Thinking Out Loud about ICT: tools for reflection

  1. provide students with tools to help them to reflect upon their own learning

I want the students coming to my department to be aware of themselves as learners, and to be active participants in their own learning processes.  Of course every student is actively involved in their own learning - no learning would take place otherwise - but I want them all to be able to take a step back from themselves and reflect upon their own progress.  Making this reflection regular, manageable and meaningful is a challenge!  We don't have 1-1 computing devices in class, so if we are going to use ICT we are largely going to have to use the students' devices in the students' time (until enough of them have smart phones!).


Moodle offers a plethora of tools that might help here:  Class wikis, glossaries, journals, forums... the list goes on.


Wikis and blogs are in Glow now aren't they?  Or they will be soon.

Google Apps

Google Apps include forms and shared documents.  I guess they could be used somehow.

Edubuzz blogs

I've used scribe post blogs in the past. They can be very effective, but are really reflections upon the group experience rather than personal self assessment.  Blogs can be made private, so we could have individual scribe post blogs.  Unmanageable perhaps?

The desktop

Students could write up learning logs as word processing documents, stored on the server.  Not appealing!  We don't have 1-1 in class, so impractical.  They could do the same at home.  How would they share these reflections with me?

Ad-hoc tools

Wallwisher could be very effective for group reflections. Can anyone suggest other tools that would work?

Non-ICT solutions

One solution would be to have 5 minutes at the end of each lesson for students to write up learning logs by hand.  This is simple, manageable and accessible for all students.  But the activity could quickly become perfunctory.

I don't really seem to have resolved anything here.  Moodle and pencil-and-paper seem to be the front runners.  I'd be most grateful if you could help to clarify my ponderings!


  1. I've been pondering this one myself. I keep coming back to two ideas, either discussion forums in Moodle, or getting the students to keep a blog either the Moodle one (although I'm no big fan) or maybe even WordPress.

    When I've done this in the past, it hasn't always worked that well, and I think it's because I didn't get the purpose right. Some pieces of work got posted to their blogs, but there wasn't a strong enough rationale behind which pieces ended up there and which didn't and we didn't use them enough to become a habit.

    My current thinking is that each student would have a blog (the alternative is a class blog and each student gets a category) and a standing homework would be a weekly post, perhaps on one of half a dozen questions that they could choose from. What did you learn this week? What most surprised you this week? What have you (or would you) share from this week with someone you were stuck in the kitchen at a party with? Maybe not that one, but you get the idea.

    I'd make it part of my marking routine to comment on each one as a starting point, and maybe then add a second standing homework that they have to comment on one other blog (not sure about this second one)

    Still a few issues that need ironing out, not least the platform to use, but it's definitely the direction I'm thinking of maybe going in!

    Looking forward to the rest of these posts. :0)

  2. I think you are spot on when you talk about purpose. It seems to me that if the students are really on board with the process of reflection, then they can pretty much choose whatever tool they want. If they are not on board, then no tool will work. The challenge is to get them on board!


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