It’s not an avalanche by any means, but more and more I’m coming across articles and posts that are starting to make tentative steps toward answering the “big” questions about blogging and education. As much as I write about the tipping point, I think we’re still a ways off from widespread adoption of Web logs in schools. (There does seem, however, to be more and more beleivers every day.) But another indicator of the seriousness of this movement will surely be the hard research that individuals or groups begin to undertake in order to provide the data that everyone craves these days as to just what effect thoughtful use of Web logs have on writing and thinking and learning. I’m starting to think that data is not too far off.
Personally, I’m past the point of arguing for Web logs as effective tools for communication, collaboration, classroom management, and content management. I think those are all plainly evident strengths of the technology, especially programs like Manila. And Anne and I and others have some pretty revealing responses from students concerning their own self-evaluation of their blogging activities. Needless to say, the vast majority of those responses are very positive. But while that is all well and good, we need some real study to clarify just what effects Web logs have on learning.
This is an area that is fertile for teacher research, and I’m thinking seriously about posing just such a question when I get back in the classroom next month. I’m wondering if anyone else might want to talk further about some preliminary ways we can begin to measure the effects of Web logs as, at some point, those results will hopefully provide even more evidence of the potential many of us believe this technology has.