Feb 17, 2011

Mind Bloggle-ing?

          Blogs are something that I now to tend to think of as educational, because the only times I am exposed to them is via education classes.  However, just yesterday my friend told me that before she goes to bed every night she reads her friend’s blog and that I should create one because my true passion revolves around writing. Low and behold I attempted to, which is why the name of this blog is what it is. Everything else seemed to be taken and I wanted to make one about beauty products and organic lines. Anyway, after literally ten minutes I just gave up on it, but luckily my site can be created into this blog.
The problem?  I do not want this to happen in my classroom, if and when I become a teacher.  I do not want the students to be excited for the first week, but then are so “over it”, because blogging bores them.  They need to not associate it with solely learning.
            I think that teachers should inform their students that Facebook and Twitter are essentially blogs and actually I should remind myself this as well. Richardson on page 17 of Blogs, Wikis, Podcasts defines blogs as being tools where people, students included, can “share resources and ideas with a Web audience that was willing to share back what they thought about those ideas.”  This is why members on Twitter follow certain people.  This also helps to explain why people join groups on sites like Facebook, which is to share common qualities.
            Students, particularly teenagers, would be excited in class if discussing things that they know and enjoy. For instance, on an educational site like the class blog, there can be a day for students to share either a blog they read on their own or one that they have created. (This of course needs to be pre-scanned by the teacher to check for inappropriate material).  It seems like fun has been taken out of the classroom, and computers or technology may just be the way to put it back in.
 I probably do most of my “research” (I use this term loosely) when searching product reviews and such, through other’s blogs. This is because real people are discussing real issues that I care about. Students’ feelings are no different.  In this course I have come to realize that we all easily can respond to one another, because our interest revolves around the classroom and we are pretty much all fresh off the student teaching slate.
            Another great thing as Richardson suggests on page 24 is the fact that the internet is an infinite collaborative space.  Blogs can be a great way to expose students to pictures and “interactive” tours of places that they have never been. For instance, when learning about the short story, “The Cask of Amontillado”, the students can find and upload photos of Venice, Italy.  The teacher can have the background of the blog set the scene, so visual learners have a way to remember the setting of the story.  This type of teaching is largely helpful for educating inclusive classrooms, which most schools have made the switch to.
            Mainly, overall in this class I have come to appreciate more the importance of computers.  This is my first online course, so it is really interesting to see how engaged everyone is without ever meeting in person. Communicating is so fast and effective now, because e-mails are sometimes quicker than phone calls.  Sites like Googledocs and of course blogs allow everybody to interact with each other, without ever really interacting. It is truly bind-blowing.

3 comments:

  1. I know what you mean about not wanting students to get bored with blogging or any other type of technology. I too have in the past tried to have a blog on my own, and after one or two posts got bored with it. It wasn't until I had to do it while I was in South Africa that I really got anything out of it. I think for me a big reason why I was able to stick with it was because I had a lot to talk about, I knew that the blog needed to be about what was happening on the trip and I knew I had to do it for a class. I think that having a clear goal for the blog really helped me. While I know that may not be true for all students sometimes having a clearly defined goal for something like this is important. I think if I could come up with a clearly defined goal for a personal blog I might be more likely to stick with it. Sometimes I think as teachers we have to do our best to make the work engaging for our students but that we also have to impress upon them the importance of getting things done even if they aren't always what we want to be doing. I think blogging can be a good way to bridge the two, because it can be a more "fun" and engaging way to interact with the information they need to know but may not really want to know.

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  2. I can definitely understand your concerns about using a blog in the classroom. As a teacher, you want your students to enjoy using blogs so that they can gain the most from the experience. Over the week, I have looked at a few examples of different classroom blogs that are used in elementary schools, and I noticed that the students really loved using them. One of the points to keep in mind is that the students should definitely write about topics that they feel interested in. Looking back on my own schooling, some of my best papers and essays were on topics that I felt strongly about. A blog should be no different. I think it would be difficult for elementary students to log on to a computer and participate in a blog that they had no interest in. Blogs should be used to motivate students and foster collaboration. They can be an effective forum for discussions when students are engaged and taking the initiative to participate.

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  3. You all make good points! Students will write more freely and naturally about topics that interest them--even if there is a way to link a required reading to their personal interests/life.

    Mary

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