As teachers, in order for us to incorporate an activity into our teaching schema, we have to know first that it is going to be seamless, that it is going to engage the learner, and that it is going to be sound pedagogically.
So where does blogging fit?
I came across this the other day as I was reading Will Richardson’s post on using blogging to teach reading and literacy:
“There’s no doubt that my own reading skills and habits have changed drastically since I started consuming so much more online content. And the biggest difference is that I am more of an active reader online than when reading in print. And for me, the biggest reason my reading has changed is because of blogging. I now read with an intent to write, and my writing (or blogging) is an attempt to synthesize and connect ideas, not simply summarize or paraphrase what I’ve been reading (if I even get to that.)”
The question to classroom teachers should not be whether or not they want to blog, but rather one that is inherently more complex. It could be something along the lines of asking them to delve into a blog on their own time. That can be simply by reading a few relevant to their interests. The next step is to ask them to begin commenting. I am of the mindset that very few people are ready to jump in with both feet, but most do not mind dipping a toe if it means they will not get burned.
What they will find, I almost guarantee, is that the cathartic nature of writing comes through. What Richardson states in the quote above is exactly an outpouring of realization. How often do we react spontaneously and rip off a letter to the editor about a newspaper article or magazine piece you have read? I’ll gamble that it is not too often. However, the steps to respond to a written piece are simplified online. To respond to a blog, you just click “comment.” As I read I am writing my responses. As I write, I am looking for support on the various blogs and feeds I connect to. This is synthesis at its finest.
I would love to jump into blogging with my staff; however, I am realistic. It is time intensive, and most people cannot fit that piece of reflection into their day. The results, I am finding, are unabashedly positive for me.
Writing has become for me what it once was in my angst-ridden high school days. It is giving me time to tie things together that I cannot until they are directly in front of me. It’s like when you are explaining a problem to another person who you hope will help you solve it, but as you near the end of your explanation the solution presents itself. The very nature of talking yourself through a concept illuminates the solution. Blogging is just that process. By the time I finish writing, the once disparate and various ideas begin to connect to one another, merge and become new platforms from which to think yet again.