Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Reflection on John Pearce's Presentation: Me Blog? No Way!!!

Blogging is often an idea teachers think will be a good addition to their classroom. John Pearce described many reasons why teachers would want to use blogs as well as topics of concern in his K12 Online Conference session, "Me Blog? No Way!!!". For blogging to be successful in the classroom teachers must think about the pedagogical reasons for why they want to use this tool. Hopefully, the pedagogical reasons brought the teacher to the idea of using blogging in his/her classroom in the first place. I have found that when we just decide to use a tool for the sake of the tool itself, it is not sustainable. When we focus the use of a tool to learning objectives and essential learnings and see success in that connection sustainability will ensue.

The idea of a teacher using a blog to learn was particularly interesting to me as well. I have been reading blogs for a number of years at this point. I have learned a lot from my virtual professional learning network. The people in my RSS reader have proven to continually keep me up to date and stretch my thinking on many topics. The battle I find myself in is continually trying to make time to write and be more reflective in my work. Being part of the network should include adding to the conversation. I have posted comments on many posts that I have read over the years, but I want to be seen as someone with his own ideas and thoughts.

I have used blogging in my college courses for three years at this point. All my students write their thoughts and reflections in blogs. Edublogs is a great tool for this purpose. The magic of RSS then brings the conversations to life. Each semester that I teach at least one person gets a comment from someone that they wrote about. David Warlick has been a great commenter for my pre-service teachers over the years (we read Redefining Literacy for the 21st Century as our course text). Just last week, Vicki Davis and Jeff Utecht commented/linked to a student in my graduate course on technology integration. These connections create "teachable moments" that cannot take place without blogs. How many students get the opportunity to have a conversation with the people they are reading or reading about in a class? Why isn't this more common in education today?

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