Our weBLOG TLLP study team has been in place for several months now. Our goal was to work with two or three classes to introduce blogging, and then compare achievement data on these classes with others in our school. However, we are now about to revisit our study goal to reflect the reality of what has happened at our school this year.
A number of analogies come to mind: "If you build it they will come," or "Ripples from a pebble dropped in a still pond." Less than five months after beginning with our group of six teachers (who may be tech neophytes but are creative and persistent educators) most of the classes in our school are blogging, and in both official languages! Other teachers simply approached us and asked to be taught how to work the software and then moved ahead with their students.
My favourite moment in observing the engagement of our students involves one of my Grade 8 girls. The students were supposed to be reading two detailed news articles from the Toronto media on proposed changes to the laws governing young drivers. Also within one article was a video they could watch. I looked over and saw that her screen looked different and thought she was off-task, headphones plugged in and listening to music online. To my surprise, when I walked by to redirect her, she had opened WordCue (which I had not ever taught them), and was having the software read the articles to her. As I observed her, she then moved on to view the video clip from the Toronto Star, and then wrote an insightful comment.
From poetry to math, cell phones to animal rights - our blog has taken us on a fascinating journey where our students are enthused about writing.