I gave a training session for some of the PKC Probationary Teachers on Blogging last night, and was struck by the increase in awareness of blogging as a tool. Some of the people that attended had already tried setting up their own blogs on edublogs, while others had encountered them during their training last year. One of the most encouraging signs was that the vast majority were from the primary sector because I believe that, if we get pupils ‘blogging’ early enough, we’ll be helping to produce literate, reflective pupils who will have a raised skill-set that will stand them in good stead for the rest of their lives… And yes, I know that sounds like a remarkably tall order, but having seen the enthusiasm generated by the pupils who are blogging already, I don’t think it is an unrealistic goal.
I had real evidence of this over the weekend courtesy of another class in my school. Their teacher was inspired by some of the sessions she attended at the recent Scottish Learning Festival and so, with a little help from myself, set up a wiki for her Second Year class to accompany their study of A Midsummernight’s Dream. Say hello to Midsummer Dreaming! (Link to follow once I’ve cleared it with the class teacher!)
We set up a front page and a Shakepeare page which had 1 sentence on it, and then told the pupils in her class how to get a wikispaces ID and where to find the site… I think the correct phrase is ‘Light blue touch-paper and retire…’ By the time we got back to school on Monday, roughly half the class had signed in, over 150 edits had been made to the site… these included a Biography, a timeline, and more information on the characters of the play… But the one thing that has really got them writing, is the Chill page! Spontaneous, entirely their idea, and growing like topsy… oh, and greatly entertaining!
As of tonight, the edits and viewing of the site have gone through the roof… It is a joy to behold.
I think it is safe to say that what this class are doing is very different from, but strongly rooted in, all their previous learning. They are rapidly demonstrating the four capacities of A Curriculum for Excellence… and having a great time doing it! I only hope that they continue in the same vein… and that will be up to their teacher to keep the momentum going. It will require imagination and encouragement and careful mentoring by the teacher, but this is, perhaps, the challenge that faces all of us as the online world becomes more enmeshed with the real world. One way or another, it’s a fascinating time to be a teacher!