If you're not familiar with BWP, it's modelled after the Google 20% project - students choose something that interests them, they find information on it, and build some sort of project from that knowledge. The idea is to promote life-long learning and bring student passion into the curriculum. It's been a huge success in many ways, but there is something missing.
Most of our great ideas involve breaking down our own process and trying to recreate that with our students. And the big thing missing for our students was the thing that is most important for us personally: our PLN. Now, I guess we always figured that the students in our classroom made a PLN together. But that's not a PLN they are choosing, and rarely are there more than a few students in the room who share their passions.
So we are now thinking about ways to help our students build their own PLN. We acknowledge that having students use social media is controversial, and requiring it involves the cooperation of the school, the parents, and the students themselves.
But all of our students have their own blog this year, and what we CAN do, is invite them to build a PLN made up of other people from around the world who blog about whatever it is that interests them. They can also connect with people using their YouTube accounts.
This post isn't to announce that we have a great, finished idea right now. It's to help promote the conversation in tonight's flipclass chat. The hope is that, just like in our own classrooms, if we start the thinking BEFORE we all meet together, we can use our "face to face" time much more productively.
Karl reminded me of several posts that deal with student blogging on a thoughtful and deeply personal level. I'm sharing them here because it will also help to drive our conversation tonight.
Student Blogging Do's and Don'ts by David Theriault
Why Blogging Isn't Transformational for Our Students (yet) by Will Chamberlain
If you have others that you think will help people make thoughtful contributions to tonight's chat, please add them in comments!