What Am I Doing This For?

The obvious answer is “me,” because the students don’t seem to be getting much out of it. This is a short vent about my students. Each day, I post an update to my classroom blog. It doesn’t take long. I find it enjoyable. I give them a short literary story, then I recap the day and make announcements. I also created a wiki for them.

They won’t, WON’T use them. It’s frustrating. Why am I bothering? I don’t want to give up, but I feel… sort of defeated. Do I need to require them to use the blog and wiki in order to ensure that they will be? That just bugs me to have to do, but I’m not above it.

But the kicker is what they said yesterday. They might actually use my site if it was on MySpace. Can you freaking believe that? They claimed it would be easier to check. Oh, much easier I’m sure than typing a URL once and bookmarking it so you never had to again. I have already resorted to posting extra credit on the site and not mentioning it — ever — in class. Mixed results. Well, no results, really.

OK, tell me to keep plugging away and it will pay off eventually.

MySpace. Please.

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4 thoughts on “What Am I Doing This For?

  1. Dana, You are right. I've also found that students are not interested in viewing a class blog, let alone post to it, if it's viewed as teacher directed. Showing the student’s links that I found useful, articles that I found interesting, and sharing my latest technology discovery on a class page did not capture their interest. So how do I get them to use the class blog? Well, I'm still working on that. <a rel="nofollow" href="http://mhetherington.typepad.com/&quot; rel="nofollow">Last year did all of the posts and my students were allowed to comment. That worked ok, for a short time, especially if they could comment on direct questions of interest to them. I also gave them a very small extra credit if they posted. This year I am posting any schoolwork they would like to share at <a rel="nofollow" href="http://room613talk05.edublogs.org/&quot; rel="nofollow">Room 613 Talk. They usually email or IM their file to me and I post it. Feedback from this year's students indicate that this is considered "Our" blog as compared with last years group who looked at it as Mr. H's. So, in that regard, it looks like you need student work on prominent display to garner student interest. The next time you want to post something new, ask yourself if it's something the students could write. If so, let them get involved. Of course, the post is not going to be perfect, but you can edit it together and you get some further benefits out of the exercise. Another suggestion: Hold a class meeting, show them your webpage and ask,” how this could become "OUR" page?’ As long as you give them broad parameters such as it must be related to the curriculum etc, I bet they come up with some good ideas. Be ready for some contention though. We have some passionate debates when planning. And that’s good, it means they're invested, that they care about the project. These are just some suggestions. I am a long way from being where I want to be with the web page. Plan with the students, try it, get feedback, revise, then repeat the cycle. We are doing the same with the podcasts. Sometime my students disagree with me on editorial content, and we need to compromise. An example of this can be heard in our last podcast. As we recorded, I thought the group rendition of The Turkey Song sounded much better than when the individual students sang their lines solo. They would not agree, no matter how many times I tried to convince them. In the end, I included the best half on the group effort AND the individual version. After all, it is THEIR podcast. Sorry for the long post, but just had to give you my opinion. Please do not stop blogging; your page is terrific now. Once the students buy in it will be even better.

  2. Dana,

    Just to let you know, I've finally taken the next step with our class website. Each of my 80 sixth grade students can now post work directly to the class blog. That means no more cut and pasting for me, and more direct access for them. I do moderate each post and comment to assure appropriatness. From our past discussions, I know you were looking for more student involvement in your blog. So far I am astounded by the student response at our new site, the <a rel="nofollow" href="http://hetherington.learnerblogs.org&quot; rel="nofollow">Room 613 Student Blog. Check it out when you get a chance. The sites is a free <a rel="nofollow" href="http://learnerblogs.org/&quot; rel="nofollow">Learnerblogs WordPress site courtesy of James Farmer. I posted step by step instructions on how to set up a blog for multiple classes at <a rel="nofollow" href="http://mhetherington.net/blogs&quot; rel="nofollow">MHetherington.net. The learning tool is in place, now the I (with the students" help) have to figure out new ways to use it to enhance our learning. The fun begins!

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