Final Reflection of Student Blogging experience

I started my class blog as a major assignment in my EC&I 831 class but it have evolved to more than just an assignment.  I am thankful we had a lot of freedom when choosing this what we wanted to focus on this semester because I was always interested in blogging with students but I hadn’t yet had the push that was needed to get me started.  Even though this class has concluded, my Grade 2 students will be continuing with their blogs for the remainder of the school year.  It feels like we are just getting started!

Last week my class was asked to blog a short post about spring. Their prompt were “what do you like about spring?” “what do you do in spring” “What does spring look and feel like?”  Many of them also had time to insert a picture on their post that I had previously saved on a file in our school’s global drive.  I am SO happy to announce that this was the most stress free hour of blogging we have had yet! This tells me that students are becoming more independent bloggers and I have two “blogging experts” trained to help out as well.

I am happy that I learned about blogging with young students over this semester and happy that I involved my students and their families in this project.  Not only did I increase my knowledge but I increased 21 seven and eight year olds knowledge about blogging, typing and digital citizenship as well!

I feel I chose a topic directly related to social media, open education and networked learning but I also want to reflect upon “What I learned about learning online”.  I connected with Kathy Cassidy early in the semester to ask for some tips and help with setting up my student edublogs.  I was very thankful for the free upgrade to the Plus account on Edublogs, it would definitely be worth the $40 next year though.  I also used Twitter to connect with two other teachers using classroom blogs (edublogs and seesaw) and I tweeted to Edublogs to see if they had any great hashtags I should follow.

I am not nervous to use Twitter any more which I think is a huge accomplishment!  Next year I hope to get my students tweeting more, once I create a classroom account!

Last week I created a short video about blogging with my students.  It is quite candid, as a I did not give them any prompting. I think it is easy to see that they have really enjoyed this experience as well!



Summary of Learning

We have just completed a busy and exciting semester learning about open education and social media.

Amy and I completed a “news cast” interview for our Summary of Learning project.  We had a lot of fun using a green screen to share highlights of what we learned!

check it out below!


Slacktivism… better than simply being a slacker!

Slackivism is defined by Techopedia as “a term that combines the words “slacker” and “activism” to refer to simple measures used to support an issue or social cause involving virtually no effort on the part of participants. Slacktivism is most commonly associated with actions like signing online petitions, copying social network statuses or joining cause-related social networking groups”

Photo credit

I was personally unaware that this social movement, which is impossible to ignore on various social media outlets, had a name before learning about it this week.  I have actually thought about slacktivism before (not knowing there was a name for it). Several of my friends on social media are constantly sharing, liking or updating their status’s to reflect and “support” various issues and causes. As I have mentioned before, I do not post a lot on social media, especially on Facebook where I most commonly see the “slackivists”.  I have nothing against people who tweet hashtags like #bringbackthebees  , #blacklivesmatter , and #yesallwomen or people who dump ice on their head to raise awareness for a little known about disease or who like and repost the latest cause on instagram or Facebook. I just do not tend to take part in these things too often . (yikes…. does this make me even worse than a slacktivist)

Many people have blogged about their views on slacktivism, both for and against.

Scott Gilmore writes that he believes the problem with slacktivism is that people are only caring about themselves like growing a mustache for Movember instead of taking time to maxresdefaultvolunteer and donate money towards  a cause to help the bigger picture. Gilmore writes “A slacktivist is someone who believes it is more important to be seen to help than to actually help. He will wear a T-shirt to raise awareness. She will wear a wristband to demonstrate support, sign a petition to add her voice, share a video to spread the message, even pour a bucket of ice over her head.”   Critics of slacktivism believe that participants lack engagement and commitment to the cause.

While I am not “Anti-slacktivism” a concerned member of  my communiy has recently set up an online petition  that I have yet to sign because before even learning about slackivism I didn’t think these signatures would actually make a difference.  Even though I do agree with the cause, I am not sure I will add my name to the list, but I am also in no hurry to write  letter to our mayor. (Another slacker move.. oh no!)

I connected more with Abby Rosmarin’s post  about how yes, there are some slackivist haters but there are some positives to this idea as well. I agreed a lot more with Amy here when she stated how she enjoys seeing her friends post slackivist updates. She writes “It is a beautiful sight to see people come together over a cause, even if it’s as effortless as sharing a video or changing your profile picture. There is nothing I love seeing go viral quite like a social movement. Don’t give me your blue-and-black (or is it white-and-gold?) dress. Don’t give me “15 Things You Totes Do With Your BFF!!!!” I love seeing my Facebook and Twitter feeds flooded with something that can bring a little more peace, equality, or justice in this world. But that is only the start”  

I really agree with that last line… But it is only the start.  I am not against slacktivism.  I was happy to read that a study in 2012 proved that those who engage in slackivism are actually more likely to give back to causes (time or money).  My believe is that slacktivism is better than nothing. I think it is better to share your support for a cause, even it it simply means a retweet or a facebook share than to show no support at all.  At least all of the slacktivists out there are still raising awareness for the cause of their choice, it might just take one person to see their post to react and make a difference.

Throughout writing this post I thought I might be more of a “slacker” than a slacktivist because I don’t even take the time to share causes on social media! But after some thought, I realize that I help causes that are near and dear to me.  This past year I donated to the Make a Wish Foundation, Diabetes Foundation and the Cancer Society.  While I may not be donating hundreds of dollars at a time, I know my donations are still making  difference.

I am happy I have learned about the Slacktivism phenomenon, I will be more aware of this now and maybe even join in from time to time!  Better a slacktivist than a slacker 🙂



Student blogging update

Things are continuing to go well with my learning project of creating a class blog with my students.  My goals for this project were to create a class blog, post class updates and pictures on the main page, have my students write individual posts, have students post a picture and/or video and connect with another classroom.  I am happy to report that we have accomplished all of these goals!

I hoped to connect to another class who uses edublogs and have my students pair up with another student and become blogging buddies.  It took me a lot longer than anticipated to get my students comfortable with logging on and writing their own post that I haven’t yet had them comment on an outside blog.  I encourage my students to comment on my main post and leave comments for each other.  I taught my student to leave positive comments to their peers that might include a though provoking question or a question to encourage a conversation.   We were SO lucky to have one of my fellow classmates, Erin Benjamin’s Grade 2 class from Regina check out our blog.  Mrs. Benjamin and her class commented on each of my students blogs.  My students were over the moon excited! They were excited to have someone other than myself and their parents read and react to their posts! The next day we checked out Mrs. Benjamin’s class blog on SeeSaw and wrote a comment back to them.  I would like to try to write back to each student as well, but it would be easier to do so as a class.

I have about five students who are posting outside of class time to their blFullSizeRenderog.  When we are at school, I usually give my students a topic to post about that is school related. When my students are at home and choose to blog, they are mostly writing about a personal
experience such as a birthday party they attended or last nights hockey game. I love to see them so engaged that they are writing from home!  I even had a few students blog over the Easter break, one student even blogged from Phoenix, Arizona!



This week, a fellow colleague from down the hall shared a recent blog post he wrote about his students using Edmodo.  I connected a lot to what Alan said in his post, Edmodo for Authentic Writing.  Alan explains that he uses his students edmodo writing for a lot of assessment. He states “I catch them at their most eloquent, when they are engaged, and independent. Personal voice shines through.” Although my Grade 2’s have not been blogging as long as Alan’s Grade 4 and 5 students, I still believe that I am seeing very authentic writing with some of my students.  Alan also comments that he promotes his students writing on Edmodo because of parent engagement.  I am always excited when my students receive parent comments on their blogs, this week we even had an aunt from a different city comment on two of my students blogs (they are twin brothers).  It is great to see students and parents share our class blog with other family members.