Thing 4: Thoughts About Blogging

Oh my goodness, I just finished all the reading for Thing 4 about blogging in education.  My head is spinning with questions and ideas.  One overall theme that emerged from many of the readings was the idea of teaching kids new literacies appropriate for our time.  The post that Anne Davis wrote about this especially resonated with me.  Do we still need to teach kids to read books?  Well yeah, of course.  But we also need to teach them to efficiently read digital text as well (and I’m not talking about e-books).  One of the questions for reflection was about how blog reading/writing is different from reading on paper.  I think it comes down to being dynamic versus being static.  Blogging is more like engaging in a conversation.  You write your ideas and then your readers respond.  The conversation can grow and deepen and spin off in a hundred different directions.  Reading a book isn’t like that.  The text and the ideas in the text aren’t going to change from one day to the next.  It’s a one-sided conversation, for lack of a better description.  I feel traitorous even suggesting that books have an inherent flaw as a vehicle for ideas because I’m an admitted bibliophile.  Even now as I sit in my living room writing this, I can glance around and see at least one book on every table surface and a few on the floor.  I should probably pick those up.  But anyway, I get it now.  Blogging is about engaging in a conversation that everyone can learn from.  Collaboration and connected learning are important concepts for 21st Century learning.  So why shouldn’t blogs be a new literacy for 21st Century learners?

Okay, so I’m on board with the concept, but I’m still stuck on the question that I’ve been stuck on for a while.  How do you do this with younger kids?  The post by Bo Adams talks about teaching kids to use these kinds of tools just like we would teach kids to drive a car. But you wouldn’t teach an eight year old to drive a car.  It’s hard to wrap my head around how to safely and effectively incorporate something like blogging with my younger students.  Thankfully some of the blogs in the sample blog reading list gave me some ideas.  I especially liked the SSR 2.0 post in Mark’s Edtech Blog.  I do SSR!  I could totally do this!  The other idea I really liked was from this post in Debbie Stephens’s Learning to Grow blog.  Blogging student ideas about a book/author study?  I could totally do that too!

6 thoughts on “Thing 4: Thoughts About Blogging

  1. Hi Amy! It was good for me to read your blog post after posting my reflection, because I, too have questions about how to do blogging with younger students, and if it’s really effective. Looking at your post which talked about a blog post you read ABOUT blogging with kids, I realize I can find resources to give me direction and support as I think about doing blogging with younger kids.

  2. We surely can’t be the only ones wondering how to do all this with younger students! I’m thinking the resources are out there, but they might just be a little more difficult to find than older grade resources.

  3. Wow! It is so nice knowing that I am not the only one wondering about how this applies to younger students. I mean the ones that are just beginning to get a thought down on paper. I think there must be ways to make it work. I liked some of the ideas about which I read, but they are all about the teacher(s) doing the blogging with the students helping to decide what to say. Maybe that is the way to make it work with the younger students. I also wonder exactly what skills need to be taught in the younger grades to help get the students ready for blogging, and technology in general, in the later grades.

    • I’ve also been thinking about the skills that we should be teaching kids to prep them for web 2.0. The social collaboration part seems huge. Kids need to learn how to cooperate and work together in groups with an appropriate amount of give and take. In my experience, they don’t necessarily know how to do that. Also, I think they need to learn how to analyze the information that’s coming at them from so many different directions (thinking about the information’s purpose and message, distinguishing between facts and opinions, etc) and they need to learn to communicate their own perspective effectively. I’m sure there are many other skills but that’s what I’ve thought about so far. What are your thoughts on what they need?

  4. Really good questions about blogging. I think that class blogs are the way to go with our youngest learners. Just like when learning to read/write they may often create class stories. It doesn’t have to be a big commitment. It can be as simple as reflections on the day’s learning.

    Our LS technology coordinator is advocating for our LS teachers to use a class blog to communicate with parents instead of the class newsletter we currently use. It would be an awesome, dynamic record of learning in the classroom.

    In third grade the technology coordinator spends a lot of time teaching the students how to write blog posts. It comes as a shock to many of them that “u r cool lol.” is not an appropriate blog post. The difference this has made is astounding.

    We have our 4th and 5th graders respond to their summer reading through Moodle – our LMS. It’s been successful and a precursor to having a blog of their own. We’re dipping our toes into the digital waters!

    • Good ideas! I’ll have to check with our LS Technology teacher and see if she teaches about blogging. I don’t think she does but I’m not a hundred percent sure. If not, it seems like something we should be addressing. I definitely like the idea of blogging instead of a traditional newsletter.

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