Students as Participants

Beyond Blogging ~ Teacher ~ Students ~ Classrooms ~

After a little while, I realized that instead of blogging FOR students, I should find ways to get them involved in BEING PART OF the blog. That level of involvement can vary a great deal, from students who anonymously browse and click to those who end up regularly posting their own content, writing to new penpals, and starting their own forums to express themselves digitally.

Level #1: Clicking

In level #1, student involvement is cursory.  They might vote is a poll, as shown below, or read anonymously, but they aren’t putting themselves out there in a personal way. (Examples of polls: Massachusetts Pride and Vote in Our Contest)

Level #2: Commenting

In level #2, student involvement is increasing.  Students are actively engaging in the blog content by sharing opinions, answering questions, and making their own inquiries.  For example, in the Colors of Kyiv post, among others, students were invited to answer questions such as this one:

Which of the following would Loki be LEAST likely to do if she were Ukrainian?

  • a) Stand very close to the person in front of her when waiting in line
  • b) Complain about how much she gets paid
  • c) Give a long story about how she is doing when asked “how are you?”
  • d) Move to a new city for a fresh start
  • e) Live with her parents through college and beyond

Likewise, in the Magical Lands of Turkey post, I asked students to help me get by in Turkey by answering some interdisciplinary questions for me:

Math: In the taxi from my hotel in Kyiv to the airport, my taxi driver got up to 130 kilometers per hour. And there were no seat belts in the back! How fast is this in miles per hour?

Language: Help me figure out some basics.  How do I say “thank you” “good morning” and “excuse me” in Turkish?

Social Studies: I know that most people in Turkey are Muslim. Will I offend people if I wear short sleeves? What about a tank top?

Science: I’ve caught a glimpse of the bizarre rock formations in Goreme National Park. How did they form?

Level #3: Conversing

In Level #3, students are actually taking part in real conversations through email, video, or comments. In Ukraine, I was able to use video to actually create a conversation between the students at my host school and my students back home.  This video summarizes the exchange, but I’d encourage you to check out the following posts and certainly make sure to read the comments: Welcome to Classical LyceumFrom IACSResponse #1, and Response #2. In the future, I’d love to set something like this up with experts abroad that could provide information to our class.

Level #4: Coming to Events

Level 4 is getting students to take action offline. I used the blog to advertise after school sessions in which I gave talks about my travels (Global Gab Southern Africa). I am also using it to start a Global Leaders Club.  I’m hoping to get those students to start writing their own content for the blog in the future.

Level #5: Creating

Level #5 is when students are fully invested and they are creating their own projects, actions, and online content.  Below is a short video summarizing the results of our Global Citizenship Projects (which you can also read about in the Global Education Resource Guide). I also got students involved in other ways, such as signing themselves up for a Ukrainian penpal.

Next Page: Classrooms as Part of the Global Community

2 replies »

  1. Abby and Mike have enjoyed participating in your blog beyond reading it. Abby loved doing the child-labor awareness video, and Mike wrote a letter to a penpal in the Ukraine. He didn’t get a reply, but he did take time and really think through his letter, helping him to get to know himself better and articulate his thoughts in writing.
    I even feel like a global student when I read your blog! I get to do the polls too, and I get a lot out of your photography and the current events you tell us about and the culture you teach us about. I’m of the age that my globe growing up showed a big blob labeled USSR on one side. My social studies classes focused on American history. I love learning about new cultures and the new “shapes” our world is in today!

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