Back in March I introduced student blogging to my Year 9 Drama class. I dived right in having each student create their own individual student blog which was connected to a class blog.
The other day a very kind reader of my blog asked me how my class blogging was going and what my thoughts were on using it in the Drama classroom. I had been meaning to update on this for some time so having interested readers push me along in this pursuit was great!
Here is the class blog page.
As you can see, I’ve added absolutely zilch to it since starting it. That was my responsibility and my fault and I have some thoughts on that further on.
However, some student drama blogs that I think are well worth taking a look at from my class include:
On the downside though, only these four of the eleven students in my class have really taken to blogging and have been updating it regularly. Three of my student’s haven’t added their link to the class blog page at all. Student’s were just not contributing to their own blog nor commenting on their peers.
This really surprised me. I really thought the kids would want to engage with their laptops and create a blog.
So why, were they just not getting into blogging?
Most of them did not know what a blog was nor did they have the patience to set one up thus making them very frustrated and hence giving up on the idea all together (thus why many of them are not regularly updated or are non-existent).
This classroom moment did re-affirm for me this idea I have that technology is really not that scary and children don’t necessarily know more than us about technology. Their fear of trying something new online was just as obvious as that of any adult using a computer for the first time. Student’s may be surrounded by technology but they really don’t know the breadth and depth of it nor do they really use any more than a couple of web tools on a daily basis. I guess this is obvious to many of you who have been engaging with web tools and web based learning for a long time but I’m still new to this revelation.
In reflecting further on this I really shouldn’t have delved straight into individual student blogging. Spending time reading other blogs and simply commenting is the best way to go. I should have also done my part in keeping the central drama blog up to date along with the kids.
Time is something I do feel pressured by and I do find critical reflection and appreciation in drama can get lost by the wayside when you are dealing with student’s who have behaviour problems, learning difficulties or simply do not like having to write.
What I have learnt though and I what I need to get better at, is really sticking to keeping the last 15-20 minutes of a lesson (mine are 75mins so adjust accordingly) for writing activities. Unfortunately, getting student’s to do this kind of reflective work at home is not an option at my school. If you can do it though, go for it. It is ideal because then you really can concentrate on practical activities. Getting into habits, such as writing for the last part of the lesson, is a basic teaching rule and one that I think can be forgotten in Drama classrooms because of the practical nature of our subject.
The way the student’s have completed their “blog logs” for drama is based on a template I gave them which I will share in another post.
For web tools and ICT to work in the Drama classroom, I believe teachers need to allocate appropriate amounts of time to appreciation, critical study and simply writing to ensure student’s are getting into effective habits that will assist them to process the thoughts and experiences of the practical classroom and then to eventually share that with the world of the Internet.Follow @karlao_dtn