Commenting, Learning Together & The Comment Challenge!

Always a tricky one when you’ve been busy “doing stuff”. Do you confess? Or hide the evidence? Mmmm probably should be responsible and come clean 🙂 .

I’ve been thinking a lot about the importance of commenting on blogs because it’s a crucial aspect of blogging conversations for achieving the greatest learning. Trouble is factors often limit people’s commenting practices so they don’t experience this learning and fail to appreciate it’s value. I, and others, felt strongly that we needed to do more to engage others, especially new people, in commenting.

Comment Challenge Working hard with Kim Cofino, Michele Martin and Silvia Tolisano we’ve created a 31 Day Comment Challenge for May. Aim is to spend a month of focused commenting for us all to become better blog citizens (thanks to Martin Weller for the phrasing ) by actively participating in conversations and sharing our learning, especially with those new to blogging.

And thanks to Christine Martell of VisualsSpeak for the awesome logo for using with our posts!

Joining The 31 Day Comment Challenge

Anyone can join us — educators, school students, non-profit bloggers, corporate bloggers etc. In fact the best part of the challenge is you don’t have to be a blogger! Just add your name to the Comment Challenge Wiki (or if unsure how to add your name leave a comment on this post and I will add for you).

Now if you’re thinking “I’m not sure if I ready for the Comment Challenge” make sure you read Silvia’s excellent Are You Up for it? post on why it’s important for your personal learning that you join us! If you’ve never added a comment to a blog post read Silvia’s How to Comment post.

sponsors.jpgThere will be prizes and awards involved. Cocomment and Edublogs have been incredibly generous by donating prizes (total value US$400 and $200 Edublogs credits). Plus the wonderful Scott McLeod has also shared his fantastic Comment Award blog badge for all of the winners of this competition. Kim’s Prizes & Awards post explains our reasons for using prizes.

The four categories will be:

  1. The most comments on a wide range of blogs (not just the “top” edubloggers)
  2. The most high quality comments that thoughtfully reflect on the topic
  3. The comments that provoke and promote the most learning
  4. Category for students only — to be advised

Involving Our Students

The Comment Challenge is a great idea for your classroom too! If you’d like to participate with your class, please add your details to the Comment Challenge for Student Groups page.

Students are eligible to win in all four categories and their teachers will submit their pick of their own students for each category. Student finalists will be judged next to all the adults. Once a student category has been formulated, the participating teachers can judge among their students at the end of the 31 days.

What’s Involved

The concept behind the 31 Day Comment Challenge is similar to the 31 Days To Build a Better Blog Project I did with Michele Martin last year. We’ll have daily tasks that need to completed and we’ll be encouraging community members to network with each other while completing these tasks.

The community aspect of the challenge is very important and we’ll be working hard to encourage interaction between participants. We learned from the 31 Day Blogging Project, while working together in a community of 14 global participants (including a group of school kids) to improve our blogging skills, that knowledge gain was greater than working as individuals, because each individual sees a different perspective of the task – giving participants greater “food for thought!”

Each day of our Comment Challenge Michele will post a daily task on her blog which we need to complete (you will also find them on the activities page of the wiki). Don’t stress — we’ll make sure the tasks aren’t too hard but do challenge our thinking, writing and will aid in the process of becoming better commenters.

Remember both Michele and I’ve done a similar Project plus Kim Cofino and Silvia Tolisano have both been involved with global projects so we all collectively have the expertise to make this an exciting challenge.

Documenting Your Learning Journey

Recording your reflections of what you are learning and getting others to share their views is an important aspect of these types of challenge. Members of the 31 Day Blogging Project documented their learning journey using a range of methods.

What worked for me, and for many of the others, was to write blog posts that combined the reflections of several days e.g combine 7 days of activity into one post (here’s an example 31 Days to Build a Better Blog–Days 15-19). This meant readers could provide their input easier. Alternatively you could document using other online tools such as a wiki.

I also wrote detailed posts when I learnt something I really didn’t know but gained as part of completing the tasks e.g. Why does technorati mock me? and Why Didn’t I install Google Analytics Sooner?

Have a good think about how and where you want to document your learning from the Comment Challenge — when you’ve decided please add it’s URL to the Comment Challenge Wiki alongside your name. Remember to tag your work comment08.

Join Us!

Hope you join us for 31 Day Comment Challenge!  Check out Kate Foy’s great video welcoming us all the the Challenge (Kate was part of the 31 Day Blogging Project last year.

And now it’s time to go across to Michele Martin’s blog to get started — Day One: Do a Comment Self Audit.

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35 thoughts on “Commenting, Learning Together & The Comment Challenge!

  1. @Mary Glad you found my blog interesting.

    @Concetta It’s good to hear the students joined in the Challenge — many of the classes who did the Challenge did do them internally. Sorry I haven’t come across any one writing reports but will keep an eye out. Did you end up awarding prizes to the 3 best commenters?

  2. Hi Sue

    Our kids (primary) participated in the challenge but it was very localised to the class itself, not so much a global audience. We did notice some students took to it really well and were at home watching TV and noticing things and then linking to the events from the ABC news site. It’s just amazing.

    I helped the classroom teacher write comments for this years reports in this area. I wrote about it hoping to get some feedback as to whether the types of comments I’ve given are appropriate.

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