In Ceramics, a reflection journal practice that has been done on paper is now transferred to the online world. Ms Ariani asked her students to create individual blogs to host their journal reflections. The advantage of an online reflection journal is first of all to the students, as they will collect an easily accessible and shareable portfolio of their progress as artists. There is also the advantage of being able to easily illustrate their reflections with pictures of their final work and work in progress. Students can also add links to resources and research they may have done for the work, making such background information easily available not only for the reader but also for the student. The power of seeing one's own work nicely displayed and easily accessible cannot be underestimated. Apart from that, the fact that students can start to see each other's journals can be a powerful way to encourage more reflection and also positive critique. So we will be looking forward to student reactions at the end of this process.
You can see an example of student reflection blog posts for the coil pot project at the images below: Creative Clay Pot; Failure, Improvisation and Success; Finishing Touches. In this reflection journal it is possible to follow the student's difficulties with fitting different parts of the pot and the creative solution to the problem, which resulted in a funny face jar. Such problem solving and creative process would not have been easily available or even so well illustrated on paper.
Productive discussions regarding the use of blogging as a tool for journal reflection happened between the teacher, Ms Ariani, and the Technology Coordinator, Ms Meneghini, leading to the following decisions:
Teacher feedback and student revision: The teacher can provide feedback that will imply minor corrections on the student blog post or a major addition of a requirement not covered for example. The idea is that the teacher will check the blogs often. The students will edit the post for minor changes but he or she will create a new blog post for major additions as a published blog post is somewhat of a final product. The comments themselves represent the story of student progress so it makes sense that the student blogger responds with a new post indicating stages of work.
Retrieving different blog posts for the same project: The use of labels was reinforced with the students to help retrieve blog posts for the same project. This is necessary not only to help the teacher but also for the student and anyone else who may be interested in following progress. Usually, posts for the same project will be sequential in time, but it may be that a research post for a new project starts while at the same time a teacher feedback requires adding more details to a previous project. Nevertheless, labels will help easy retrieval of project posts after they are long gone from the list of top posts.
Teacher follow up of all student posts: The teacher who follows many student blogs needs a way to easily check work and see who has posted recently. On Blogger, it is possible to use Google Reader, Reading List or Follow By Email to follow up new blog posts. But corrections to an already published post do not appear on those environments. So the decision for the time being is that students will send an email to the teacher to inform of new posts or corrections, facilitating the teacher's management.
Finishing Touches Post
Failure, Improvisation and Success Post
Ceramics Clay Post
The ICT Standards that support learning in this project are:
2. Communication and Collaboration:
Students use digital media and environments to communicate and work collaboratively, including at a distance, to support individual learning and contribute to the learning of others.
b. Communicate information and ideas effectively to multiple audiences using a variety of media formats.