and adopted blogging as part of the weekly timetable have found many positives. The University Blackboard Computing site highlighted these benefits to blogging:
- it is highly motivational for many children at key stage two in writing
- can transform children from being writers into publishers to a wider ‘real’ audience
- promotes critical thinking ‘about’ writing e.g. children can learn about constructive peer assessment
- a real sense of an authentic audience and purpose for children’s writing
- can motivate children to improve, care and realise that their writing can affect a reader to comment
- helps children to understand and comment on features of ‘good’ writing
Furthermore, children can access school blogs from anywhere in the world, opening up a whole new discussion area for the classroom regarding similarities and differences within different countries. Online pen pals across the continents could be a follow up activity.
Quadblogging incorporates this international blogging idea. It is a tool which allows teachers and schools to produce blogs within a global network of class blogs. With over 40 countries and 150,000 pupils from around the world participating, it demonstrates to children to positive uses of communication over the internet. Similarly, pupils may feel a sense of pride and achievement when a school from say America, reads their blog. This way children will take an interest in their writing as they are writing for a purpose and a reader.
It has been stated by teachers Quadblogging ‘brings something new to our classroom’ everyday and that that cant be planned.
The link below the screenshot above discusses the potential issues teachers face when introducing a blogging initiative to schools. Firstly senior leadership would need to be behind the idea and that teachers need to persevere if they face and initial negative response. The effect of student engagement that blogging has is discussed in the video and it is outlined that blogging does not have to be an e-safety concern. However, if the school does raise concerns over safety, access can only be granted via passwords, that way the children would be producing the content for their parents, teachers and family.
It is also evident from case study videos of a school in Greater Manchester that blogging elicits eagerness, excitement and enthusiasm towards content production, particularly amongst boys. The module suggests ideas to help introduce blogging to your class through three easy steps. These steps emphasise that it is mainly a child lead activity.
- The teacher creates a post which children respond to through comments. Or children respond to posts on other blogs.
- A whole class blog is created whereby the children create the content and the posts.
- An individual student blog for each child is set up, which they take ownership of and create posts for.
Blogging can be part of almost any lesson, for example showcasing science results, english narratives and poetry, PE dances and gymnastics and computing lessons.
Unfortunately, I did not have the opportunity to create a class blog on GPP, but there is always a possibility within my final professional placement. Hopefully, when I have a my own class I can create a class blog, as my confidence regarding blogging and improved dramatically since starting Chloe’s PGCE adventure. There may even be the possibility to integrate Quadblogging and use blogging as a cross curricular tool, parental insight tool and schools news bulletin site.
Teaching Primary Science and Technology, Alan Cross: http://primaryscienceandtech.blogspot.co.uk/
Kids Learn to Blog: http://kidslearntoblog.com/