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When I first started doing student led conferences in 1996 my colleagues and I brainstormed about the best way to store the evidence of learning for each student. Honestly, the best we could come up with was pizza boxes. We asked the local pizza shop to donate 120 pizza boxes for the sake of learning and they happily obliged. Fortunately, technology has joined our tool box so we have several 21st century choices to store student's evidence of learning.

Blogs and wikis are two of the most productive ways to showcase student work. As students and teachers are being introduced to web 2.0 tools, I find it easiest to have them use both tools. Here's why and here's how:

The Blogging Platform


Using a blog is ideal for students because it is an online environment that can hold all of the reflections for their various pieces of work. As students move through projects at school, reflecting about what is going well, what is not going well, and about what they are learning is part of developing the meta-cognition process. Additionally, students can go through the goal setting process on their blogs. From writing initial goals to consistent reflection about the progress towards the goals, students become more cognizant of their own successes and areas in need of improvement.

Students have the option of password protecting some of their more personal blog posts if they do not wish to share them with the world. For example, if a student's health goal was to lose weight or increase their speed while running the mile, they may wish to share their successes or lack their of with their teachers and parents only. I feel that's it's important to say that the password protect feature should be used sparingly and only for highly personal information. As educators it is our charge to educate our students about creating, maintaining and protecting their digital footprint. Learning about digital citizenship cannot happen behind a the cloak of frequent password protected posts. If you do decide to go with passwords, pre-assign a unique password to each student at the beginning of the school year. A team of teachers or the tech coordinator should maintain the list of student post passwords AND ensure that all teachers in the school have a copy of the confidential list.

When students use a blog to reflect on their work over a school year, it's an ideal situation for teachers. Teachers have the ability to gather all of their student blogs into one place through the use of RSS feeds like Google Reader and Netvibes. Reporting out about student progress towards goals and giving feedback about projects and their reflection about their learning is streamlined when students use the blogging platform. Teachers cannot only pull up their Reader on any computer to monitor student progress, they can use an LCD projector with their Reader account to have class discussions around that progress.


If you are interested in hosting your own blogging platform, using a Wordpress Multi-User (MU) installation is one of the best ways to get all of your teachers and students up on a blog. A single installation of Wordpress MU will allow the school to create an unlimited number of blogs and will give the school administrative rights over all blogs.

If you are not interested in hosting your own blogging platform, Edublogs offers one of the best one-stop-shop service available today.