We are at the beginning stages of implementing blogs at my school and a question has come up on what teachers are to do or react to student's comments having grammar and spelling errors, and maybe not enough "thought" given to their statement. I have one teacher who posted 4 questions - kind of open ended questions - this year. She has killed herself with the hours of not allowing comments to be posted. Her argument is that the student is a representative of the school so he should have a good, well written response. I view blogs as a means to continue conversations, share knowledge, and reflect. I feel that her posting and judging the comments is no different than the students writing an essay on her topic. I would like feedback on how you get teachers to moderate, accept, reject comments. Do you think that perfection, or close to it, is correct since this is being shared with the world? Any suggestions on how to steer this teacher into letting the students feel comfortable enough with expressing themselves through this Web 2.0 tool without fear of having their thoughts declined? Do you have a lesson that you use with students to teach how to properly comment? Any feedback would be greatly appreciated.

Tags: blogs, commenting, students

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While I am not a teacher, I do have some thoughts about blogs. I feel the person blogging should do everything in their power to make sure that the blog is written well and hopefully with no spelling errors. I do think that in most cases, blogs are meant to engage the reader into a thought process, and while it would be nice if everything was spelled correctly, and all grammar and punctuation was correct, I don't feel that it is critical. Sometimes, I feel when you have to careful of spelling, grammar and the like, that some of the "feelings" are lost and the blog becomes boring. I would recommend having students go out and look at different blogs, depending on who and what is being blogged, the comments range from very thoughtful to ridiculous. But it is in the moment type stuff. I think a good blog takes on a life of its own, and while I believe inappropriate posts should be removed, I think that removing comments just because of grammatical or spelling errors hurts the blog. Maybe the teacher could go over the post with the student, and show them the errors and how to make better comments, and then they might see how bad the post looks, and come up with ways to improve the quality of their comments. If the reflection on the school or district is a major concern, then maybe the blogs should be on a server restricted to school or district members only?
The thing I like the most about web 2.0 is the participation aspect. I just hate chatting with someone who constantly corrects their speling. spelling. It can be very annoying, and painfully slow! But those are just my thoughts, and I may think differently tomorrow.
I do not have a lesson to show students to write comment properly. However, I feel that it is the instant publication that motivates students to learning. Over correction in writing can actually steer students away from writing at all. Blogs and wikis are a way to bring students back to the pleasures of writing. I however understand that the writing should be correct but the level of accuracy should not make this activity too hard on the student or the teacher.

If you need any help in learning how to use blogs, I have created a Web site (http://www.technologymadeeasyforteachers.com) that contains video tutorials and instructional presentations that help in understanding blogs, wikis, software and Web tools etc.

I would appreciate it if you could fillout a short survey available in the feedback section of the Web site to let me know if the Web site is working and if I can improve the contents of the Web site.

Thanks,
Bushra
Comments on blogs have always been a concern of mine but as I have more than 150 students blogging, there is no way that I can keep track of them all. So, I dont even try. We really encourage comments as it encourages students to write, to reflect, to diagnose posts, to share opinions and to broaden their knowledge base, but most of all it gives them potential connections and an audience for their own personal blogs. Many comments on our student posts have led to self directed learning.
I keep encouraging students to check their comments, use a word processor first, to help with corrections in spelling but although my students have sent out 100s of comments, we have not received any negative feedback.
One real concern is that when we cross blog with eg students in Korea, these students do not speak English so a translator needs to be used, therefore students are really motivated to try and make their comments understood.
Comments are vital to the success of communication and connections and students should be encouraged, not 'turned away' from writing them. Despite spelling errors and some grammar the meaning usually comes across.
IM and txt messaging are not allowed as this is not professional and again cannot be translated into other languages.
Using a Word processor is a great idea! Spell check is a helpful feature that is available in some blogs and wikis. This can help students who are struggling with language usage.
Our class blog was made with Drupal and the WYSIWYG has a spellcheck, which is helpful if the student actually uses it. I remind my kids that they are judged by how they write and how they speak, like it or not. I teach gifted kids so most of them have the skills--I think student blogging/commenting is harder than one would think. I don't give grades so the incentive has to be internal. I did go through a period of 'rewards' and everybody blogged every week--I was hoping they would get in the habit--they didn't. The kids that like to write blog much more often than the ones who don't. We've had 53,000 hits in 2 and a 1/2 years --that is a heck of a lot of writing so I guess I will plod on... I do read every post and comment.

Here is a post on commenting--if you were the original author give me a shoutout so I can credit you. N.

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