As an English teacher who has focused on writing for 20 years in the classroom, there’s no doubt that what first got me interested in Web logs was their obvious effect on the process of writing instruction; instant audience, true collaborative space, archived drafting for easy reflection, and more. This digital paper that Pat has spoken of for the past couple of years represents an incredible step forward in what teachers and students can do in the classroom (provided, of course, they have access to it.) I may have blinders on here, but I really believe that in five years if not less, many schools will be providing Web logs to students as vehicles to create some amazing electronic portfolios of work that involve all disciplines, many mediums, and many audiences. I’ve mentioned often my vision for Web logs here at my school, one that I think we are moving toward making a reality as each day passes (though change is not swift.) But nowhere is it the potential bigger than in teaching writing simply because of the obvious nature of the technology.
The Times writes about web publishing as a means to motivate students to write, but misses the boat on the use of weblog technology to support the process.
I agree. The article mentions Web logs as Wikis as something students do after school, but all of the three or four disparate technologies mentioned in the article (e-mail exchanges, online publishing, mentoring, etc.) can be achieved through this one technology. Even better, teachers can do even more in terms of discussions and feedback and publishing, depending on what software they choose. I’m convinced that in due time Web logs will get their notice. But I have to admit it’s kinda fun playing with this before too many other kids get in the sandbox.
Still, Web logs and students mentioned in TWO different articles in the New York Times on the same day? What could it mean????
UPDATE: Just got the latest Technology and Learning magazine, and guess what? A whole page for “Education Web Logs”. I feel faint.
UPDATE #2 Just noticed a third NYT article connecting schools and Web logs:
And, although the trend toward teachers’ Web sites is still in its infancy, it is already being chased by its logical successor, the Weblog. Unlike Web pages, blogs can easily be updated without rebuilding the whole page, and teachers can structure them so that students or parents and other outsiders have free rein to create their own content on all or part of the blog.