David Huffaker has published a really nice piece on Weblogs in the classroom at FirstMonday titled “The Educated Blogger: Using Weblogs to Promote Literacy in the Classroom.” David’s study at Georgetown was also featured in a BBC.com article a couple of days ago. Here are a couple excerpts:
Blogs represent a perfect medium for literacy. Authors must read and write as they would on paper, while increasing their comfort with computers and the Internet. Because blogs do not require exceptional technical skills, but still offer the opportunity to “tinker” using Web programming languages for customization, blogs remain equitable for all age groups and both genders, and still provide a medium for learning programmatic skills.
While it’s not the literacy that I’m most interested in when it comes to blogs, there’s no doubt that they can be a good way to learn many of the technical skills that go along with the Internet.
The characteristics of weblogs such as the personal space it provides and the linkages with an online community create an excellent computer–mediated communication context for individual expressions and collaborative interactions in the form of storytelling and dialogue. Ease–of–use and anytime–anywhere access make blogs an excellent tool for educators. It’s easy for bloggers to understand and easy for teachers to implement. It offers an environment where learning is not limited to the classroom; authors can access their blogs when an Internet connection is available. Finally, it’s fungible across disciplines — it can be advantageous in the science class as it is in the creative writing class.
To be honest, the storytelling angle is not one that I’ve thought much about, but it certainly has potential, and he does a good job of exploring that in some detail.
I am from China,i am a graduate student,i am studying blog in education,i am preparing my thesis .
If u can give me some suggestions , i will be very happy.
I want to know the actual state of useing blog in education.
waiting for ur email
John Carlson says
While I have been familiar with blogs for sometime, I have only recently been exposed to the educational applications of the technology ( by Will and Kevin ). I hadn’t thought of using the blog to tell a story, though I had thought of using it to provide small bits of information over a long period of time. As a method of introducing writing prompts it seems ideal: Not are only students provided a comfortable medium in which to respond, but their responses are not isolated. They have an opportunity to reflect on peer responses to the sametopic as they write, as well as act as peer editors/reviewers.
As an intermediate level teacher, I see this also as a way to thematically group texts, related information, and tasks, much in the same way that many teachers use centers. It also provides me an easy method of linking related materials on a number of levels, thus facilitating differentiated instruction. It even allows for some self-selection by the students of just how far they push themselves.