Over the last week or so I’ve come across a few new edbloggers who are writing, thinking and doing in ways that have pushed my own thinking…which is the best part of the Read/Write Web, the finding new teachers part.
First off is Konrad Glogowski who is writing the “Blog of Proximal Development.” He is a writing and media teacher in Ontario, I believe, and he’s been blogging since February but has already covered some pretty heady ground with his students. I like his first post:
I wanted my first entry to be about the practice of blogging in my classroom. I looked at some of my class logs and found an interesting comment:
January 27, 2005. It is now 11:40am, I am sitting at my desk and the students are working hard on their blogs. All I hear is the gentle clicking of the keyboards. No talking at all. They seem to be totally engaged and focused on writing. All I hear is typing. I am wondering if this kind of intense engagement is good and whether it will last. Is it good that they are so engaged? Should there be more collaboration? Some of them occasionally come up and ask questions about their work. They want me to see if their work is “good.”
On comments, Konrad writes:
In an electronic blogging community, these “pencil-scratches,” to use Poe’s words again, acquire a truly communicative function. In an electronic community of writers we never talk “only to ourselves.” Instead, our marginalia, our comments and trackbacks, are given a new function which enhances not just our own experience of interacting with a text but also affects the experience of the writer with whose text we interact. The margins where we “attach” our electronic marginalia belong to somebody else. Our notes are no longer written only to ourselves. As soon as they are finished, they become part of the learning landscape. The reader and the author become electronically linked, and the link itself, one can argue, can be just as helpful to the author as it is to the reader.
He also writes a lot about community and the changing role of the teacher:
In order to be truly effective, blogging needs to be used as technology to support students in an active process of co-constructing knowledge. This requires that we look at curriculum as facilitators interested in guiding students rather than spoonfeeding them. We have to enter their conversation not as superior evaluators but as guiding and contributing voices, as co-investigators.
Good stuff, and I urge you to carve out a few minutes to sift through it and add him to your aggregator.
I also have been introduced to Susan Sedro from Malaysia who has started the “Adventures in Educational Blogging” site. She and a few of her colleagues have brought blogs to their students, and she’s giving us all a chance to watch what happens.
I am finding that the pieces are so genuine that it is easy to respond to the content; natural questions arise as I read and we discuss them. Those discussions are often leading to revisions by the students, but it feels different from other writing conferences. My perception is that the students are making the changes because they truly want to communicate with their readers, are caring to be understood. They are not revising merely because it will give them a hirer score or because they think it is required. If these blogs accomplish nothing more than this, I consider them a success.
And today she writes that things are heating up:
Friday was a day of intense blog activity. As is typical with any class, the longer an activity runs, the more spread out the students become in terms of project completion. We now have some students publishing their third post and some students who are not yet done with their first. They all want to conference, are all in our faces saying, “Please check mine so I can publish.”
I can’t tell you how much fun it is to see these types of sites springing up. I’m sure there are many more…my classroom/teacher blog list is up to 130 which I know isn’t even scraping the surface. It’s pretty inspiring…