Blogging: Assessing Student Growth

Assessing Student Growth Over Time

@CESMediaCenter Ana works on KB post about buddy bench

Blogging is an effective classroom tool used to exceed learning objectives beyond traditional methods. It offers more than just a platform for writing and sharing ideas. It is a means for teachers to assess, connect, empower, and understand their students. For students, it is a way to to find their voice, while continuously learning more about their interests, strengths, and areas of growth.

There are many innovative ways to use blogging in the classroom to meet these goals. As a teacher, you simply need to be open to new ideas, implement creative lesson plans, and relinquish some control by offering the students a chance to choose their own inspiration for writing.  These choices, this freedom in writing, lead to higher student engagement, more meaningful learning, and an enhanced classroom experience for both teachers and students.

Within my classroom, blogging has become one of the best tools to promote literacy skills, while building students’ confidence to express ideas without the fear of making mistakes. Additionally, it has become a way to learn about my students and create a deeper teacher-student relationship. Blogs offer teachers the ability to learn about students and for students to learn about themselves. Yet, what I have found most valuable is blogging’s ability to foster an engaging learning environment, personal to each student, while providing a means for student growth to be tracked and to promote student reflection in the process.

With Kidblog, we have an opportunity for assessing students in multiple areas of communication. It provides a unique, personalized environment for encouraging students to convey their thoughts, demonstrate understanding and make meaning out of content material. Because of Kidblog’s ability to be used class-over-class, year-over-year, students can begin blogging at a young age and continue into higher grade levels. At each phase, they further develop their skills, find comfort sharing knowledge and ideas freely, and continuously develop their content-rich digital portfolio. This ever-growing content can later be used as a focal point to help students see their progress and reflect on their work. They are able to review their first blog posts, compared to their current blog posts, and acknowledge their progress as writers throughout the year.

This progress is built upon the ability to engage students in the writing process through student collaboration and the opportunity to reach an authentic audience. In my class, students are asked to review the comments, to re-read their work, and to consider how they have developed over the year.  It has proven to be an effective way to provide feedback to students, to teach them to reflect and work on goal setting, but in a way that puts the control in their hands.

Students often surprise themselves. They develop skills in ways that are personal to them, and they can use this to track their own growth throughout the year. Even those students who initially were not the biggest fan of writing have been motivated after realizing their progress throughout the year.  Additionally, by taking a look back at where they started and where they are now, students will be inspired to take the next steps to keep moving forward.

 

Current Kidblog members: If you’re a teacher with multiple colleagues using Kidblog in your school/district, Admin Pro is simply a better plan for you.  Email membership@kidblog.org to learn about benefits and volume discounts.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

I am a Foreign Language Teacher at Riverview Junior Senior High School in Oakmont, PA. I am also an attorney and received my Juris Doctor Degree from Duquesne University School of Law, and I will receive my Master’s Degree in Instructional Technology from Duquesne University in May 2016. I have presented at several conferences on technology, including PETE&C in Pennsylvania and four sessions at ISTE in Philadelphia in 2015. I look forward to presenting at these and other conferences again this year and enjoy sharing ideas and collaborating with others. I am an officer for ISTE Mobile Learning Network and Games & Sims Network, the PAECT Historian, and fortunate to represent several communities working with educational technology. 

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