A running compilation of why weblogs ideas from various sources…
“About a year ago, I asked my first year composition students whether they did much reading and writing outside of class. Most of them said, “No.” But when I asked them if they wrote emails, used AOL IM, and surfed the Internet, they almost unanimously said, “Yes.” To them, the Internet and other forms of electronic discourse were not associated with their concept of “reading and writing” in the school sort of way. I imagine that this difference might be because one is “fun” and the other is “work.” But regardless, I’ve come to feel that reading and writing the Web is a way for me to tap into a writing space that students already use–and more importantly, want to use.”
This is very important…we need to make them connect what they do for fun with writing and reading and learning. Weblogs can do that.
“Thus, weblog writing, which can be public writing, changes the dynamic of teaching rhetorical sensitivity.”
“If we hope to have students continue to write outside of our class, having students use Blogger or WebCrimson gives them complete ownership of the text. It’s not a classroom space. And when the class is over, students could still feel free to post to their blog.”
This is an interesting point. Should I show them antville and blogger so they can use them as personal spaces?
“Most students, as with many people, are passive participants on the Internet. They read, but they don’t write for the Web. Now, composing html pages and posting them to the web is technically difficult for the classroom when compared to signing up for a blog and posting text. It’s certainly not quite the same experience as making choices over page design, etc., but blog posting can make them active participants by having them join in existing conversations. And in many ways it’s more dynamic than creating html pages, since it’s much easier to continually add fresh content.”
I think this is one of the major appeals of weblogs.
“Quite frankly, I haven’t found the time investment required for creating websites (using html or a WYSIWYG editor, ftp-ing, etc.) worth what my students seem to get in return.”(Joe)
This is especially true now…why are we still teaching html?
From Terry Elliot:
“Creates what Pat Delaney calls a blank piece of digital paper for writing upon (and throwing away if need arises). Ownership and audience are the rhetoric buzzwords for this, but what a weblog amounts to is that blank piece of paper that allows the writer the freedom and the privacy to share thoughts safely.”
“Weblogs carry our intentions. They, like all good tools, work with human will and imagination to help us create. Like pieces of paper, weblogs are generally useful. Take a piece and write a sonnet, wrap a piece of fish in it, and then light a fire over it. , I think I gain from reflecting why that might be. A student can gain, too, if the weblog becomes a way of approaching any problem.”
From Jay Cross:
“What is the role of weblogs in education? It’s roles, plural.
From Laura Shefler:(A case study worth reading…) “The weblogs represent a body of work that has both academic and literary substance. In their weblogs, students exercise critical thinking, take creative risks, and make sophisticated use of language and design elements. In doing so, the students acquire skills that may be useful to them in both scholarly and professional contexts.” “Through successful practice rather than through theory, this project suggests the possibility that some of the work that students need to do in order to read well, respond critically, and write vigorously, might be accomplished under circumstances dramatically different from those found in schools.”
From Tech Learning:
“…a moderated discussion forum does have a positive effect on student writing abilities…Given that the entire class is involved in a discussion, all ability levels are working together. The most able students have a chance to share their knowledge and talk to each other while less able students are able to read these ideas and formulate their own ideas based on the additional wisdom of others. The level of performance for all students, not just the less able, will rise due to influence from more capable peers.”(See link for full article.)
From Pat in his comparison to BB:
- You can place your lessons, assignments, and announcements online; Ditto Manila.
- expand student access to relevant materials by incorporating links to your favorite related Web sites; Ditto Manila.
- enhance class interaction through online discussions and chats; This one is problematic, eh? BB’s discusssion board is very, very good. Firstly, it nests threads and messages in outline form, making browsing and finding easier. Student assignment to groups and to private sub-groups is done with a simple click on a class role list. The priority placement of threads can be changed by the instructor. What Manila calls ‘gems’ can be linked to any message. Agora (which is open source and free to download to a server and I think designed for compatibility for something like Manila) and SpeakEasy (Used to be free, but no longer. However VERY cheap – $2000 per year for a community, i.e. university or school district. See how a university developed tool can be made cheaply available.) are as good if not better than BB.
- facilitate idea sharing through online guest presentations; I think they’re talking about their white board and chat. Both cool, but pretty complicated used at its slideshow max. A simpler sort of chat tool would work better for K-12, something almost as simple as the Add a Comment item Manila already has. Certainly Quek would do very well. BTW, and a very important BTW, BB’s chat, like Manila’s WYSIWYG and Quek, does not work on Mac OS. (BB may have fixed that.)
- motivate and prepare your students for class by letting them complete online extra credit assignments; Ditto Manila and much more because the goal is really to get students publishing their own sites! (Axe handle analogy again.)
- maintain communication with absent students; Ditto Manila.
- challenge your students by placing quizzes and tests online; This is cool, kind of. I dread the web as a ditto master of on-line tests and assignments. Nevertheless, if you have 150+ AP English kids turning in essays digitally, a management system is necessary. And if I was a science teacher, I’d love to post quizzes with links to sites covering the material. As I remember it, creating a test was as easy as creating a survey on SurveySuite (again, a very cheap tool – $29.95 per year), which is to say very easy.
- get parents more involved by giving them access to their children’s assignments; Ditto Manila.
Weblogs are on-line sites used by communities drawn together for conversations about specific topics. Generally organized in chronological order, they offer information about meetings and assignments, forums for discussions and essays, and references to other sites and sources. They are particularly useful for First Year Seminars and writing intensive courses, affording students and writing teachers access to information and research materials, and providing convenient forums for all kinds of writing and presentation.
From Anne Davis:
I see weblogs as a:
a web site that encourages active engagement by the students and teacher
From Sarah Lohnes:
“Our article examines how Weblogs offer a way to initially cloister, organize, assess and criticize, and then re-distribute knowledge and information for the purpose of convening a community that will then function to amass knowledge, each member sharing, collaborating, redistributing and redefining themselves in the act of knowledge production. Members of weblog communities enter into apprenticeships with one another that constantly enhance intelligence in knowledge spaces because the guiding principle is that we don’t know everything so we are looking to “the other” to complete us, and therefore complete the community.”
From Peter Ford:
“Information and communication technology (ICT) prepares pupils to participate in a rapidly changing world in which work and other activities are increasingly transformed by access to varied and developing technology. Pupils use ICT tools to find, explore, analyse, exchange and present information responsibly, creatively and with discrimination. They learn how to employ ICT to enable rapid access to ideas and experiences from a wide range of people, communities and cultures. Increased capability in the use of ICT promotes initiative and independent learning, with pupils being able to make informed judgements about when and where to use ICT to best effect, and to consider its implications for home and work both now and in the future.”
From Jay Cross:
From Kevin Brooks (on blogs vs. discussion boards):
From Andrew Sullivan:
“But what bloggers do is completely new – and cannot be replicated on any other medium. It’s somewhere in between writing a column and talk radio. It’s genuinely new. And it harnesses the web’s real genius – its ability to empower anyone to do what only a few in the past could genuinely pull off. In that sense, blogging is the first journalistic model that actually harnesses rather than merely exploits the true democratic nature of the web. It’s a new medium finally finding a unique voice. Stay tuned as that voice gets louder and louder.”