Barbara and Anne are making me whistful about getting back in the classroom. (I spent about 30 minutes with a class yesterday getting them setup with Weblogs and I just didn’t want it to end…I’m definitely teaching at least one class next year no matter what.) I just love reading about what they’re experiencing with their students and this technology.
Barbara is reflecting on four years of using Weblogs with her students at Middlebury. That’s like 25 in blog years; in fact, she’s probably got just about as much practical experience with all of this as anyone out there. And it shows. This is just a great post that illustrates the power and flexibility of Weblogs, and it really inspires me to keep looking for more ways to integrate them at my school.
Watching these students take what they have learned in a single semester and apply it to their lives provides me with valuable feedback on why we should integrate technology into our classrooms carefully, thoughtfully, and meaningfully. If we show our students how these tools might work in their efforts to communicate their experiences, to connect with communities and to engage in complex intellectual and artistic endeavors, we can step back, out of the way, and watch them take over their education.
It’s that “complex intellectual endeavor” that I find most interesting, because that is what leads to real learning. I’ve been bemoaning the relative lack of complexity of Weblog uses in K-12, and I swear I get butterflies when I think about how cool it would be to get high school students (or younger) doing the kind of complex work that Barbara’s students are doing. And, like Barbara, we need to model that work for our kids. There is energy in this moment, and we really need to find more ways to take advantage of it.
Blogging has to be integrated into the course pedagogy…it is a new means of expression that must be used accordingly with the course goals in mind. In other words, what does linking and commenting and writing evolving, multi-media hypertexts in this virtual space do to the course goals, methods and structures?
Yeah…it is a new means of expression, more than a writing tool. And they are complex texts that can be in constant production, evolving over a long period of time. And that whole aspect of multi-media is something that she and Hector Vila are really getting me interested in.
Anne, meanwhile, is off on another most excellent blogging adventure with her kids. She’s embarking on a WebQuest with her Blooming Bloogers using Bloom’s Taxonomy (get it?)
Starting today, you are going to take charge of your learning. You will tell the story of what you are learning and what it means to you. You will decide what is worth knowing, You will satisfy your own burning curiosity. You will ask good questions about what you are learning. You will use Bloom’s Taxonomy to help you get to some really good thinking. Plan to knock your audience’s socks off! You are about to embark on an exciting journey. Stand-by! You are about to enter the wonderful world of weblogging!!!
It looks like a great project that is bound to break some more ground for us all. If you get a chance, let Anne know what you think as she’s looking for feedback.