Friday 2 March 2012

The Big Book Review

We recently ran a book blogging competition at my school, using My Big Campus (an online environment offered by Lightspeed Systems) which offers blogging facilities, chat, groups, messaging, assignment setting and which has been in use here for about a year now and has come to replace our VLE.  The initial premise was to encourage students to read, but report on their favourite (or not so favourite reads) using Web 2.0 technology which is a big focus across the school.  All students at Key Stage 3 and 4 were made members of the Big Book review which meant that everytime additions were made to the blogs or discussions and responses made, EVERY student in the school received an email alert making it a truly whole school venture. The prize was a massive £150 cash, donated by the Principal, with the idea that we wanted a big impact! with six highly commendeds receiving book vouchers.  The winner was judged on the following:
  1. The quality of the blog content
  2. The discussions are open to other My Big Campus members around the world and the number of positive comments each discussion receives will be taken into consideration
  3. Grammar and punctuation
All entrants had to submit a minimum of three blog entries, but these could be all based on the same book, but focusing on different chapters for instance as as the last thing we wanted was to put off those students who may read at a slower pace.  The competition was launched on 23rd January with the winner being announced yesterday, World Book Day.  To add a national and international feel, our Learning Technology Manager promoted the Big Book Review as part of the Lightspeed stand at Bett 2012, encouraging other school users of My Big Campus in Britain and the USA to also comment and exchange views on the book blogs as well.

Improving literacy and promoting whole school reading is a continuous process here at the school, but one which can now be combined with our other focus, that of engaging students' learning using Web 2.0.  We plan to run another Big Book Review, offering separate cash prizes at Key Stage 3, 4 and 5.  I am so proud of all students who participated; not only those who actually blogged, but to all those who posted discussions and responses to the original blogs as well. 

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