Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Weird post settings

OK, this post is both a request for help, and a test of my twitter network as a resource mine. Please post responses as a comment.

I have all my 9th graders set up with Blogger blogs, and last week we changed the 'Post and Comments' settings so that anyone with a google account can make a (moderated) comment. However, one teacher mentioned that she was unable to comment on 6 different kids' posts, so we went into their blogs and saw that they had the right UNIVERSAL settings (Settings/Posts and Comments),

but the INDIVIDUAL POST comments for some posts were set wrong. These are found when you edit an individual post, and select Options on the right side:

Here's the funny parts that I don't understand
1) The individual post settings were only wrong for posts that had been labeled (tagged)
2) The kids are not friends, so they had not collaborated
3) One kid, in particular, does not show the "Reader comments" selection under 'options'. 

My best guess is that, since they were in the same spot to adjust their options when they were tagging, that the six of them made the same mistake. But I'm wondering if there is any way to universally override individual post settings, and I'm especially wondering whats up with that third issue.


Friday, January 25, 2013

The Value of Anonymity

I'm sitting in a workshop run by Alan November, and he is bringing up a fascinating point. He shared the story of his daughter's participation in Fanfiction, a site where kids have posted their personally-authored stories based on characters of popular books. The driving force is the desire of the audience of fans to have continued interactions with their favorite characters, but what is fascinating is that the kids all post under pseudonyms. When asked why they do this, one particularly eloquent girl pointed out that when her work gets reviewed (especially negatively), she knows that that criticism is directed at the work, and not at her personally. As a result, she takes the criticism seriously (she is truly motivated to improve her writing for her audience), and works hard at it.

His excellent point: if we let kids submit work anonymously, and graded it accordingly, the kids would feel that the feedback was more accurate. But more importantly....they would be greater risk-takers with their work. They would know that feedback is honest and unbiased.

How could this be exported to the classroom? Why not have kids create pseudonyms for their digital writing, and the grade does not get 'averaged in' until the end of the semester? What are people's thoughts about this?

Additionally, he shared the story of a girl who was writing extremely popular fanfiction stories of 20,000 or more words, but was failing her English class. The girl was making a choice between 'write for the teacher' or 'write for the world'. But that's material for a different post.