Kaye Trammell co-authored this article in THE Journal about using Weblogs in education, and it does a pretty good job of grounding the use of Weblogs in educational theory. (Yes, we’re at the point, thank god, where the words Weblog and Vygotsky come in the same paragraph!) A couple of quotes:
In this day and age of constructivist pedagogy – focusing on the students’ meaning making – using technology to deliver content should also be seen as using technology to help students create content. Blogs allow students to take ownership of their learning and publish authentic artifacts containing their thoughts and understandings. Blogs also provide a way for students to individualize their content; thus, help us rethink using technology to deliver content.
The use of blogs increases student interest and ownership in learning. Technology has been cited as a motivating tool because of its newness. Blogs are novel to students not only because they are a newer technology, but also because students are blogging about topics that are important to them. Students direct their own learning while receiving input and feedback from others. They also take ownership of their learning in the blogging activities by actively searching for information.
While I think this is a pretty good description of the potential benefits of Weblogs and blogging for students, I can’t help feeling that it’s different for the K-12 world in terms of what they can and can’t do from personal writing standpoint. I had a lengthy meeting with my superintendent yesterday that I’m letting settle before I write about it, but it’s obvious that there are real concerns about the content students produce in terms of appropriateness and the way it reflects on the school.