The class I’m taking on New Media, Social Media and Learning asked me to “do some digging around in Google, Yahoo, or [my] search engine of choice and find an interesting article about educational uses of blogs”, to post about “why [I] found the article [I] linked to particularly interesting” and to “extend or improve the ideas described in the article in some way”.
My classmate Nina, has already completed the assignment and posted it on her blog. I did a quick search of Goolge, on the terms: education, blog, and use. I also did a quick search of Google Scholar using the same terms. Like Nina, I found few scholarly articles on educational blogging and none in the past year. I’m not doing a serious lit review, so I’m not looking very hard (and ignoring the libray databases), but still, scholarly articles on educational blogging don’t seem very easy to find.
However, I know that there is a lot of information available about educational blogging. Over the past year, I’ve been collecting tidbits of information about educational blogging so that I could share these ideas with my students. Most of this information has come from bloggers who teach in K12 settings. Unfortunately, I’ve spent too much time collecting and too little time processing. My resources are scattered across Delicius, Diigo, and Google Reader. Maybe now I can use these bits of information to come up with some coherent thoughts on educational blogging.
I found a post on “The use of blogs in education” (from a blog that, based on the style and frequency of posts, I suspect was set up to fulfill a class assignment) that gave four main purposes for using blogs in education:
- Classroom Management
- Student Portfolios
Each of these could be considered a valid educational use of a blog. A teacher could keep a blog to post announcements and assignments and strengthen home-school communication. A teacher could set up collaborative assignments or discussions on blogs and require students to use blogs to display electronic portfolios of their work. Blogs can be used to share resources (Free Technology for Teachers, iLearn Technology) or they can be used to deliver education, such as “how-to guides” and more (The Edublogger).
But like Sarah Stewart, I tend to think that for teachers and students (anyone really), the greatest power of blogging lies in its ability to encourage reflective practice. Clarence Fisher, Dan Meyer, and Geoff Sheehy are just some examples of teachers who keep blogs in which they reflect on their practice on a regular basis. Clarence Fisher and Konrad Glogowski have written many posts on how they use blogging to encourage reflection in their students. I believe that Mr. Glogowski’s post on How to Grow a Blog is must-read for anyone interested in educational blogging. I like the metaphor of blogs as an organic entity, as something that can grow. Blogs as electronic artifacts are definitely not organic, but the learning that they represent is a result of organic processes. Learning does grow.
From what I have learned about educational blogging, it seems that using blogs as way to turn in “electronic essays” or even to house “online writing journals” is a waste of the tool. A public blog for a reflecting on your own practice (whatever that practice may be) is like talking to yourself without being crazy. . . someone out there might actually be listening.
From my own experience, I’m not sure I know how to “grow a blog” yet, but I feel like through blogging, I learn more all the time, and most of what I learn isn’t about blogging (blogging would have very little value to me it were).
If you are interested in ideas for implementing blogging in your classroom, I suggest you check out these resources (in addition to the ones mentioned above) for inspiration.