Baby steps – but with children and teenagers!!

Reflecting back to Term 1 2008

Scenario 1

What is that student doing under the table? Why are the students so noisy and restless? This was one nightmare lesson with 27 grade 4 and 5 students.  I had never had a class like that before!!

Scenario 2

Urghh!!!! Those new students in year 7 are useless! They dont seem to listen or do what I ask. Why aren’t they achieving what I want them to? They are getting no-where.

Term 3 2008 Today!

Scenario 1

Grade 4 and 5 students quietly and eagerly writing a post about what  was special about their school, then copying and pasting the comment onto my blog prompt. Students in another p-12 school at Wycheproof are doing the same.

Scenario 2

Year 7 students capably checking their comments, emailing back the students in USA who commented on their blogs and then also commenting on that student’s blog.

The power of blogging is taking place – conversations are evolving and engaged learning being witnessed.

Why the two different pictures between term 1 and 3?

We had been taking baby steps with our staff, but I had forgotten to do that with my students. I now realise that those students who were new to our year 7 group (approximately 50%) had had little experience with computers and here was I throwing them into the deep end and expecting them to blog …. and do it well ….  and get it done today!! Arent they supposed to be digital natives?

Those who had spent grade 6 with us were well tutored in the ways of using web2.0 tools and were well skilled by the time they reached year 7.  I had assumed our new intakes were as well. However, two terms later, those new students have caught up and blogging is now working its magic with them.

Now ….. as for that dreadful class with grade 4 and 5, and despite having the help of a student teacher and three year 9 students, I had tried to do too many tasks with too little instruction and forgotten to take one little step at a time, with a group of very young students. One of the tasks for that lesson was to write a post and copy it as a comment into some other global student blogs. Six months later, they can now do it readily and mostly independently.

So, no matter the age group, those little baby steps are absolutely vital to the successful uptake of web2.0 and 21st century learning.

3 responses to “Baby steps – but with children and teenagers!!

  1. I believe in doing the same thing. Once students get into blogging, they become more engaged. My difficulty is finding other high schools to blog with, specifically, at the grade 12 level.

    I need to get my blog rolling more as it has been relatively quiet. Keep up the good work.

  2. What a good reminder Anne. I catch myself just assuming the kids will know exactly what to do and how. What, don’t they all do this in their spare time? aren’t they all supposed to be living online?! I’m not totally convinced by the digital natives, digital immigrants argument. Some of the Year 7s and people like you certainly dispell that myth!

  3. Anne, your honesty about the learning process makes the pedagogy transparent. Most of the “results” we see on the web–student posts, videos, VoiceThreads and more–don’t reveal the struggle, the hard work, THE TEACHING that goes into them. Thanks for opening a window on the process.

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