(Cross posted to ETI) So I think we can safely say that thousands of teachers are now using blogs in their classrooms. As Tom points out, most have started at the digital organizer stage, the easy to update class portal model with, in some cases, the ability for students to comment and discuss topics of the day. Some have gotten to the point where they’re letting students create content in their own spaces in an e-portfolio type of way. And let me just say, in response to Tom’s little jab, that blogs can fit a whole bunch of different pedagogical aims, all of which, if they work well, would earn a “seal of approval.”
But, I also have to take the bait. (Can’t help myself.) Because Tom should have titled his post “Using Blogs in the Classroom” instead of turning the noun into a verb. (In fact, I find it really interesting how he substitutes the verb for the noun throughout his post.) All cost/benefit analysis aside, blogs can be a tool for learning, not just communicating and storing work. But the learning comes from the blogging, the sustained reflective, hypertextual, critical writing about meaningful topics for an audience. The fact that hardly anyone, journalists or educators alike (especially blogging educators,) rarely acknowledge that distinction is really a shame, I think, because it doesn’t highlight the potential of the tool for those who may not know about it. When all they read about is schools blocking and banning blogs without learning about the real upside that might make them worth it, it’s no wonder all they see is hassle.
So, even though he didn’t mean it the way he wrote it, I agree with Tom that right now “blogging isn’t going anywhere.” And that’s too bad.
Tom Hoffman says
Cross-commented: You can do sustained reflective, hypertextual, critical writing about meaningful topics without blogs. In fact, substitute “intertextual” for “hypertextual,” and you don’t need computers at all. If you’re a good English teacher, your students are already doing this kind of writing, and blogs provide an exciting new authentic genre for this work, and easier access to an audience. If you don’t know how to construct your pedagogy to generate this kind of student work, just turning on blogs is not going to solve the problem.