Sunday, February 7, 2010

The Power of Blogging

This week, the teachers enrolled in my children's literature course started their own blogs and will be posting reviews of the books they read and responding to each others' posts. Their blogs are listed below...if you have a few mintues, please give them a few words of encouragement!

TribeTeacher, LiteraryLady, and Parnaro's Post

As the semester progresses, so will their posts. The use of a blog to post thoughts about the books they read is important for many reasons. First, if teachers are to engage their own students in using technology in rich and meaningful ways, they must first experience those benefits themselves. Second, the ability to read and respond to each others' blogs changes the audience for reader response, which is huge. Third, however, is that if blogs are only used to respond to online assignments, then the full potential of blogs for promoting critical and analytical thinking will not be realized.

Blogs allow students to create content in ways not possible in a traditional paper/pencil environment. Rather than simply using the blog as a context to post a response that could be written on paper, blogs allow students to link to and connect ideas (that can take the form of pictures, podcasts, videos and other multimedia), to make their thinking about ideas transparent and to have others link to their posts. To do this, students must engage in close reading and reflection, to think critically within and across sources of information, to form a clear and concise message for a real audience.

For example, if students are given an assignment to respond to a particular aspect of a book or poem, then the response could include links and connections to information from the author’s blog, to book reviewers’ blogs, other students’ blogs, or other online resources. Students’ responses would necessarily represent an analysis and synthesis of these multiple sources of information along with the students’ own reflections or experiences that would ultimately articulate a deeper understanding of the content and response to the text.

This important aspect of blogging is what we will be working on all semester.

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