Jeff Utecht used this diagram today in his post on the TechLearning Blog. He outlines the problem that most teachers I deal with have with blogging by saying that we have it all wrong if we think blogging is simply online journaling.
I was leading a group of teachers today through some of the basic facets of Web and School 2.0 (at least as I see them), and that point came up: How is blogging different than a journal or a bound notebook that they use as a record of their academic thoughts?
Aside from the obvious digital nature, here are a few key points I would use in that discussion:
- hyperlinks– the act of writing in a blog is the prime example of connective writing. When I speak to students about linking within a wiki or a blog, I often show them the difference between two paragraphs: one with hyperlinks and one without. I ask them what makes the one with hyperlinks so different? Invariably, they say it gives them options. Linking within a blog gives the reader opportunities to explore and formulate opinions based on the original source–a veritable virtual tour of the topic at hand.
- conversation– Jeff brings this up in his post as the main differing point between the two. The example I gave to the teachers I spoke with today was that last week I posted an appeal for opinions on what the most cogent points of Web 2.0 for teachers might be. The responses I received helped me shape the course that they were taking. I showed them my post, the responses, and the areas of the world from where the responses came. It’s not monologue that teaches us, I told them, it’s dialogue.
- Reflection in regards to audience– I cannot speak for the rest of the blogosphere, however, when I write posts for any of my blogs, I am keenly aware of my audience in how I organize my thoughts. When I read any material, because I blog, I digest in a way that leans toward reflection and creation of content. I need to speak about what my processes are, what the world at large thinks of the ideas I come across, and how I can learn from greater minds, or at least the collective mind. A journal with no interaction does not give me that.
This point resonated with my teachers immediately:
You see the problem with blogs is we are not accustomed to conversations extending past 3 o’clock when the bell rings. We are not used to having conversations that include more than the 30 students in our class or can affect others in a different hemisphere.
especially after hitting them with Karl Fisch’s/Scott McLeod’s “Did You Know” video. I think teachers understand the need for an extension of the learning environment outside of the classroom, I mean that is why homework was created.