Tuesday, February 6, 2007

Why Not Blog?

This title is deliberately ambiguous. I hope to play on the dual ideas that blogging may not be for everyone (it certainly doesn't serve every purpose we might have) and that blogging is an easier, more effective way to communicate some things to some audiences. An online bibliography of articles about blogging could be a useful resource for our thinking about the possibilities and limitations of blogging. Check it out. I'm also interested in knowing what you're thinking now about how blogging might be used/useful in your personal and/or professional lives.


Cindy O-A said...

I know why I've begun to blog (it feels as if I have my own little daily column), but I've been thinking about why others would, too. When Bud Hunt does CSU Writing Project workshops on blogging, he makes participants throw around a skein of yarn during discussion. To contribute a comment, you must be holding the skein in your hand, and when you're finished speaking, you toss it to someone else you'd like to hear from. By the end of the discussion, there's an enormous spider web in the middle of the room. And Bud says that's why we blog--to contribute to the professional conversation and hear what others have to say.

That makes a lot of sense to me from a professional standpoint, but I've also been intrigued about why so many people choose to blog apart from a sense of professional duty. Because I don't want to hog anymore space here than I already have here, I'll explore this question more in an entry on my blog today.

Dawn said...

Hi Louann,
Welcome to the Blogosphere, as it's been called. I have heard it said that Blogs are the equivalent of all those pamphlets that were published before the American Revolution. Blogs allow people's voices to be heard. Blogs make our nation more democratic. On the other hand, perhaps they're also sometimes like Gwendolyn's diary (from the Importance of Being Earnest). She says "one should always have something sensational to read on the train." Sometimes, they're really just people's narcissism on display. I think maybe it's both. Either way, Blogs are still a novel idea and teachers can tap into that idea with their students to engage them in collaborative conversations on the web--the exact kind of conversations they'll need to be proficient in as technologically literate global citizens. Whenever we try out new technologies as teachers, we are learning and growing, something we cannot ever fail to do. Welcome again.
Dawn Hogue

Dawn Hogue said...

By the way, I also have a teacher Blog: http://dhogue.edublogs.org/

ted said...

i find blogging a useful tool in my classroom. i use it to gather prior knowledge of something. before i go into an assignment, i need to know what my students already know. i use it in post exercises as well. so it is used as a pretest and a posttest, if you will.

an important point about blogging, is it allows all of the students to speak at once without the noise. it allows students to write without being prejudiced by teacher responses or certain student's comments that may stifle a student from speaking. it allows all the students to read what has been thought and said by others. it is a great community builder for introducing and concluding assignments.


Gwen said...

I have been thinking about blogging and when it should and should not be used. I can conceptually see a time and place for using a blog, but I am currently struggling with having to create my own for class. I have read numerous blogs that have ranged from rants to intellectual discussions. I personally don't have any interest in posting my personal gripes, but do understand the value of venting. As far as an intellectual posting, I'm not sure that I currently have an interest in having, or keeping up, on this sort of posting with all of the other things I need to do in my life right now. I can see the value of keeping a blog as a sort of online journal, but I feel that this sort of journal is personal and, for me, this should be private and only shared with those that I choose to share with. I realize that I can modify the privacy of my blog, but if I make it private and only allow certain people to see it then what would be the point? I read Steven D. Krause's “When Blogging Goes Bad.” Kairos 9, no. 1 (Fall 2004). In doing so, I was finally able to make a connection to my disinterest in blogging/creating my own blog. One of the things he talked about was that blogging is like a form of publishing that when it is used by students in the classroom, in his experience, they are reluctant to want to post anything simply to write--they generally want their writing to be more polished. However, in terms of creating an ongoing discussion, he has found that emailing seems to work a lot better, because it is viewed more informally. As I read this, it made a lot of sense. I have come to a realization that currently I just don't have anything that I feel like presenting to the general public. I would much rather have a discussion with my peers in class or via email about specific topic rather than posting a random thought out in cyberspace.

nbosch said...

I decided a few months ago to start a blog for my students. I was lucky enough to have a 6th grader's dad build it for us and it is flexible, fast and safe. I have about 30 students blogging at various paces and with mixed enthusiasm. . My main objectives were to teach safe social networking, re-enforce copyright issues and offer students a place to write for an authentic audience. All and all I'm pleased with the results so far. http://areallydifferentplace.org

I, personally, don't like to write, and do not consider myself a good writer. I'm a talker, so I write like I talk! There are some things I'm interested in that I couldn't blog about on my students' site so I started one of my own. It's OK...I guess I'll continue for a while. You can see that effort and read more about setting up the student blog there: http://anotsodifferentplace.blogspot.com.

Then I came upon another idea and started my third blog, there I discuss one of my passions -- primary sources, you can see that blog at http://averyoldplace.blogspot.com I like it the best because it’s creative and fun. Three blogs-- three different purposes.

I like Ted's ideas on using a blog for assessment; I read an entry today about using a blog for vocabulary study for the book The Outsiders. Each student picked a word, did a word study and included an image. The teacher commented on how enthusiastically the students did work that they found boring in another modality. I think that's the whole "hook" with the Web 2.0 applications. They get kids turned on that may not perform in traditional ways. Is blogging for everybody? No, but it might make a difference to one kid and give him a voice he didn't know he had.

I’ve opened a bloglines account are read/scan maybe 50 blogs that have the do with educational technology, classroom, gifted etc. I smile to myself. There is a lot of “preaching to the choir”. Many blogs post the same info, the same YouTube video, the same podcast and then they all comment to each other and reference their own thoughts. OK, enough rambling, N