In the literature circles this week, the questions were revolving around the reading by McGrail & Davis (2011). They talk about the influence of classroom blogging. Rebecca, Joanna & Deborah gave us these questions to discuss:
1. What potential challenges may arise in implementing blogging in the NSW primary school classroom? How might these be overcome?
- Attitude adjustment: Students will be asking “why should I do this?” – teachers should be guiding their goal on what to write about and be giving feedback if students are not writing.
- Safety issues: This blog should only be allocated for the parents and teachers for viewing. Students are to be warned about the rules when writing online (e.g. don’t put down one another) as well as the topics to write about (must be educational) instead of reading random political posts online. This will allow them to grow all at once.
- Overcoming fear: Some students may have a fear of writing in the classroom because they are being constantly watched and this could be an issue. By allowing students to blog online, they are allowed to free-rant about what they want to write about and use peer feedback to improve themselves.
2. As students interact in a world, which is saturated with social networking, what are ways blogging can direct their personal interests to that of increased literacy?
Blogging is versatile so students could write about many different things and still increase their literacy abilities. Some examples are:
- Interests: Students can use blogging to share stories about what they like and then assessed on their writing abilities through peers or the teacher. An example is that a student who loves guitars is able to explain why he likes it and was then critiqued.
- Ongoing stories: This would engage students to cooperate and contribute to an ongoing story. The teacher would start off a story with a sentence and then students would continue the story online with their creative abilities.
- Free choice with topics: By providing a variety of topics or genres of debate, there will be an increase with critical literacy. The teacher should provide a scaffold to show the criteria of what is required in each blog.
Blogging encourages all participants to take more thought and pride in what they are posting online. The aspect of blogging with a draft-mode and a published-mode would seem similar in the classrooms. As blogging is a different medium from the norm, students create and sustain interest through their online portfolio.
3. Explain how blogging has influenced Year 5 students’ writing and literacy development within this case study?
In the case study, they understood that they could write it to someone else other than their teacher and expanded their learning experiences by identifying the different types of audiences. Blogging is something that is to be done, but for themselves.
Blogging is easier to reflect upon because in a classroom environment, their work won’t always be displayed or acknowledged by the teacher. With blogging, it is always available for reflection as you can see the difference between the first and last blog.
Literacy development could be seen through these examples:
- Class blog: A question could be raised and students were required to comment on the topic.
- Homework help: Students would help other students or a teacher could contribute.
- Blog sessions: One or two sessions during the week whether in class or at home.
When students are reading their peers’ blogs, they could pick up on their writing development via expression, language, grammar and therefore, it isn’t forced. This is one of the main advantages of collaborative learning. Blogging is not about writing about rubbish, it’s about sharing ideas.
Reference: McGrail, E. & Davis, A. (2011). The Influence of Classroom Blogging on Elementary Student Writing, Journal of Research in Childhood Education, 25:4, 415-437