I'm working on a doctorate in education, and my research focuses on potential uses of digital communication media (online discussions, blogs, wikis, etc.) in teaching writing. In particular, I am interested in how teachers of English language arts, humanities, or social studies might incorporate digital interactive writing into the writing process, such that online discussions might serve as a sort of pre-writing activity for essays, stories, or other written compositions to help students develop and articulate their ideas.

For example, students might use discussion forums to discuss debatable issues in preparation for persuasive essays on the same topics (which could potentially be published on blogs or wikis). Or they might use a blog post as a seed for an essay, inviting comments from other students to help them develop their ideas. Or they might begin to develop a story idea through an online chat in which they role-play characters in dialogue. Or they might use instant messaging to brainstorm subtopics for a class wiki involving collaborative research.

Has anyone used Web 2.0 media in this way with their students? If so, I'd be very interested to hear some of the details. If not, what do you think about such an approach? Many thanks in advance!

(For more on this topic, I invite you to check out my blog, Authorship 2.0.)

Tags: blogging, discussions, english, instantmessaging, socialstudies, wikis, writing

Views: 956

Reply to This

Replies to This Discussion

You are right on when you mention the types of real writing that kids will need for their future jobs and how we need to change our direction of teaching it. David Warlick said something to the effect that (and I'm paraphrasing) it is our job as educators to prepare our students for a future we can't even begin to describe. So true. The last sentence of your paragraph is very powerful.
Our students were involved in the http://www.ms1001tales.wikispaces.com and http://www.es1001tales.wikispaces.com Students wrote a tale, were edited by their peers in Canada and the USA and the tales then updated.
It requires dedication by those involved and tight pre-planning via skype or elluminate so that teachers know exactly what and when tasks need to be completed. The students love it and it is a good chance for global connections to be made and maintained.
Live blogging is another option for brainstorming or instant collaboration and that works well. However timezones are always a problem for us here in Australia.
Great stuff, Anne--
you've learned a lot of the "nuts and bolts" (not to mention the metacognition) of getting a high-level collaboration going. Great modeling, great sharing. Thank you! And a big thanks, too, for what you're doing for all the students you work with. Life-changing teaching... Pioneer on; be a leader into 21st century teaching. Glad to be on the voyage with you!
Just want to let you all know that I'm 'lurking' and enjoying the conversation. It is highly inspiring in my beginning journey. Thanks for sharing your wisdom one and all.
I think I will be using your ideas this year! Last year I had my 6th grade students write Kamishibai stories when we studied Japan. Once they had the stories written, they illustrated them and then recorded their pictures and voices on Voicethread. I hadn't thought about collaborating on the their stories on a blog. I did have my social studies students collaborate on a wiki when they created Japanese dry gardens as part of our Japanese studies. They rated this project the best they had ever created. I built the garden (with some kids and the landscape crew) this summer. It is now a permanent part of our campus! I can't wait until the students return next week and see their work come alive!
Wow, I love the dry garden. Perfect place to develop all those haiku writers! Twenty+ years ago I did an Interact simulation called Warlords of Japan (see bottom of list). I still remember all the wonderful connections we made with language lessons taught by a wonderful Japanese woman, calligraphy, screen painting, origami and trips to the museum. The simulation is based on a battle map and I can remember after all these years seeing the kids, heads together, planning their next battle. I still have all the materials, I may have to resurrect it before I retire.
What a great conversation! I am always interested to see how other teachers are using blogging in their classrooms as I've had some amazing experiences as well...

My experience has been using 21classes.com I believe Will Richardson helped develop it as a spin off of 21publish.com... It worked great for me because I could set up a classroom portal for each of my classes--90 students total. The portals were private, and through the portal each student had his or her own blog, blogging together as a classroom community. I've used blogs in many ways--such a powerful tool... For writing, I usually guide/model instruction on a strategy or process and then have the students practice... For example, we might work on writing introductory paragraphs for an essay, then students write their own and peer edit (with guidance) using comments. I have used this approach to write essays, short stories, poetry, etc. Students care very much about what their peers have to say about their work--more so than a comment written by a teacher on a paper. They are more willing to go back and evaluate/revise when they work with their peers. I've also had parent volunteers work with me to make comments on students' blogs--to keep up with their posts. The reality is, and I tell my students this, if they are writing enough, I won't be able to read it all. I choose which posts I will evaluate, and students and parents read posts as well...

My experience with blogs is that you can really teach about anything using them. They are like a mini-website where students can publish and play. Shared-inquiry works fabulously as well using blogs. Students make meaning like I've never seen before. I could go into more details about how I develop and use blogs, but I'm afraid that might bore... I'll just say that it is relevant to teach all forms of writing and the writing process using blogs--they are highly engaging and can support instruction in the way that writers compose in the real world. Love them (if you can't tell)... Thanks for your post--I'll be following to hear additional comments! Nicole
Your enthusiasm is inspiring, Nicole. I'd actually love to hear more details...

Your point about the power of peer audiences to engage students in the writing process also rings true to my experience. I'm curious about the specific ways in which you find your students to be improving their writing. For example, you say, "Shared-inquiry works fabulously as well using blogs. Students make meaning like I've never seen before." Could you elaborate on this? Maybe share an example or two?

My experience with shared inquiry and making meaning largely relate to reading assignments--i.e. read a short story, identify theme, conflict... etc. If the piece of text is difficult enough, the students need each other to answer the my questions. For example, students always struggle with the meaning of the story "The Highway" by Ray Bradbury. Students will have large discussions on their blogs among many of their peers as they are trying to figure it out before the next day's scheduled discussion. I say making meaning in the sense that they are analyzing the text and identifying and responding to the text in ways that are impressive for 7th and 8th graders. Here is a blog post (unedited) You can see that this young lady is making meaning through her writing, but she is also seeks help from her peers so that she can reformulate or confirm...

Truthfully, im not sure if i get this story, so this is my guess….
I think Bradbury wrote this story to show this ignorance of some people. Like some people jsut don't want to know what is out there other than where they feel safe. For example, the man that lives on the highway could certainly go to where civilization lie but does he? no, he doesnt want to see whats out there, beyond his house. He watches everyday people continue on the road to places where he is left stuck in his own world. Why you ask? this is becuase he is scared to see what is really happening and the terror in the world, or to him there is no world. So to him when the girls say that it is the end of the world, he doesn't understand. And that was up to him. He was to scared to face the terror in reality so he goes into a fantacy world. And that fantacy world, consist of the highway, the field and his house.

What Bradbury was really trying to say to us is some of us are ignorant to things that we need to open our eyes and see what is really out there instead of not knowing what is happening in the world around us. How am i doing?

Writing assignments are a little different--although I do see students making text-to-text, text-to-world and text-to-self connections as they read and respond to each other's writing. Here is an example of an unedited blog post where a student is responding to another students' story--making connections:

This story reminds me of the song "Under The Sea" from the little mermaid.
The seaweed is always greener
In somebody else's lake
You dream about going up there
But that is a big mistake
Just look at the world around you
Right here on the ocean floor
Such wonderful things surround you
What more is you lookin' for?
Under the sea
Under the sea
Darling it's better
Down where it's wetter
Take it from me
Up on the shore they work all day
Out in the sun they slave away
While we devotin'
Full time to floatin'
Under the sea
I really think this actually even reminds me of the story because you are dreaming something that seems impossible to everyone else, but you. But still you are not giving in.

Hope this is the kind of elaboration you re asking for! :) Nicole
Oops... I guess I didn't really answer your question about student writing. Here is a short example of how students' responses guide the writing process using blogs. The student started with a descriptive paragraph and after revision published a poem on her blog...

Example—student's first entry...

My grandmas feet look like they have been in the bathtub for years, wrinkley and pruney. They smell like the rotting fish floating on moldy water. They feel like sandpaper. Hard and gritty. They taste like dirt. They sound like the train coming as fast as it can. As she slips them into her fuzzy slippers, you can hear the sandpaper grinding against concrete.

Student Comments:
Hey guys! Ummm, Well I'm not finished yet, so please comment and give me some suggestions if you have one!

Lol, that was great...It made me giggle. Might want to spell-check it.

Sentence structure could be a bit more sturdy and better arranged. Other than that, you've completely convinced me to avoid your grandma's horrifying feet of fury.

ewwww... gross... try using other words than: it smells like-it tastes like-it feels like- it looks like. Make it flow bettter

In other words, use metaphors. Like Lauren said, it'll sound better.

Taylor , I agree with Raaach. try metaphors

Here is her revision…

Run Away
Ahhh! Run away from the icky, gross, sandpaper hard, grandmas feet!!!
They are prunes, rotting fish, sandpaper and dirt all mixed together!!
They're like a train, zooming by, grinding the rails.
You can hear them ruining her fuzzy slippers like sandpaper on concrete.

So you can see how students' review influenced her revision…

Hope that helps a little. --Nicole
Thanks, Nicole, for sharing your students' amazing writings and for your very detailed response on how you go about setting it all up for them to succeed. My expectations and consequences of the use of the blog are very much like yours, but I am not as lucky as you to have all those extra sets of eyes to help with a reading project at this level! I think we can all agree that the main objective out of all of this is to get the kids to write and to write with voice and purpose that matures throughout the whole process, the best way that works for you. I will certainly keep your recommendations to heart and discuss with my admin the idea of each student having his/her own space. This is a crazy year for our MD. We are in construction mode while a new building takes form and so we are dispersed throughout the campus. We are going to block/flexible schedules and are adjusting to a new school site, web pages, etc. I think I better wait a year until the dust settles (no pun) before I dive into something similar to what you have going. I've had great success with the class blog and will stick with that for this year. Here's a link to last year's blog. I know that the title of the last blog prompt is not correct grammar, but it happened to be the name of one of the seventh grade Relay For Life teams, and I just thought it was appropriate to use for their last response.
Here is the link to this year's blog in case any want to follow:
Sorry, for some reason, I can't get the Blogger link to link......



Win at School

Commercial Policy

If you are representing a commercial entity, please see the specific guidelines on your participation.





© 2023   Created by Steve Hargadon.   Powered by

Badges  |  Report an Issue  |  Terms of Service