Thursday, March 3, 2011

Why students should be blogging

Blogging has the potential to reach and influence many. Furthermore, it has greater potential for being a life-long skill. And isn’t that our goal in education? People from all walks and professions blog for the purpose of teaching, creating, and informing. And in the masters courses I’ve taken, so far, I haven’t written a paper, but both have required blogs. Why? Because blogging is the new persuasive essay.

If we’re trying to prepare our students to think critically and argue well, they need to be able to blog. It allows for interaction. It allows for ideas to be tested. And the best posts tend to have a point that can be argued.

I think blogging across the curriculum, not just in Language Arts, allows for both formative and summative assessment. Blogs allow us to see the progression in the development of both thinking and writing. It may actually take more talent to create an interesting, persuasive post on the French Revolution, than a traditional essay.

Shelley Wright, in her blog Wright's Room, arguing that Blogging is the New Persuasive Essay.

When the DET in NSW released its blogging platform BlogEd last year, I took the time to play and learn and then to do a presentation at a staff meeting.  I'm not sure that many of my colleagues took up blogging with their classes, and for many, it was probably because they saw it as another extra looking for space and time in an already full teaching program.

The angle of this blog entry is one that could help some of them review their approach, and hopefully integrate blogging into that already full teaching program as an alternative teaching strategy rather than an extra.  I would guess that this is a common problem with new ideas/sites/platforms/programs/technology; unless a teacher tries it, or until a teacher sees its value in their classroom, it will likely be seen as an extra, with lower priority than the sheer busy dailiness of the classroom and its demands.  It's an ongoing challenge to create the bridges/find ways to change this perspective.

One of the roles of the teacher librarian is to be a learner and teacher in relation to new technologies, and I am regularly consulted on technology matters by colleagues.  One important aspect is being a user-friendly resource - I sometimes get the questions people are concerned may seem 'stupid'; they know I'll answer without judgement and will help.  Me, I'm well aware that I am as much if not more a learner, so that's part of what drives my user-friendly, non-judgemental approach.  I'll add this article to the staff blog I write for my colleagues (another avenue to share information and ideas).



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