There’s been a lull on here of late because I’ve been taking time to observe what’s been happening with our individual class Glow Blogs and Glow Wikis. I’m hoping that the process of writing this blog post will everything intp perspective 🙂
Our Individual Blogs
@cpsprimary6v usually update their Glow blogs from home, rather than at school. I think there are two main reasons for this:
- We have two hours a week in our school computer suite – and the children need to share the 16 machines (it’s a class of 30) – we have been known to beg, steal and borrow it at other times, too, but there are so many exciting things to do there, that there is rarely time to put on blog posts :-). We have a computer in the class, but that’s usually taken up with other things such as AR Reading and Smartboard use
- From the outset, I made the decision not to dictate how the children used their blogs. I’ve blogged before about the importance of a feeling of ownership if online spaces are to be sustainable. There have been lots of great posts made from home and we always share them in class. This has inspired others to write their own blog posts – and even just reading them out aloud has helped the writers and the listeners to think about how they might improve their writing. One very recent example for me of a feeling of ownership was when Mason chose to share his experience of travelling to Qatar to visit his dad – great 🙂
Our Individual Wikis
The growth of our Glow wikis has been slower. The children understood the blog ‘Online Diary’ concept but building an ePortfolio is much more complex and I’ve been taking a closer look to see what’s happening. I’ve been pleasantly surprised to find that there has been evidence of:
- Gathering evidence of Learning and Achievement – For example, Robyn posted her Burns’ poetry comptetition entry and continued to update her Glow wiki from home. Have a look/listen – Robyn’s ePortfolio .
I was also very impressed last week when Andrew suggested that he could add his thoughts about his love of books to his ePortfolio. He wrote:
“I have always loved reading and I have a card for the local library. At school we do a thing called AR Reading. It’s where you take a test at the start of the year and get given a level. You then choose a book from our school within that level and read it. Once you have read it you take a test about the book on a computer at school. You then print out a sheet showing your result. You have a big jotter where you record what books you have read and score you got on the tests. I am on the highest level for AR Reading, and I enjoy it.”
- Showing evidence of how learning has progressed – reflecting on learning – Andrew wrote about his attitude to maths and how he has “.. enjoyed maths from Primary 1 and have always tried hard in it. I find the work I do fun and I learn new things all the time. My favourite thing in math is long multiplication. My mum and dad taught me how to do long multiplication in P4. I can do most things I have been taught in math but there is a few things I could improve on. I mainly struggle on Rotational Symmetry, but I don’t think you will need to know that in life.”
Charlotte also showed evidence of reflecting when she wrote about how she found it hard to work with someone else on a task – “Well at first we could not agree on an idea but then we finally came to a compromise that we would combine both our ideas.”
What I’ve learned
I think allowing the children to use their Glow blogs and wikis in this way has provided me with evidence for assessment – I’ve seen a closer ‘snapshot’ of who they are. The children have shown evidence of achievements both inside and outside of school. Anna’s example is typical of an outside school achievement:
…..”We did our floor routine’s first. The judge would judge us on how slowly and neatly our routines were done. After that it was the volt. What I did was run, and then jump on a spring board, then land in squat jump onto the volt and then straight jump off. One of our coaches were compeeting. Then it was the award ceremony. It was team points. I kept saying to Alyson ‘ Were never going to win because we have 2 people and they have 3 or 4 ‘. In the award ceromony it was the 1-3 resuts, then 4-5 and then my one 6-7. I wasn’t even listening when the man called out the results because there was no chance we had one a medal because only the 3rd, 2nd and 1st got a medal. I heard the man say ‘Alyson’. It was then that I relised we had one a bronze medal! …”
… I’m already filling my head with more questions – I wonder what will happen to their ePortfolios in Primary 7 … and the S1 transition period. Hopefully they will survive as it’s the children themselves who are ‘in the driving seat’ 🙂
The transition is what interests me. These are examples of some great work by a class and teacher who work together for most of the school week. On going on to secondary school however, this sense of continuity of teaching and learning is lost, replaced by a fragmented experience of distinct subjects where very often, joined up learning is a foreign language ! My feelings about this have always been extreme frustration. I saw this myself with my P7 kids coming into their S1 year. All the great joined-up learning habits; the cross curricular focus on skills across the curriculum just dissipates and the children quickly abandon skills and learning methodology developed during their formative years in education. The psychology shifts to one of almost Watsonian behaviourism as the ‘Tabula Rasa’ mindset of many secondary subject teachers comes into play and the children react by making choices about what they do and don’t like, and therefore, learning becomes, in many cases for some subjects, a self-fulfilling prophesy of success, failure, or mediocrity. They travel, heads down, from room to room. Queue up at the door. Some smile as they feel good about this subject. Others carry a more worried look as they condition themselves to failure. Others just slump into a sort of torpor, merely doing just enough to get them through the next fifty minutes or so. The joined-up approach of the primary curriculum is gone, replaced by seemingly worthy ‘subject specialist’ lessons and teachers, many of whom, it is sad to say, regard the keen and eager new S1’s as eventual exam canon-fodder.
Oh for a ‘middle school’ approach in S1 and S2 with fewer teachers and learning themes rather than subject distinctions. Will it ever happen? will the supremacy of the secondary teacher who defines him/her self as a ‘Subject Specialist’ (Biologist, geographer, mathematician etc) be replaced by those who recognise that teaching is a vocation one should be proud and privileged to define oneself as ? Will ACfE deliver this sea-change? my old school is now making children choose their examinable subjects two thirds of the way through S1 !!
If I had my way, they wouldn’t even get ‘distinct’ subjects until S3…
Sorry Margaret, rant over. Oh for your approach, and that of the many like you, in secondary schools. And there’s no offence meant to the twiteratti who, I suspect, share many if not all of my concerns.
Thanks for your comment. Jaye – much appreciated.
It really got me thinking about the bigger picture. I tried to reply to it earlier but temporary blog hosting problems prevented me from doing that.
As it turns out, your comment got me thinking so hard, that my original comment thoughts turned in to another blog post 🙂
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Just testing to see if blog access is working okay from here. All seems fine. Hope you get back on again soon 🙂
I feel more and more that eportfolios are the way of the future and that today’s pupils need to be creating these positive digital footprints.
My pupils really seem to agree with this. I could see a successful eportfolio being given to an employer as a cv. But just not sure how easy it will be to encourage the work to be continued at secondary.
I’m going to give it my best shot though!
The growth of our Glow wikis has been slower. The children understood the blog