To blog, or not to blog (in the classroom)
To blog, or not to blog: that is the question. The question of whether or not to use blogging (web log) as an educational instrument in the classroom is becoming a hot topic as teachers explore the possibilities that this tool can bring to learning. Since their advent in 1997, blogs have found their way into mainstream media and culture and as a result are now impacting teachers’ lesson plans all over the globe. The decision for a teacher to employ blogging in the classroom however; is not one that should be taken lightly because there are many considerations. Primary among those considerations is accessibility to technology. If the technology hurdle can be cleared, here’s some more food for thought.
Initially, blogs began simply as web diaries for individuals to catalog experiences and thoughts. Now however; as the phenomenon has grown blogs have become sources of entertainment, news, and even research resources. The growth of this medium begs a simple question, “How do we extend this new technology into our classrooms?” Thus far, blogs have been used various ways in the classroom ranging from replacing the teacher’s general web page and providing links to course content, to organizing class discussions, providing summaries from lectures or reading, or even for students to generate their own blog as a course assignment. One of the major attractions for teachers to using blogging is that its focus is not necessarily on the content of the blog but more on the process of constructing and evaluating knowledge helping us reach the sometimes illusive upper levels – analyzing, evaluating, and creating – of Bloom’s Taxonomy (more on Bloom’s Taxonomy).
There are many other benefits that blogs can bring to a classroom including:
· The use of hyperlinks will help students to better understand the relational, interconnectivity of knowledge
· Promoting interactivity potentially increasing relationships with classmates and teachers
· Students have the opportunity to become subject matter “experts” in their blogs
· Increased feelings of ownership of knowledge and learning
· Realistic, authentic ways to participate in learning
· Providing opportunities for more diverse perspectives
Tips for teachers considering blogging in the classroom:
· Blog yourself to understand not only the technical aspects of blogging but also the possibilities they present
· Visit other blogs
· Model blogging for your students (show them how, why, and examples of good and bad blogs)
· Make the blogs more public (invite “experts” and writers from outside the classroom to comment on student blogs for more authentic learning)
· Explain the irreversible nature of posting anything to the Internet (even if it is later edited or deleted)
Benefits that blogging can bring to the learning process are immense however; a teacher must be sure to be prepared for the rigors and challenges that this new technologically savvy element may introduce.
Other Links and Resources:
Ferdig, R.E. & Trammell, K.D. (2004). Content delivery in the blogosphere. T.H.E. Journal, 31(7), 12-20. Available online at: http://www.thejournal.com/articles/16626/
Goldstein, R. (2005). Educational Blogging. Retrieved March 26, 2009. http://connect.educause.edu/Library/EDUCAUSE+Review/EducationalBlogging/40493