Blogs

I was impressed by the Acton High School blogging project on Teachers.TV. The students came across as being motivated by the project (though I’m sure the video was shot to create the best possible impression) and I think the students got a lot more out of the project than just developing their writing skills and knowledge of the English language. According to their teacher the blogging project promoted collaboration, critical thinking and reflection (through peer-reviews).  It also helped them develop a confidence in their own abilities and a take control of their own work. This has to be a really positive thing!

I been following a few blogs on learning technologies and TESOL for about 18 months now. I found out about them from Twitter and then from the blog rolls (does anyone else see the double meaning here?) recommending other blogs. I appreciate the time and effort that people have spent on their posts for no other apparent reason that to share information, ideas, experiences and thoughts with other like-minded people. I appreciate the discussion and debate that posts and comments stimulate. I have found them and great way to stimulate my own thoughts and ideas and most importantly as a really useful source of information that has contributed significantly to my own learning.

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5 Responses to Blogs

  1. paul says:

    I’m with you on the collaboration helping stimulation. To be honest, in the past I hadn’t given it too much consideration, but am now converted. Reading people’s thoughts helps our own thinking process I think.

  2. I think collaboration can contribute to the formation of a learning community.
    It can also help us to reflect, might, in turn contributes towards the process of deep learning.

  3. It was interesting, I think, that the initial collaboration that these students engaged in was done before they ever posted to the blog. That is, they collaborated on what information they were going to use, how they were going to use it, what illustrations to use, etc. Then, when it’s put together and posted to the blog, they get a chance to comment on each other’s work – which adds another layer of peer review. Of course, this is by no means the only model for conducting such a project, but it’s always useful to look at exactly how an activity is run and to to see what we can take from it, or how we might tweak it.

    Cormac

    • I hadn’t really considered that in blogging the focus is not really on writing at all. This quote Downes (2004) has been a real eye-opener for me: “it is about reading what is of interest to you: your culture, your community, your ideas. And it is about engaging with the content and with the authors of what you have read—reflecting, criticizing, questioning, reacting. If a student has nothing to blog about, it is not because he or she has nothing to write about or has a boring life. It is because the student has not yet stretched out to the larger world, has not yet learned to meaningfully engage in a community. For blogging in education to be a success, this first must be embraced and encouraged.”

      • Well, I think reading, reflecting and commenting is a useful way of approaching blogs. But I wouldn’t say the focus is not also on writing. Surely, blogging involves using a blog to share your thoughts with the world (or, more likely, a smaller community). Of course this doesn’t mean that you need to be active all the time in order gain any benefit from the blogosphere (bleurgh), but I do feel that the word “blogging” does imply some sort of active participation. Downes’s point still stands though.

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