I've read many times over that the benefits of student blogging come from the change of audience. When the audience shifts from teachers and classmates (and sometimes parents) to a more global audience (even if it is just a perception) students are intrinsically motivated to perform better. Many feel that this is simply because they do not want to be embarrassed of poor skills publicly. While this may be true in a small minority of students, I think they are motivated because they are contributing to the knowledge of a global society. They are hitting the highest level of Bloom's Taxonomy (creation) and want to be perceived as professionals.
While reflecting upon this during some planning for the student blogs I want to get up and running, I had an "a-ha" moment. If students are motivated by creating information on the Internet, logically teachers should be too. To put this theory to the test, I've decided to utilize a wiki with my teachers as a part of our PLC.
This year we've chosen to focus on engaging students as a part of our district's two-pronged plan (assessment and engagement) to increase high school completion over the next 5 years. We have done some work with John Antonetti, where he introduced us to his Learning Cube. The Learning Cube combines elements of Marzano's instructional strategies, Bloom's taxonomy and Schleckty's Working on the Work strategies for engaging students. Antonetti believes that if you incorporate one element from each side of the cube, students will be engaged. It is this theory we will put to the test.
Through cycles of learning, experimenting and reflection, we plan on implementing lessons and activities designed with the cube to measure expected increases in the levels of student engagement in our classrooms. Because this is new to our district, I can think of no better way to help out other teachers who are experimenting with the cube and focusing on engagement than to collaboratively create a resource outlining our journey. Hence the wiki.
Follow our journey here.