I am about to begin blogging with my students. I have given out the guidelines and the rubric for grading their responses and questions. DO I post a question and allow students to respond to me and each other, or do I allow the students to form the questions and they post to answer each other questions?
In my 7th grade class I always post a question. However, there's nothing that says that you couldn't have the students post a question for everyone else to answer. I think this would be a great way for the kids to have ownership of the blogging, and I would think your hope is that it would provide a more "robust" discussion of the topic.
Thank you Darin. You are correct that I want more robust discussion. I posted a question and told them if they had questions they could also post them for each other to answer. I do plan on providing feedback after they have finished their discussion. Is that a good idea?
I am also hoping it will be a good study tool to help them learn the objectives.
I find it it very difficult to get 7th graders to understand how to create a robust discussion board, but maybe my methods need to be modified, or maybe my expectations are more than what 7th graders are capable of handling. Therefore, I have curtailed the amount of discussions I have - I am hoping that by reducing the number of discussions I can increase the quality (there may be no logic to that, but I'm going to try it).
To answer your question, yes, I do think having you being active in the discussion board is a good thing. Personally I found it easy to respond to a few discussion board entries so that students know I'm lurking and an active participant - I think they see that as an important part of the whole experience. Your experience and knowledge should be able to provide them with additional learning opportunities through the discussion board.
Sounds like you are on the right track - good luck!
Thanks Darin. I will keep you posted on my progress.
I use the blog as a portfolio for their different assingments using tech. Thus, their classmates enter and watch and leave comments.( guided). Once a week a group ( I teach Spanish) read a piece of news and in their blog they make a summary and pose a question for their classmates.
That is interesting. Is there a particular blog site that you use for the students. I think mine are limited and I have to delete them in order to add more. I have thought about having them to use blogs as a reflective tool as well though.
In my 6th grade class I always post a question.
I am posting the questions and allowing the students to answer them.
It sounds like you intend to run a discussion forum rather than a blog. Using forum software will allow more options and better tracking, i.e. what you've read, threads you're subscribed to, and easier to moderate and allocate permissions to users.
I think blogging software is effective for personal reflection and keeping learning journals (quite different to discussions though). It's also appropriate for running class magazines and other collaborative projects. You can give learners (those who want it) some responsibility and get them to produce or contribute to a topical school magazine for parents and visitors to read.
As far as contributing yourself, I'd think carefully about the effect that your contributions have. I prefer a minimal intervention approach and only do things to stimulate unproductive discussions and dampen disruptive ones, all without hijacking what are essentially their discussions. That's a tall order and takes some practice to get right. If learners can come up with their own questions, that'll give them greater ownership and personal investment too. It also allows them to focus on what interests them about the topics (and what topics interest them?), rather than what you find interesting about them (remember the age/culture gap!)
How you assess learner contributions can have a strong effect. If you focus on rewarding ideas and different perspectives rather than more formal grading (shouldn't that be for assignments and essays?), it encourages more risk taking and developing personal styles.
I hope this helps!
Thanks Matt. What is a good forum software to use? This is all new to me, so any help or advice you can offer will be great and very appreciated.
Your web host will probably have a few one-click install options available. One of the most popular, feature rich and flexible is phpBB but it takes a while for admins and moderators to learn to use. It's pretty intuitive for regular users though.
If your school/organisation has an LMS, it may include a discussion forum; almost all the modern ones do.
A very useful feature I've found is to have the ability to define a peer rating rubric so, rather than learners rating each others' posts from 0-5 or 0-10, they can rate strength of arguments, supporting evidence, coherence, etc.
I pose the question to my 5th graders. It's their first time with blogging so I've guided them quite a bit. And I'm not using it as an assessment - just a way to get them talking.
I ask them to answer my question and then read one another's posts and reply to at lease one other. This is hard for them.