Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Going Blog, stage 2

Maintaining a reflective blog is a new graduation requirement for our incoming Grade 9 class.

Stage 1 was to agree that we wanted our students to use reflective blogs to document and introspect (is that a verb?) on their growth relative to our school SLRs. We ran a pilot group through one of the counseling seminar classes, where the teacher/counselor could see how motivated the kids were to maintain blogs and begin to explore the realities of addressing the SLRs reflectively. I had a group of tech-savvy kids keep blogs so I could start to organize the logistical end: find a location for an index of blogs, determine where training would be necessary, etc.

Yesterday, we introduced the idea to our faculty leadership team, who had some legitimate concerns and developing insights. Some of the important things they are bringing to the table include:
-should we make these blogs public or private? Or should we consider having them private until the kids get the training wheels off, then make them public?  
-who will provide structured time for the kids to blog, and can it be successful if we DON'T do this? 
-how will they be assessed? Who will assess them? Will they be assessed intermittently, or just at graduation? 
-who is ultimately responsible for this process...the kids (not likely), the counselors (that might offload this entire thing to one group), humanities teachers (already the standard carrier for far too many things), the HR teachers (varying degrees of investment and skill with such a thing), the faculty in general (what belongs to everyone belongs to no one)? 
-should these blogs be dedicated solely to the SLRs, or can they incorporate other class content? Can they incorporate recreational content?

All these things have yet to be determined, but the process of raising these questions and the discussion that ensues is a healthy way to get buy-in from faculty and to create a good product. I think it's essential that the teachers have first-hand experience as both consumers and producers of blogs, so I plan on helping them all set up a google.reader page so they can subscribe to blogs of personal and professional interest, and hopefully get many of them blogging themselves. As the hyperbole and mystery of blogs disappears, I think we will design a very powerful and useful tool.

If anyone out there has any insights or anecdotes to share, the 'comment' button is just down there...

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