Using a blog with my service learning students has been a challenge. I want to say failure, but I'm not ready to throw in the towel just yet. Besides, failure is something to celebrate (like in Meet the Robinsons
)--failure means there are lessons to be learned!
What's gone wrong?
Here's the short list (warning to fellow English teachers, these will not be parallel or grammatically correct):
Students don't understand the difference between a blog post and a comment.
Students can not figure out how to log in.
Blogger.com is accessible from school, but not Gmail which students must have in order to have a blogger.com authorship account.
Names are not on posts
All150 students were posting comments to the same blog in random order
Students are posting but not talking to each other.
Students know how to log in but don't remember their password.
Students don't read what is on the screen in front of them.
Many students are posting.
I can post content for students to view/read and then have them respond to it.
With students listed as authors on class period blogs we can now dialog or post comments to each others' writings.
Entries or posts are time and date stamped.
Assignments are available 24/7 .
I know what I want out of class blog: discussion, dialogue, resources and links we can visit and discuss. I want a class blog to live as an online version of our classroom--filled with a variety of resources and reflecting rich student work. The trick is teaching students how to do it or how to develop problem solving attitudes so that they are not flummoxed and shut down by log-in or other issues.
Our class blog is titled, At Your Service
. Eventually, I would like to restructure how my service learning classes are run, so that we really are studying issues and creating projects to address them-- the class blog would become the space where we could trace, keep and reflect on our work.
I reviewed blog posting again today. We'll see what happens.