Saturday, July 23, 2011

Blogging: Assessment and Learning

My students blog.  Going to a computer to write a post was a regular occurrence last year;  often students worked on them at home "just because"!

Adding various audiovisual clips was something many undertook to enhance their piece.

Quite a few were able to use hyperlinks to connect other useful and interesting sites to their posts.

All of them provided feedback to each other and responded to the comments received, carrying on a enthusiastic conversation with other readers in other parts of the world.  In addition to their individual blogs, the kids collaborated on posts about topics of mutual interest (or just to share the 'work'!)

As the year went on and we became more comfortable with how and what to do, we had a discussion about how blogging fit in our 'photo album' approach to assessment:

~Not everything they do has to go in the album
~They have some say in choosing items to be considered for the album
~Some blurry 'shots' can be removed from the album
~Over time growth should be evident
~Sometimes pictures get taken that you don't necessarily want to be 'in' but you try to give your best 'smile'!]

By the end of the first term (September to November here) my kids are used to thinking about assessment in three ways:

1. Assessment for learning - when I need information in order to plan what's needed for them as individuals, groups or as a class

2. Assessment as learning -when students think (and respond to feedback) about their own learning and determine what they need to do in order to reach their goal in any particular activity

3.Assessment of learning - when I gather information on what students have accomplished at the 'end' (does learning ever end??) in order to share publicly (report cards) how well they have met learning outcomes at particular times in the school year.

In our classroom knowing what assessment is about is important so...assessment of blogging eventually had to come up!

We talked about the technical skills we needed  in order to complete a post and that there were different levels of these.

 It was noted that blogs have features that make it a written composition so applying our regular rubric was the first thought.  They quickly acknowledged that determining exemplars of blogs was a little more challenging; it was writing transformed (their word; didn't keep track of who to give credit but I think it fits!) into something different ~ a multimodal text.

And the students recognized that an important part of the blogging process was the give and take of commenting.  As we had gone through activities about effective commenting; they were ready to include this in any assessment we came up with.

After much discussion on how to rubric our blogs (in a student-friendly, easy to use format) we designed this -based in a scale similar to our provincial rubric with 1-5; five being outstanding and one indicating a beginning/limited evidence of the elements.

________________________________’s BLOG RUBRIC

My blog has a clear focus/topic.

My personal connection to this topic is made clearly.

My readers/viewers will feel my enthusiasm and be interested in what I have to say.

My blog is well written.

My blog shows my technology skills.

My commenting is respectful, constructive and engaging.

 Great Grade Fives 2010-2011

As I get ready for a new class of GREAT grade fives, I want to take a closer look at how blogging, and other ways of incorporating digital literacies, need to be thought about in terms of assessment.  I have many questions and thoughts that I want to flesh out in this forum- my blog!

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