Two years ago I launched an inquiry project to determine if social media could be effectively used to improve student writing through a peer-coaching model. While I learned a lot from this project, including a lot of what NOT to do, I also finished with the perception of success. Using social media, in this case KidBlog.org, seemed to have an impact on the quality of writing as well as student motivation.
In the previous project, I wanted to see how peer feedback influenced writing, which I thought could be foundational to a follow-up project. I also wanted to find out how kids thought about writing in a digital space, and whether anything stuck with them two years later. With support from the National Writing Project I was able to take a day to interview those students, now in fifth grade, two years after this inquiry.
As I suspected, many kids didn’t remember specific pieces of writing. However, all of them remembered the feeling they had about this project, and all of them remembered how they should act in digital space. After the interview, several of the kids asked me if I could set up their account so they could continue blogging.
I wondered, what was it about writing in this way that stuck with kids at an emotional level for two years? Could I replicate that? Clearly there was something exciting about writing in digital spaces as well as writing for an authentic purpose and a real audience. I was excited, and ready to up the ante!