Robert Whiteside at Haddington Infant School has around 80 P3 bloggers about to migrate to the Exc-el blog system. This work is investigating at exploring the potential of blogs in formative assessment. Aims include:
- exploring whether a student blog is a better vehicle for Personal Learning Plans, and can help reduce the potential bureaucracy involved with paper plans
- using blogs to help involve parents as partners in their children’s learning
- facilitating peer assessment by encouraging pupils to comment on one another’s work (including providing Blogroll links to make it easy to find peer blogs)
Experience with the set-up on learnerblogs showed that with P3 children, we need to keep usernames and passwords very simple. This time we’ll be changing their existing usernames – of the form hisP3laura – to just hilaura, and we’ll be setting passwords which are also simple. We can simplify things further because we can now make Robert the administrator of all the blogs, and grant each student author rights to keep their screen as simple as possible. This will also mean that Robert will receive email notifications as soon as any comments are left on these blogs.
I’ve now trained Robert up to use the Site Admin tools. The plan is to have a network of staff with admin rights who can quickly set up student blogs and do basic support things like change forgotten passwords. By taking email out of the loop – most students don’t yet have access to email at school – creating a new blog, or user, can be done immediately. Clearly having a pool of people with administrator rights introduces an element of risk – most WPMU installations don’t do this. The benefit has already proved substantial with other staff, though, and there have been no adverse consequences.