QuadBlogging: Creating Social Networks for Your Classes

I asked David Mitchell to write a bit about QuadBlogging. I see this as the necessary next step in student commenting. Students need to find others who share their interests and passions and I believe this to be the best way to introduce them to other students.

QuadBlogging was born in November 2010 whilst visiting a school in Blackpool in the NW of England. After some months of very successful blogging Hawes Side Primary School were not getting the numbers of hits and comments that Heathfield Primary School were getting even though their blogs were just as fantastic. It was during the evening that day when I reaslised how schools and classes could help each other, it was so simple.
Four classes on a four week cycle. Each week a different class would have the other three classes focussing on their blog. I set up the first Quad which included:

Heathfield Primary School (http://heathfieldcps.net)
Green Lane Primary School (http://greenparkschool.org.uk/)
Ferry Lane Primary School (http://ferrylane.net)
Hawes Side Primary School (http://hawes-side.net)
The first three school in that list were already very established blogging schools all helping to give Hawes Side Primary School an audience boost.
As word got around Twitter, other schools wanted to see if they could join. Within a couple of months, I had around 100 classes signed up to 25 Quads. This was however, taking up many hours of admin time late into the night so despite knowing that there was a demand for support for class blogs, changes had to be made.
QuadBlogging 'The Relaunch' kicked off in September 2011. The changes I made although subtle allowed the project to grow even further. Currently, there are roughly 350 classes involved in 15 countries, that's over 10,000 pupils! What is even better is that QuadBlogging has room to grow due to the fact that each Quad has a Co-ordinator who arranges the dates for the cycle to begin and which classes will be visiting which class. What is also an added benefit of having so many classes on the database, when signing your class up, you can specify where in the world you would like your Quad members to be from. It isn't always possible to tick all the boxes but I have tried to ensure most requests are matched.
So, do you want a wider audience for your class blog? It's free, quick and you're not too late:
David Mitchell
Acting Headteacher
Google Certified Teacher
NAACE ICT Impact Award Winner 2011
Microsoft Innovative Teacher Award National Winner 2010
Toshiba ICT Redesign Award Winner 2010
HeathfieldCPS
Bolton
UK


Here are some testimonials from 2010:

QuadBlogging 2010 – 2011 was a huge success!
“Collaboration amongst learners is something that we strive to achieve in our classrooms and quadblogging has helped me to achieve this in a way I could never dream possible.  The children are enthused and excited by their blogging buddies from around the world and their learning is no longer confined to the four walls of the classroom or indeed by me as their class teacher.  The children are so motivated by the comments from other teachers and children and these motivates children to blog even more, comment more and therefore learn even more about so much more than is in my planning.  Engagement and motivation is raised as children become the teachers and not just learners, teaching others about their cultures, religions and school life.  The key to a successful blog is of course the audience and this is where quadblogging has the biggest impact for our blog.  It helps to build up those wonderful learning collaborations, as well as help to increase the audience for our blog and for the rest of our schools fledgling blogs.  The children love visiting a school a week and this helps to further inspire them when it is their turn in the blogging cycle, giving them a chance to show off to their new ‘friends from around the world’.  The children continue to visit each other’s blog long after the cycle has finished once again showing that quadblogging is a powerful tool in the development and continuation of our blog.  We have a saying in my classroom ‘Neurons that work together, fire together’ and with quadblogging we are certainly able to get those neurons firing.”
Cherise Duxbury
High Lawn Primary School



“My class blog was the only blog at my school and so getting it off the ground seemed like a bit of a challenge! Quadblogging not only connected us with three schools and got us some much appreciated visitors, but two of them were from other counties. Getting regular visitors from children in the US and New Zealand, as well as the UK, blew my class’ mind! As a bonus, I also made good connections with the other three class teachers through Twitter. The four classes went on to collaborate in a story writing project too… all thanks to quadblogging. ”
Claire Lotriet
Kensington Avenue Primary



“Viewing different blogs, commenting on others and receiving comments from other countries.  Rotation of visiting blogs was very successful.  Developing continued links.  Experience for new bloggers to develop confidence to comment.  Students checked blog more often.  Greater global audience was awesome.  Identifying differences and similarities in schools, practices, culture, identities.  Great to establish relationship and followup with skyping (we haven’t managed it yet but plan to soon).  Global audience to send class mascot for extended learning.  Awesome experience and we would love to be involved again.”
Anne Kenneally
St Mary’s School, Mosgiel

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