Student Edublogs reflections -> a range of teaching benefits

This post is a continuation of my previous post: Produsage & extending high-achieving students.

There are a range of benefits for the student and the teacher when students are asked to reflect on their learning on their personal websites. I believe that asking students to reflect on their personal Edublogs websites is a valuable experience for them and an easy way for me to deliver timely feedback.

Benefits for the student:

  • Gain personal satisfaction and potentially feel pride about creating a public web document which people could comment/reply to (the basis of ‘produsage‘ -> eventually this has the possibility to be extended to a form of collaborative inquiry technique)
  • Allow student to discuss, reflect and visually show (through embedded pictures) what they created. This is especially helpful when the extra work is not evident in the final product. Also helps them discuss issues that had occurred in the process of the unit and then show how they overcame these issues.

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  • Improves student literacy skills, especially digital literacy skills. Students will work hard to make sure their posts are visually pleasing by ensuring basic writing skills like paragraph structures and embedding relevant photos to support their writing.

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  • Students begin to create and build-on their personal positive digital footprints. I believe this is an imperative, and often over-looked, skill that teachers should be teaching and modelling. I model this through the use of my websites and Twitter, and I show students how this ‘work’ that I create is linked and highlighted in my personal resume.
  • Ultimately my vision is to use students’ blog websites as a collaborative tool to improve critical thinking skills and allow students to build on each other’s views. So the benefit for High School students here is that their learning is collaborative, communicative and digital; three common skills required in today’s global competitive workplace.

Benefits for the teacher:

  • Reflective posts are an authentic and fun way to enhance student literacy skills and to encourage them to develop a positive digital footprint. I have found this approach to student reflection has been successful, especially for extending high-achieving students.
  • In Education Queensland the majority of social media sites that are commonly used by students and by Businesses are blocked. I understand (yet don’t fully agree) why social media sites are blocked; however, I believe it is the role of teachers to teach students how to use social media in a positive manner. Social media is also potentially a great authentic teaching & learning tool since many students are familiar with it. Also, there are many businesses that use social media to connect with consumers and employment opportunities often require social media skills. The closest alternative to ‘real’ social media at school is to have students create Edublogs websites and then get them to collaborate and discuss with each other through the comment/reply functionality.
  • Additionally to the previous point, this type of teaching style may also have a positive impact on the digital divide issue.
  • Giving timely feedback is easy because I can reply to a student’s blog post at any time of day using any digital device I desire. I have told faculty staff in the past, when presenting the benefits of Edublogs in teaching, about how I use my mobile phone or iPad to reply to students in the evening and on the weekend. Teachers have exclaimed that I am going “above & beyond” but I don’t find replying to a post difficult or time consuming.

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