Saturday, January 5, 2013

Keeping up with Student Voice

One of the key goals of Manaiakalani has always been to hook our students into learning through a few identified avenues.  One of these is to use the engagement of an authentic audience to encourage them to develop their 'voice', particularly in writing.  By the end of 2012 across our nine schools we have more than 1000 active student blogs. It is a real pleasure to monitor what our kids are saying, but it is a lot of writing to keep up with.

I have posted before about some of the ways I have explored to keep up with this rich flow of student expression. I am very pleased I began using twitterfeed several years ago to feed the posts through to the @clusternz Twitter account.  It is a bit unwieldy and is quite slow to input new accounts, but once done it provides lots of options for ongoing monitoring of the blog posts.

Teacher Dashboard is by far the easiest way for an individual teacher to access the blog posts (and comments) appearing on the class blogs, but I am also looking for public solutions.

My most enjoyable way of viewing the feed of student blog posts is through Flipboard on my iPad, but it is limited to the most recent posts.

I was happy to discover RebelMouse over the Christmas break and have set up an account here and embedded it on this blog here.  It gives a user experience a little similar to Flipboard on my laptop.

I will continue searching for ways to best access and display all the writing our Manaiakalani students are publishing.  There are lots of possibilities.

Not as easily solved is the important need for this writing to be taken seriously by those assessing and researching improvement in these kids' writing.