This was a really interesting session by Bertram who gave us the reasons why he decided to start blogging with his pupils first of all:
Learning community feel
Reading and listening
Reflection and debate
Multiple feedback loops
Vokis have really helped with punctuation
There were a lot of interesting tips given by Bertram re blogging. He pointed out that the threaded comments tool parallels mark schemes at A level – the pupils respond to comments. Blogspot has just introduced threaded comments. In terms of choosing where to put your blog, he commented that email blogposts are easiest to manage as they are low effort and high impact.
Bertram started by publishing their work for them where ‘work’= anything embeddable eg Worldes, tagxedo, storybirds, vokis, tripline, linos. He recommends that you teach the pupils to find the embed code, thereby training them to do it themselves in the future. Other tips included setting challenges such as "First three to email it get on the blog" and having a class vote for the best three to go on the blog. Give them the criteria and use Poll anywhere for the vote. 2 stars and a wish is a routine feedback system in their school so the pupils were very comfortable with this feedback.
Bertram has a GCSE Controlled assessment blog where a checklist for AfL is a sidebar on the blog. Pupils put their year group and first name as the blogpost title. Feedback was done in class so Bertram moderated as they went.
The A level wordpress posts were posted by email. The pupils write a comment, the teacher comments, they correct and comment back. Bertram notes that there is a pride in belonging to that blogging group.
Posterous is perfect for speaking posts. The pupils use a phone, etc to record then the language assistant marks the speaking work.Bertram gets previous assistants to leave feedback too.
Bertram's summary comments were as follows:
• Start small and with your best class
• Make the most of email publishing and threaded comments
• Blog their work for them, they do the assessment
• Get parental permission – check school policy. First names only etc. School email
This was a really useful and enjoyable session. Whilst we do have a departmental blog and wiki, we are still a long way from the independence that Bertram's pupils are showing and this session inspired me to look at where we go from here.