I've been quite pleased with the way my students' blogs have progressed this year, considering the caution with which I have proceeded. I originally had volunteer Blog Coaches from my online network ready to interact with my students but Al Upton's class blog controversy and some advice I received in the aftermath had me re-thinking that concept. It was a shame because I really appreciated the helping hands that were offered to my students freely - and I feel as if I never really showed that appreciation properly.
A lot of online interactions in the edublogosphere are built on goodwill and that may be why many of us (education bloggers and twitterers) are reluctant to criticise (even constructively) others because we don't want to sour the potential to collaborate. And that's what I'd like to leverage now - some of your goodwill.
My students are starting an inquiry unit "What Makes Us Australian?" and I figure that their blogs are the ideal platform from which to explore more about their place in the world. But I need some help. My students don't have an online learning network of their own to help shape their thinking - so I want them to borrow mine. They have created posts that list 10 things they feel are unique to Australia. If you feel inclined pop over to my post on the class blog and follow the listed links to one of their posts, have a read and leave them some observation or feedback about their choices. You will notice that several people have already read and commented on some of the first posts from the class - their participation has already created a buzz and authenticity to the discussion that would not have occurred within the four walls of our classroom only. Having new perspective (especially from outside Australia) will be valuable in forcing them to justify their choices, consider new information and deepen their own understanding of the topic. This is different to the angle Doug Noon and I delved into last year on our Spin The Globe wiki and will be a much more individual exploration.
Thanking you in advance for becoming new teachers for my students - you may even learn a thing or two about Aussies in the process.