The aim of this unit is to equip students in Years 7, 8 and 9 with the skills needed to manage their own learning in an online world, including research, presentation, reflection and communication. The unit centers around student blogs, and the integration of other technologies.Whilst it is an ICT unit, it can easily be adapted to suite a wide range of subjects.

On completion of the project students should each have their own blog, in which they have collected and organised their work as well as a range of resources from around the Web. Ideally, students will have begun to understand what they can do online, and how this is constrained by copyright and educational fair use. Some of the following materials may be useful in the teaching of this unit:

  • Learning Online – general overview of the unit.
  • Assessment Rubric – a simple rubric to aid teachers and students in assessment.
  • Anatomy of a Blog – a visual guide to some key elements of a blog. Based on my demo blog.
  • Class Completion Record – a spreadsheet for tracking the progress of a number of classes.
  • Student Completion Record – a spreadsheet for use in one-on-one progress checks with students, which ideally will be carried out towards the end of the unit.
  • Unit Summary for Students – a summary document providing a recap of everything covered in the unit for students to use in their own time, to supplement their in-class learning.

I have just completed running this with 6 classes across Years 7, 8 and 9, and it has been generally successful. All students now have a blog with some content, and the majority have met most of the criteria. Unfortunately, due to time constraints, I ran the unit over 6 weeks, and so some aspects receive less emphasis than they ideally would have. The students generally entered into the spirit of blogging, although some mistakenly linked the online nature of the work to informal writing. This lead to an emphasis being placed on writing in a style appropriate to the intended audience. There were only one or two instances of students writing inappropriately on their blogs, or those of their classmates. These actions generally seemed to be borne of naivety rather than malice. In order to moderate the blogs, I collected all the post and comment RSS feeds into a reader, and I periodically check to see what students have been writing.

Listed below are an exemplary piece of work from each of the year groups who participated in this project:

Please feel free to get in touch if you are interested in teaching this unit: I am more than happy to help where I can. If you have taught this unit, I would love to hear how you got on.