A personal blog differs from any other kind of blog because it is published in your personal section and remains separate from your school's main site. It is extremely quick and easy to write, straight from your dashboard.
Because of ease of use and because it is a form popular outside the classroom, there are few better ways to encourage students to reflect regularly on their progress or daily school life. It is also great for taking notes, collecting work chronologically and practising literary skills. Teachers can comment on their students' posts, but also make their own Personal Blogs for records and organisation.
Firstly, add a blog page to your personal section. You can find out more information on personal sections - how to enable, view and permission them - here.
Once in your personal section, select Create Page in the left menu beneath your name or the Personal Section title. Then choose Blog from the page types. Blog posts can be written as normal from here.
To increase ease and speed of use, they can be written straight from the dashboard.
To enable this feature, a Firefly Administrator needs to add the dashboard Quick Blog Post component to your school's dashboard as follows: Edit dashboard > More Content > Quick Blog.
A window then appears on all users' dashboards. You can write straight into the window and it reminds you where the post will be shown. Make sure Personal appears in the drop-down menu after IN, beneath your post.
Using Personal Blogs
Move the Write Blog Post component to the top of the dashboard so that it's the first thing students see when they open Firefly. This will encourage them to record their work, thoughts or notes immediately. It begins to become routine, preventing teachers needing to hassle. We find blogs extremely popular with students because it's a style and language they are used to.
Below are some examples of how schools are using the personal blog.
Use the blog's automatic chronological ordering to write and keep track of your portfolio. This might be especially relevant for International Baccalaureate students.
Teachers can comment on the work as it's produced. It's easy to review, edit and monitor progress. Firefly's simple drag-and-drop menu organisation means you can retitle and reorder very easily.
For lecture-style notes, or personal reference within a lesson, the blog is a great way to keep things neat and organised, with minimal effort. Simply open the dashboard and type away. The post will automatically use the date of your lesson to organise your notes. You can also add a title for ease of reference.
Self-assessment and reflection
Much like a journal, blogs lend themselves to recording personal impressions. Students can write short posts at the start of each day, or on a particular subject with which they have difficulty. Writing can help to work through ideas, especially for students with learning difficulties. The great thing about the Personal Blog is it keeps a record which is easy to access. Students can review ideas when it suits them. And, when reports need to be written or inspections made, evidence of self-assessment is simple to produce.
When drafting coursework, there's no more need for multiple word documents with confusing titles: coursework1, coursework2, coursework25... Each draft can be written in a new blog post and therefore easily tracked, retrieved and reviewed. Teachers can comment on each draft.