Sunday, March 19, 2006

Finding new vision and energy for education through blogs

I am in awe of what a powerful vehicle blogging can be for my own professional growth and development. My thinking has been stretched and I am gaining first hand experience of the power of building communities of learning. Reading through the blogs and moving through the various links the pattern of a rich and deep discussion begins to evolve. Because I am rather new to all of this I have been trying to take the time to read some of the earlier post too.

One recurring discussion is the issue of journaling vs blogging which raises the question what is it all about. It reminds me of the early complaints about computers in the classroom when some employed them as essentially expensive workbooks for drill and practice.

In Will Richardson’s blog there is a pertinent discussion that centers around presentations at the recent CUE conference. Which I have excerpted below:

Referring to CUE
The bad news is that to some extent, I think the conversation misses the point. What got me going was when Hall Davidson said “Blogs are online journals when done right” and then added that it’s “not a format that going to pull anything else out of you” compared to more traditional tools.

Will’s take on blogs-
Blogs are much more than online journals when done right. They offer much more than the traditional tools in terms of giving voice, building community, enhancing learning not just from a writing standpoint.

And….
Peter said that from a teaching standpoint, your colleagues are no longer just the people down the hall. They are teachers in Australia and journalists in Russia and scientists in India. What a very cool, expansive way to start thinking about teaching.
Peter said that from a teaching standpoint, your colleagues are no longer just the people down the hall. They are teachers in Australia and journalists in Russia and scientists in India. What a very cool, expansive way to start thinking about teaching.

I agree whole heartedly with Will and Peter. In just one week of reading and beginning to blog I have experienced the power of collegial connections across the globe. I have experienced the need to take time with information and reflection in order to form an informed opinion. I have seen the difference between my daughters use of My space and the application of blogs in the classroom. This distinction was not immediately obvious to me as a neophyte but I get it now and hope to help others see it. Blogging in the classroom, to my understanding, is about learning to think critically and also learning to express yourself with an audience in mind.

To this end I understand when Clarence posted about his disappointment when his students writing about current events at a factual level and with only one resource. He had to reframe his assignment which leads us to remember that the questions we frame are critical to teaching thinking and to an effective use of blogs in the classroom. If we are serious about building learning communities and opening students to new sources of knowledge we must create an atmosphere of inquiry.

Let me end where I started...blogging has provided me with new hope and energy. As Peter stated so eloquently and as I have experienced this is a wonderful and "expansive way to think about teaching"

2 comments:

Darren Kuropatwa said...

Welcome to the blogosphere Barbara. Two posts in and already a deeply thoughtful voice. ;-) I look forward to reading more of your work.

Cheers!
Darren

Glenn E. Malone said...

Welcome to the discussion!