Blogs –Creating Worlds of Learning (Global2)
An ICTEV study group of 20 teachers arrived at the school gates to find out how blogging and games-based learning enriches learning for both students and teachers of Fitzroy North Primary School. The school in old in years (built in 1875) but young and contemporary in its use of ICT to empower learning and pedagogy. The approach and ideology has at its centre social learning theory.
Leading the group tour was Connie Watson (Principal), Kynan Robinson (Leading Teacher ICT/Creativity) and Kristen Swenson (3-6 ICT Coordinator).
Thanks to strong and innovative leadership, and the commitment of the ICT coordinators, in recent years blogging has become part of the learning and pedagogical fabric of daily life at North Fitzroy Primary. Kynan and Kristen have been active in the Global 2 blogging space for over 4 years. Kynan told the group that, “Global 2 allows kids to connect to the wider world. You can allow them to have an authentic voice and authentic audience.”
“We take seriously Hattie’s notion that feedback is one of the most potent factors in a child’s learning – blogging, where feedback is available from multiple sources is really important. They are not just posting their work for viewing by others, but posting genuine stages of their work and asking for feedback from others in an interactive process, which is much more powerful than simply learning in isolation and then posting your best work at the end of it”, Connie Watson (Principal)
With Hattie’s Visible Learning research in mind, Connie Watson decided that every teacher, every child from Years 3 -6 and every class should have a blog.
All teachers were supported to develop their skills and confidence to create content, post, publish, upload images and movies, and moderate blogs. They now share and compare their blogs and their ideas with their students, parents, industry, and peers internal and external to the school.
Blogs are used to extend and assess all areas of literacy, Italian LOTE, and interdisciplinary streams of learning and skills and personal development. Kynan believes that blogging is a great, ‘platform to skill up and build confidence across the entire school staff to use web 2.0 tools to create and publish content not just be a user of content. If they didn’t blog they would miss out with connecting with the wider world. The main benefit is the ability to connect and find connections all over the world.”
The whole school community is involved at home and at school with their blogs. Homework, parent engagement, Italian recipes, news, quizzes, competitions, provocations, reviews, and reflection – it is all done with blogging accessed from home, school, during the week or at the weekends.
“All of our Grade 5/6 students have their own individual passion blogs. We made the shift last year from the show and tell blogs to more of an interactive blog. Since then the quality of the students’ writing has improved dramatically. Their passion for blogging is so much greater and they just love doing it. Every time they have a spare moment in class they want to blog and it has just given them their own voice which is fantastic”, said Kristen.
Students create passion blogs and discover networks to discuss new ideas and perspectives from like-minded students. We heard from students who have created blogs on superheros, star wars, comic books, the World of Minecraft, the Hunger Games, Harry Potter and other favourite books. The students are learning to target their blog and writing style for specific audiences to elicit discussion on an international scale. According to Kynan, “the kids love the Global2 cluster maps so they can see their potential audience from across the world’.
“It’s exciting collaborative learning and it is authentic for the kids because they are working on things that they are passionate about, and on questions that are relevant to them, often that they have driven themselves”, explained Connie Watson.
Also central to the contemporary learning and teaching practice is cybersafety awareness and copyright. Cybersafety is built into lessons and classroom practice at every Year level all year long.
Fitzroy North PS is an ICT savvy school. Each classroom that the 20 strong study group entered, they barely caught the eye of the students who were completely engaged and immersed in what they were doing. The technology was seamless, the content was all important and it was student owned content. As Kristen says, it is not about the devices it is how they enhance the learning and fit within the learning curriculum. According to Kynan, “the point of ICT is to drive your pedagogy, to assist your curriculum”.
This is the first of a series of Global2 bloggers in action. If you would like to have your school featured we would love to hear from you!
I am not sure if this is of interest or not but here at St Therese, Torquay, we have started a “Bloggers Arvo Tea” for Term 3. It is an optional session which meets once a week on a Monday for an hour.
We have begun at the beginning and are making our way through the process of where to begin with blogging – how do you actually get a Global2 blog? and each week the teachers will learn a new blogging skill. The teachers had the option of creating a personal blog or something they could use in the classroom, with the results being mixed.
As it is an optional weekly session teachers who come along are really interested and enthusiastic about extending their knowledge and understandings about blogging and how it can be beneficial for themselves and the students.
We also enjoy a tea or coffee and take it in turns to bring along something to share for “Arvo Tea”
Wow! This is absolutely fantastic and hits every mark. Personalized learning. Twenty-first Century learning that is not just substituting a different tool for pen and paper, but actually introducing a pathway that could not have been followed before. I love this approach. You have also given me many other perspectives to consider, one of which is that blogging will actually lead the bloggers to develop other Web 2.0 skills. Thank you for the vision and the motivation.
Are you sick to death of being interrupted by visitors.If not, I would love to bring a team of about 8 to visit your school. If this is not possible, I understand. Thank you for the inspiration! 🙂
i would really appreciate some help, either jan or st therese’s or anyone else out there.
we have just begun blogging this term and the students are truly engaged in it all. so much so, that a group of 5 or 6 Year 3/4 students are running a PLT next fortnight to show teachers how to begin a class blog! i’d love to spend some time with others to get some more helpful hints on blogging. if anyone can assist, please open the window and yell!
sacred heart preston
I would love to help but I am a newbie and would probably be more of a hinderance. We aren’r even blogging yet! In light of this, if you just need another enthusiastic ear to listen and then a colleague to bounce ideas around I am more that happy to help in any way I can. 🙂
I would love to help! Each of our year levels have a blog and our year 5/6 students have a personal blog each. There is also a St Therese teacher blog running.
How can I help? You are more than welcome to visit.