About Me

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

To Blog, or Not to Blog?

In my opinion, technology can be used to effectively improve communication and learning in the classroom. As learned throughout my studies at the Graduate School of Education, communication is an integral part of the learning process. In order for students to learn, they need to be able to receive the information their teacher is transmitting to them. However, when in a classroom, it is sometimes difficult for students to keep up with what their teacher is saying or telling them. Other times, students become bored with the same, mundane routines day in and day out. While student teaching, I learned that one of my greatest strengths was my knowledge background in technology. I was able to incorporate variety in the classroom, and the students really gained a lot from those experiences. Now that I am taking the course Intro to Teaching with Digital Tools, I am learning more and more about how to use technology efficiently in the classroom.

Blogs are a great collaborative and reflective tool to use in the classroom. Students can use blogs as a place to reflect on what they have learned and even demonstrate their level of understanding pertaining to a particular topic. Blogs can better serve teachers when it comes to the management and organization aspect of the classroom. Teachers can post information for students and gain feedback from students in an organized and efficient way. Not only are these online tools easy to manage for both students and teachers, but they are also accessible to anyone with an Internet connection. Moreover, blogs can provide students with the opportunity to develop the 21st century skills needed to become successful in the world. Not only are students collaborating and communicating with other individuals outside of the classroom domain, but they are also utilizing their creativity and critical thinking skills when developing their own blogs, and exerting their independence.

In particular, teachers can use blogs to build on their students’ writing and analytical skills. For example, suppose a teacher decides to conduct a social studies lesson on Christopher Columbus prior to celebrating Columbus Day. Following the lesson, students can go online over the weekend break to share their thoughts on the holiday. Using the blog, students can engage in a debate about whether or not they believe Columbus Day should remain a holiday. Students can read what their classmates have to say, and then respond based on their opinions from the lesson they learned in class. Not only is blogging a great way to get students engaged in this type of homework assignment, but it also improves writing skills, and illustrates a student’s comprehension and analytical skills.

Essentially, blogs provide a number of educational opportunities for students. Because of current technologies like blogging, the definition of literacy has significantly evolved. Students are no longer restricted to traditional in-class reading and writing routines that leave them feeling disengaged and unmotivated. As stated by Prensky (2001), students in today’s society “have little patience for lectures, step-by-step logic, and ‘tell-test’ instruction” (p. 3). Today’s generation of students are growing up in a completely digital world where they are constantly interacting with the Internet outside of school. Blogging allows students to share their opinions and ideas outside of the class while still reinforcing skills learned within school. Personally, I believe that blogging is an effective way to augment learning because it gives students a chance to demonstrate so many skills while engaging in the learning process.