Tuesday, June 15, 2010
More on Why I Want Students to Blog
Yesterday, I posted about a Freshman who had published over 100 blog posts in a single semester of my West Civ class. A few readers asked if he was one of those outliers who stand apart from the crowd.
That's a tough one to answer. Because in one sense, yes of course any kid who writes that much over the course of a semester is an 'outlier' of sorts. But so are the kids who only produce a dozen posts. In my classes, over 80% of the students posted more than what was required. What does that mean? "Why" are some kids compelled to write so much and put so much time into their blogs? I come back to the idea that a student writes 100+ posts in a semester because the student owns the learning.
I've posted here screenclips of blog archives of four students in my Latin III class. These are high school juniors in a year-long class. Collectively, they produced five-hundred-and-fourteen posts in a single semester. They comprise everything from notes on vocab to student translations of Latin primary sources to pieces that consider current events from the eyes of ancient historians.
And by-and-large, few of these posts were instigated by me. Rather, the students decided what, when, and how to blog. Each student used her or his blog in a slightly different way. Some use them as their primary 'notebooks' while others use them more for personal reflection on issues both within and without the classroom. The students post tests, translations, and bibliographies directly to their blogs: this way, they have easy searchable access to all of that material available on the Cloud via any computer or device.
As a blogger myself, I certainly subscribe to the notion that our blogs are extensions of our personalities and windows into our thought processes. On a personal level, blogs are searchable web-based archives of our own formation and development as thinkers and learners. In recognizing that, we come face to face with a new reality about the way that we should be assessing our students -- as well as ourselves.