How can school librarians use blogs? For polling.

I want to explore using a blog as a polling tool: to gather information from students and teachers about reading, research, and new media–what they read/use, why they like it, and what they would recommend to others. I would write a weekly question, such as What’s the best book you’ve read recently? What website(s) do you visit to get your news? What’s your favorite mobile app? Fun, simple weekly polls can be used to create/deepen relationships amongst students and adults at school, and the data from responses can be used for collection development and instructional ideas. Blogs would keep all of the responses organized in one spot and easily browsable for all visitors to the site. The polls would be categorized and archived.

What’s the best platform for polling? Undecided.

Using a library Facebook page would be easiest, because in my experience, most students and teachers already have Facebook accounts, and this means they could simply “like” my page and get my poll questions that way. They wouldn’t need to navigate to a separate website or blog to post (though this could mean increased traffic to my library site). Unfortunately, Facebook is blocked on Boston Public School computers, so they would have to participate outside of school time (or “illegally” via their smartphones). Twitter polls are a possibility too, though, like Facebook, comments are unmoderated. (With Facebook, comments can be removed. With Twitter, they can only be blocked as spam, and then the user is blocked forever . . .?)

For whole school participation, a blog would work better than a free PollEverywhere account, which limits its polls to 30 respondents (However, Poll Everywhere allows for anonymous comments, which means that sensitive or confidential questions can be asked. Anonymity is not possible on blogs, Facebook, or Twitter, unless people create an anonymous profile.)

Blogs that allow video comments are helpful for students who have writing disabilities or express themselves more effectively through speaking (Edublogs allows video comments in its Pro package; WordPress does not offer this feature).

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4 responses to “How can school librarians use blogs? For polling.

  1. Susanna,
    I like your ideas about using blogs for polling. That is a great way to encourage participation and dialogue, while getting useful information from your patrons. I think thats an interesting way to touch base with your students and the teachers and get to know their interests and likes better. A great use of blogs in school libraries.

    • Thanks, Lynn 🙂 I am thinking that at the end of each weekly poll, I could make a Top Ten list of the results and post them in the library. I think this would be fun for students and staff, and potentially VERY informative as an ongoing informal assessment tool.

  2. Thanks for posting to my blog. I don’t have the inside info in the district being able to remove the page from Facebook. I’m waiting for a friend to tell me. I hate rumors so I trust this person. The Super., I think has connections. I didn’t see the page, but I heard that it was bad. When I originally heard about it I thought what right does he have. Our personal freedoms, I don’t know. But if it was done on school property with school equipment that is another story. I don’t think the school district allows Facebook. Then I asked myself what if they did it on a Smartphone on school time. I’m not sure. If I find anything out I will let you know.

    Answer to your question
    I don’t think I would get parent permission if the parents signed a technology release, which I know most schools do that. I would post something on my website letting the parents know what type of project we were working on.

    • Hi Angelic,

      Thanks for looking in to the policy 🙂 Regardless of what the details are, students should be made carefully aware that these policies may bring real consequences if certain behaviors are carried out on Facebook on school equipment or during school hours/a school field trip. If I were a teen, I certainly wouldn’t make the connection that my activities on Facebook would be even remotely connected to school. If this policy is mentioned on a technology release or any other piece of paper in that packet of 100 papers parents must sign in September, clearly, more instruction nis needed! I’d say do role plays with all 9th graders on these policies in advisory/homeroom. What do you think?

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