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,

    Thanks for telling me about Library 2.1 blog – I’ve added it to my Google Reader so that I can check out their daily tasks.


    After suffering similar frustrations trying to link to photos I’ve learnt sometimes it is better to just upload to your blog. Good news your comment avatar is working.

  2. @Susana Welcome to the challenge! You generally just comment on posts that inspire a response from you, so that we arent commenting just for the heck of it. Im sure you will have plenty to share. Do you work in education in Argentina?

  3. Thanks Sue – I got it working after following your suggestion of adding a photo to the blog, and copying the url form there. I dont see why it should make any difference, but its working now. Go figure. Next challenge is trying to get my comment avatar working…. It just wont appear.

  4. Suz01,

    I sent you an email to explain how to do this but now not sure whether you managed to get it sorted. Can you tell me how it went?


    I love the 23 Things program. Haven’t they ended it to another 23 things?


    Happy for you to jump on board if you want. You can complete the tasks in your own time.


    You don’t have to promise a comment a day. You don’t even have to promise to finish a task a day. You do it when you can and I’m sure you will have ideas about topics.

    Greetings from Perth Western Australia,

  5. It sound funny. I can’t promise a comment a day, but I’ll try.
    What happens if I don’t have an idea about a topic??

    A hug from Argentina

  6. Thanks Sue. I wanted to put my new International Edublogger badge up, and now the 31 day comment challenge one. And probably my edublogger Ning one too…When Im in my widget view, the link widget, which Ive just discovered is how you can include images, doesnt have an edit feature. Im assuming thats because of the template I am using. What I cant figure out, is how to find out what each template offers before you choose?

  7. @Cristina Welcome to the Challenge and I’ve been enjoying reading the comments you have left on the participants posts. It’s been great to see how much you love commenting and it has been very encouraging for participants.

    @Mary Are you talking about the 23 Things program? That’s an excellent program. I hope the challenge helps you and makes you feel like you want to comment. Like you I hope this helps others take the next step into the Web 2.0 World.

    @suz01 Always happy to go off topic. Really interested to know which badges you would like to add to your edulbogs blog so I can check it out.

    @butwait Welcome to the Challenge! Glad you’ve decided to join us. Make sure you add your name to the wiki and tag (label) all your posts with comment08.

    @Cory (mrplough07) Sorry about the timing – the problem is we all have different school years. We are going to make sure the tasks aren’t too much so maybe you will be presently surprised. If you add comment08 to any posts you write we will pick it up in the feed.

    @Concetta Can I suggest you add your details to the Students page of the Comment Challenge Wiki? And add those explanations? Thats a great idea to have an in class challenge to encourage the students.

    @abin yes and thanks for your comment 🙂

    @Kim (mscofino) Definitely combining several tasks and do in one day takes pressure off you and makes it easier to fit into a busy life style.

  8. Thanks so much for the idea of posting reflections for a whole week in one post – with my move this weekend and the craziness at work, that is exactly the kind of thing I needed to hear! You’re always thinking, Sue!

  9. Great idea. We’re a primary school class just starting with our own blog. It’s hard to find reasons to read other classblogs in class time because they’re not always working on similar material.

    Any other primary schools doing social skills, first fleet, refugees, Charlotte’s Web or Onion Tears we would definitely be keen to swap discussion.

    If nothing else I think we will implement something in the classroom and get give a special prize to the three best classroom participants.

  10. Sounds fun but wish it wasn’t the last month of school and head over heels deep in work. I will tag all my comments through Cocomment just to participate but cant promise can do a challenge a day. I’m stoked you all are doing this though 🙂

  11. Great, I’m raring to go. Somewhat off topic, I need to work out how to put these lovely badges on my edublog – can’t for the life of me find a suitable widget, it’s just not working….

  12. I am a reluctant commenter most of the time, so I hope this challenge will help me in this area. The blogging about my learning aspect reminds me of an initiative for learning web 2.0 tools that has been going around the library world, called Learning 2.0 . Since that original program launched, public and school libraries around the country have been developing programs of their own to encourage staff to learn new technologies. This challenge is a great next step for those just entering the Web 2.0 world!

  13. How could i not join?
    I am a compulsive commenter!
    And I couldn’t agree more with th idea of recording our learning journey. That is what I try to do in my blog(s).

    thanks for the great challenge. And Happy Labor Day!

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