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Classroom Blog in Action Makes Changes to Coursework

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As I have been developing a new music technology course for our urban high school, I have students blog anonymous comments to the class website to give feedback after each unit we do. They evaluate the material, the focus project, and the thematic unit in general.

Their anonymous honesty last year helped me shape this year's coursework when retaught to new students -- I even dropped / changed a couple units when I realized that they were completely irrelevant to the students!

In this way, students help me understand what they need, they practice writing, and most importantly they help improve future students' experience in the class.

Brian Laakso
McKinley High School
Canton, Ohio

Classroom Blog

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I think that's a fantastic idea Amanda! You could also implement a classroom blog and give a different student an assignment once a week or once a day to make an addition. You could encourage them to get creative with their entries, asking them to try poetry entries or use accompanying photographs or artwork.

Prospective Teacher, English Ed. student at the University of South Alabama

Blog Journals

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The concept of open-ended reflection seems like an effective way to cut down on the time spent reading the journals. I wonder if blog journals could be a creative way for students to post their reflections of the course content while also learning how to blog and use html code. Students would also have access to online resources and may be able to establish a personal online learning network to enhance their understanding of the material. Students might be more interested in the assignment when given the freedom to search for websites that relate to the curriculum. Technology has become such an integrated part of our students' lives. Maybe we should venture out and use it in the classroom.

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I, like many, have created rubrics that students use to assess their own journaling. Unfortunately, it tends to focus on effort not content. I like your ideas for encouraging student metacognition of content and their relationship to that content. It provides a deeper and more substantive approach than the one I have been using. Thank you for an idea I will definitely employ with my own students.

Quote: Do you think students

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Do you think students would be more inclined to journal on their own time if they were using some sort of online tool that allowed them to easily edit, save and even share their work?

Yes. I think so. However, it does take the resolve of the educator to support these effective uses. It is also necessary for the students to be engaged in the problem space with passion, enthusiasm and motivation about an authentic, student-driven inquiry.

My involvement in creating collaborative, scaffolded online journal writing environments has shown that teachers are hesitant to use so much time for journal writing when so much curriculum 'needs to be covered'.

Please read Scaffolding for Deep Understanding and The Construction Zone . I would love your feedback.

Sincerely,
Peter

Do you think students would

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Do you think students would be more inclined to journal on their own time if they were using some sort of online tool that allowed them to easily edit, save and even share their work?

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