I know that I have said this before, but very few edubloggers out there have more practical experience than Barbara Ganley at Middlebury College. She’s back from an extended break with a post that talks about getting ready for her fifth year of using blogs in the classroom.
And so, here I am, back again, delighted to be a part of this evolution of blogs in our classrooms, convinced that we should take the time to help our students develop a grammar of and a practice of academic blogging, both individual and collaborative, then pretty much step out of the way except to ask questions and provide feedback (i.e. step out of the center of the blog and thus the classroom). Our students will surprise themselves by how much they accomplish even in a single course in a single semester. Imagine if all their courses, all their semesters, all their disciplines of study were connected via their blogging…
Barbara is definitely an inspiration, and she mentions a visit I made to Middlebury, must be three summers ago now to meet with her and Bryan Alexander, Sarah Lohnes, and Hector Vila. I think that was the first time that I had truly been in the company of bloggers, and the fact that it was at such a beautiful and well-respected educational setting just validated a lot of what I was feeling about blogs back then. If these guys were using them, there must be something to it.
And there definitely is. If you don’t believe me, believe Barbara, who is without question someone who has been a wonderful teacher of mine through her blog. If it’s not on your list of regular reads, it should be. I’m really looking forward to see what she has in store for her students this year.