Getting Students to Blog

Dean Shareski podcasted a show about a 1.5 hour blogging seminar for a high school writing course that he did recently. Check it out here. He ended his podcast asking about way to make this type of seminar more effective. I don’t have any good answers, but here is what we have done this year.

At my school, we have been experimenting with blogging since the fall. Our first test was a 6th grade technology course that had the faculty member put the assignment up and have students respond. That worked well because the students were required to do the assignment and they are middle schoolers who seem more enthusiastic about this.

Next, we had a Math class do a blog as well and that had one good run. The faculty member asked students to answer the last question on volume and then create their own word problem. Each student answered and created a question. Great assignment.

The other project I’m working on (and the one where I identify with Dean’s frustration in his podcast) is one with a 11th grade Journalism class. We started with them creating bloglines accounts and reading blogs and then we had them create their own blogs (wordpress mu – locally hosted). We finally got the kids working with the technology and comfortable with using trackbacks as well as posting blog items a few weeks ago and then had spring break. I feel that to get them going now, we really need to have the teacher begin using them in his class consistently and as a place where students place their assignments. Using them to create a conversation between him and the students or amongst students. Doing things that you can’t do so easily without technology.

When I get back to school next week (I’m on paternity leave this week), I hope to work with this faculty member to get the blogs more integrated into the course. Fingers crossed!

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