I am finally finding literally 5 minutes to catch up with a few things I have been doing since the beginning of the term and I wanted to share with you how I am using kidblog.org to create collaborative feedback between different schools and cross-phase. Our Yr12 Blog is here.

I believe allowing our learners to Blog is a powerful learning strategies for a number of reasons. Firstly, our students get a real audience and are more likely to take their assignments seriously and be enthused by the thought of communicating their work to the world. That is why it is so important for them to see comments appearing on their posts, as they get the feeling that their efforts are appreciated by others! Also, comments are a powerful and simple means to peer assess each other’s work, as well as, obviously, for the teacher to leave some feedback too.

So, I introduced my Yr12 to our CroesyPhysics Blog and set a couple of assignments for them. The first is something I have been doing for the last couple of years and it is about the learners writing poems to describe the Photoelectric Effect, more about it on this previous Blog post. But the second was a collaboration between our Yr12 learners and a Yr6 class  at Highlawn Primary School. In these Blog posts our learners had to explain energy levels and photon absorption and emission to an audience of 10 year old pupils. You can read the Blog post to set the assignment here. Our Yr12 students could present this Physics topic in whatever form they wanted, but it was very clear to the majority of the Bloggers that they needed to find a way to get their message across in a simple and coherent way, and that they could not assume anything, not even that the Yr6 learners would know what an electron, or an atom is!

So, I gave them a link to the PowerPoint I would have normally shown them on the topic and told them to use that and their text books to gather the information they needed to support their creations. I was pretty confident they would not copy and paste, because if they had, they would have failed to be understood by the Yr6 learners, who are reading our Blog posts and leaving comments to feedback on our students’ presentation, clarity and accuracy. It must be said that the comments we have had so far are really thorough and very well written for learners of that age! Learners at Highlawn Primary certainly know what it means to reflect on learning.

I think we’ve had some really good Blog post so far and this excercise has been useful for our learners, but I would love to hear your opinions and if you can spare a couple of minutes, please read through some of our learners’ work and leave a comment for them here! They will be thrilled to see others value their work.

  1. Maria Mortati says:

    That is a really really cool way to get kids to produce and learn.

  2. Alessio Bernardelli says:

    Thanks! I thought it was quite useful to “force” them to use alternative ways to present information and use their knowledge, which is what explaining a really complex topic to Yr6 learners does.

  3. Philip Bradfield MA MSc says:

    well done: I often ask my 6th form private pupils to explain things back to me in just such terms!

  4. Chris Bolton says:

    Thanks for sharing this.
    It’s really interesting to see the Year 6 responses.
    What sort of impact has it had on the Year 12’s?
    A long time since my A level physics, but I wish I’d had this sort of opportunity for some social learning….. I might have done a bit better.
    I’m wondering how to use what you’ve done to illustrated how this kind of knowledge transfer and social learning can be used in the work environment.
    Would you be ok if I use what you’ve one as an example?

    • Alessio Bernardelli says:

      Hi Chris,
      Thanks for your encouraging words! Please feel free to use our blog as an example, but please acknowledge me and our school!
      In terms of impact, I can say the photoelectric poem has definitely improved learners understanding of the phenomenon, but for the Yr6 collaboration it is early stages still to form a judgement, as I haven’t attempted something like this before!
      I can see though, that the kids who tried to produce blogs at the level of their audience have gained a good understanding of energy level, for example Jason’s blog post!
      Thanks for your feedback,

  5. […] best way to see the impact of this is to view the outputs via Alessio’s post on collaboration cross phase through blogging. Have a look at this very scientific presentation from some of the pupils. Standard power point […]

  6. […] talk about how first year sixth form students (year 12) had learned about photo electricity by posting blogs to be reviewed by year 6 students. The act of explaining what they  knew to others helped their personal understanding. This is […]

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