Blogs as school-wide e-portfolios

Having just been involved in an inspiring #whatisschool Twitter chat hosted by Craig Kemp (@mrkempnz) and Mark Weston (@ShiftParadigm), where the topic was 'Social Media in the Classroom', I got chatting about an idea I want to implement with my school......

Blogs as e-portfolios

While this isn't  a new idea, this year I have been thinking about ways that my school could make blogging part of the school culture. At present, some teachers get their students to blog, while others don't. I personally have encouraged all of my students to set up their own blog, and this is what they use to publish their work. What I have noticed is that the students have different blogs for different subjects. This got me thinking that there must be a better, more collegial way of doing this. Having thought about it, and then discussing a few ideas with my PLN, below is what I am hoping to implement school-wide at the beginning of next year.

  • As we are using Google Apps for education, we would use Blogger as our blogging platform.
  • Staff will receive training on how to use Blogger. Not only will this encourage them to have class, and/or department blogs, it will also give them the expertise and knowledge to teach their students how to create their own blog (if they didn't know how to already).
  • During the first week of the year, homeroom teachers will go through the process of setting up a blog with their students. This blog will be the students e-learning portfolio for the rest of their time at the school. They will only have one, and they will use it for multiple subjects. This is where they will publish their work. 
  • After this initial set-up in the first year, only teachers of the first year level in our school (in our case, year 7) will have to do this in subsequent years, as the same blogs will follow each student right through all of their years at our school. Any new students that join older year levels at any stage will also have to create their own blog.
  • Teachers can add a 'blog list' to their own class blogs, so a list of the students' blogs show up down the side of the class blog.

So what would be the benefits of using blogs as e-portfolios?

  • When students blog, suddenly their work is accessible to the world. Having a global audience is much more motivating than working in a book where usually only the student, teacher, and parents are the only audience.
  • Blogs are a great way to teach digital citizenship through 'doing'.
  • As a student, how cool would it be to have an easily accessible record of one's progress through school. I would imagine it would be a great experience to finish high-school and look back at how much one has progressed throughout their schooling years.
  • As a teacher, this could be a great way of seeing the level of work that each of our new students has been working at.

 

I would love to hear from educators that may already be doing this as a school-wide initiative. Feel free to comment and share your ideas.

 

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