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Looking Back

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Reflecting back upon the project, I realized that I probably learned more than any of my students. My original vision of students working around the clock, vehemently writing in anticipation of gaining an authentic audience, didn’t quite work out.

A handful of kids did write from home, but most didn’t have access. So despite my desire to move our peer collaboration to the cloud, it ended up happening either during a scheduled computer lab time, or during schedule literacy center rotations.

There were times when I forgot to reserve the lab. There was the period of two weeks when the heat didn’t work in the lab. Computers died, the network went down, kids accidentally logged in as someone else, new students moved in. Browsers were closed without saving, posts had 95 line returns before the text began, some kids spent more time commenting than writing.

But kids learned how to troubleshoot hardware and software problems, struggling writers became proud writers, parents and staff started asking if they could help, and kids started to have conversations about pieces of writing outside of writing time.

Will I try things differently next time? Absolutely. But I won’t worry about making it perfect. So much of what was accomplished as a class came from the journey of overcoming challenges and adapting to wrong turns and failed attempts. In the end, although using social media became entirely more work than I could have ever anticipated, I also felt the payoff was greater than I had hoped. Not only did student writing improve, but so did motivation, self-confidence, collaboration, digital citizenship, classroom citizenship, and value in the written word of lived experiences. Not bad for an inquiry project.

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<p>Christoper-I enjoyed reading your project as it made me realize I'm not the only one that has technology issues! I also struggled with the sharing of writing and have finally found what works in my room so throughout the week, all students are able to share their writing several times and still maintain that motivation to "write feverishly" even if they are not sharing that day.</p> <p>I am planning a project similar to yours for this coming school year and I had intended to do it on wiki spaces, but I am now headed over to kidblog to see if that's a better tool to use. I have very inconsistent technology.&nbsp; </p> <p>You voiced your concern for peer conferencing-how did you go from "I liked it" comments to the place where kids were able to help each other create leads in writing-wow?!</p>