Student Blogging, Community, and Unexpected Results

All of my research on student blogging inspired me to insist that students read each other’s blogs and comment on them with the intent of generating discussion.  What a fascinating reaction ensued.

There are the students who had eagerly tackled their blog assignments with thorough reflections and embedded photos, videos, and hyperlinks.  They enthusiastically logged on to their computers to peruse the other blogs and make comments.  They are asking for ideas on questions and thoughts that might generate discussion.  “Can we add additional links within our comments” one student asks.  A teacher’s dream is unfolding as students come up with bigger and better ideas than I had originally envisioned for the blogging experience.

One teenage boy slowly morphs from his usual slumped posture, chin in hands, dulled and bored expression to an erect position with fingers tense on the keyboard and eyes glancing around at the other screens.  He is a minimalist.  His post barely addressed the prompts.  No photos.  No extras. No links.  The absolute minimum.  However, as he comprehended the fact that someone was going to be evaluating and commenting on his blog, he became very alert and queried, “Can we still edit our own blog post?”

“Of course” I coolly respond.  Inwardly I’m rejoicing (and performing summersaults) at the thought of this minimalist wanting to improve his post. 

The last ten minutes of classroom dedicated allowing the students to reflect and comment on another’s post fills the air energy.  The bell rings for lunch and no one moves.  Almost reluctantly they stop what they’re doing, pack up and head for the door.  Several say “thank you” as they exit.  I’m thinking, “Student Blogging: Best Idea Ever”