When Melissa Purtee published her post, “Choice in Student Reflection” yesterday, a lightbulb appeared above my head. I also wondered why I hadn’t blogged about this idea earlier. That’s the great thing about working with people I admire; their work pushes me to do better.
Did I say I worked with Melissa? Yep. We share ideas all the time. …the fact that we live at least 2200 km apart doesn’t hinder our working relationship…
Her honesty about student blogging was the very thing that had held me back from writing about this topic:
My relationship with student blog posts started as all positive. I loved reading student’s reflections on process and looking at images of their artistic journey. I based a huge chunk of my grades on these posts, which made total sense: the questions I asked students to write about were growth-oriented and related to the development of conceptual thinking. It seemed perfect, until I noticed it wasn’t. At least not for everyone. (Purtee)
If your students are encouraged to document their learning in any way, who decides how they will share this learning? You or your students?
Last year, I began using Kidblog for my grade 9 students, but some complained that they didn’t like the way it worked for them. Some really preferred to use Google docs for a variety of reasons. Once this conversation started, a few more students started discussing this topic as well. One student said that she preferred to use Storify because most of our discussions about her work had occurred on Twitter, and she could easily drag & drop these interactions into a story and comment on what she learned.
…but wait, there’s more…
What about the students who know what they’re talking about; their thoughts flow so easily when they discuss what they are learning in class, but are hindered when they are forced to slow their thinking and communicate by writing. We began using Audioboom and ShowMe to record our conversations and to have a record of these discussions.
I guess I had to ask myself: What am I assessing? Their ability to write a blog post, or their ability to communicate what they are learning?
Just because blogging works for me doesn’t mean that it will work well for every student.