Pondering Our Online Spaces


In my previous post I revisited my Chartered Teacher dissertation where I’d mentioned research by Stern (2007) who found that in her study, the main audience for young people’s blogs were the authors themselves and that they were self reflecting as they tested out different versions of their current and possible identities. She also found that they were continually testing out other audiences too, and that they were hungry for peer approval.

The Primary Six children in my class certainly value getting comments on their blog posts. For the first few months, it was common for every post to end with a, “Please leave comments!” plea, and I’d occasionally ask my twitter followers to oblige them 🙂 The children were undaunted by this … until Andrew received a comment from Dairmid , a 9 year old:

Hi Andrew, I Am Nine too and i play football on saturday but for a diffrent club ,maybr we could become freinds and date a playday

In class the next day, Andrew told me that he’d received a suspicious comment. He was worried that it was from an adult pretending to be a 9 year old. I was able to reassure him that it was from Catriona’s son – we’d had a discussion about it on twitter and she’d mentioned that Dairmid had left the comment 🙂

 I found this interesting, though, as three years ago it was the adult comments that were more difficult for my class to accept as this quote from my dissertation shows:

“The third adult comment resulted in much excitement. The children were unexpectedly bewildered by it, and had difficulty coming to terms with how the blogs were discovered by this teacher. Although all the children were aware of search engines, and had personal experience of using them, they still could not quite grasp how this visitor had stumbled upon one of their blogs. Visiting children, on the other hand, did not surprise them at all”

I’ve set up our Glow blogs so that I’m able to track who is commenting on the children’s blogs, and recently I’ve become aware that the majority of the comments are coming from the children themselves as the image here shows.

Other changes are taking place as well, though, because I’ve noticed that the class are now beginning to reflect on each others’ posts. They’ve begun writing about a ‘competition for the best post of the week’. Jade’s example of this can be seen here – more of these types of  ‘lets look at what others are writing’ posts are continuing to make an appearance.

I was worried that the children’s motivation to blog would begin to wane if I couldn’t provide an audience for them, but it seems that they’re happy enough to have their peers as their audience when it comes to comments – maybe Stern was right 🙂

 Stern (2007) also mentioned the importance young people attach to personalising their online spaces, and how they prepare them with careful attention to detail.

It might be significant that the change to a more class community feel to our blogs coincides with the fact that I’ve allowed (and shown) the children how to customise their Glow Blog Header image. As usual, a few ‘experts’ are emerging and they are helping others to upload images successfully. Three Header images that I like are ones that mirror the children’s interests.

Jade loves her pets.

Charlotte is really into frogs!

Jennifer is adamant that she is the biggest fan of Rubber Ducks ever 🙂

Last night I began with the intention of writing about three topics, and even uploaded some images to help guide me through the post. Unfortunately, I’ve only managed one of the topics because I keep getting sidelined by what’s happening on the blogs. Here are the three topics – one down, two to go …

  • Audience   (managed that!)

  • Assessment (via Glow Blog Posts)

  • ePortfolios (development update)

I hope I find the time to write up the other two topics before I get waylaid again 🙂

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