So one of the frustrations I’ve felt with my own practice with student Weblogs and the like is the veritable dearth of students who continue to blog after the class is over. I’ve always felt that for these tools to really become as powerful as they can be, they need to be integrated over the long haul, not simply used in nine or 18 week chunks for one specific class or another. Don’t get me wrong, that’s a start. And if all the hulabaloo over the blog banning story has shown one thing, it’s that we need any and every opportunity to model a thoughtful use of blogs in the classroom.
Chris Lott has been thinking about these issues as well and has a very important post about them here.
The problem is that it takes more than one class/quarter/semester to start becoming a proficient denizen of the socially networked community. One-off uses are not enough—just when students are starting to make the connections themselves, and just when they are starting to have their own personal “AHA!” moments, the plug gets pulled and they may not encounter such an educational environment again for another term or two (or ever).
It’s so true. And his thoughts on how to ameliorate this issue by incorporating blogging as a part of a richer, portfolio type tool is right on as well. Blogging in isolation is good. Blogging as a part of a more expansive, more integrated environment that brings all the pieces of learning together in one place is much better.
Marco Polo says
So one of the frustrations I’ve felt with my own practice with student Weblogs and the like is the veritable dearth of students who continue to blog after the class is over.
Isn’t that also true of any other class/subject? This touches on something I’ve been thinking and blogging about quite a bit recently: why do students seem more interested in grades and passing/failing than in really learning something? It’s a pleading question from so many educators. Yet isn’t the answer all too simple? As pointed out by John Holt (and probably many others, too), students learn the game of school: the game of school is to get good grades/credits, to NOT fail, to not make mistakes, to get good scores on tests, quizzes, exams, etc. It’s not about learning, never was. Once children learn this (and in Holt’s observations, they learned this pretty early in elementary school), it’s very hard, almost impossible, to wean them off this diet (John Holt gave up!).
The problem is that it takes more than one class/quarter/semester to start becoming a proficient denizen of the socially networked community.
Yeah, but it takes more than one class, whatever, of ANYTHING to start becoming proficient in ANYTHING – maths, foreign languages, engineering… And again, if the rules of the game are still in place, not much is going to change. (see here and here for some of my ramblings on this theme)
Tom McHale says
I’ve been running into some of the same problems in trying to get more students (and parents)involved in what is happening in class through a weblog. Although I’ve had a few students participate regularly, even these students admit that we probably won’t get others without offering some kind of credit. It is frustrating, and I’m trying to find other means to make it worthwhile for students to stop by the site and perhaps contribute. It probably is a losing battle and I understand why, but I’m not ready to throw in the towel yet.
Making blogging a more expansive part of the school experience would certainly help, but it wouldn’t separate it from this process. It would just be a different form of “homework” to many kids.