Thursday, December 08, 2005

I blog, therefore I think.

Sometimes things just seem to come together... Various posts and events recently started me thinking about why I blog and why I think it's a good idea for student teachers to blog. In particular, I have been thinking about what skills a blogger needs and how best these skills can be developed. One of the things that started me off on this was a post from Ewan...

originally uploaded by itspaulkelly.
Ewan's brain is positively fizzing with stuff at the moment (although what has he done to his blogs colour scheme?) and I had responded to his post Education Panel: Ewan's Notes. I read a few more blog entries elsewhere and decided that a full blown response here was in order. Firstly, some of the things that I read.

First was Blogging as Attempts at Understanding where I had a real, "Yes! That's it!" moment. Some quotes will give you a flavour, but read it yourself and follow the links for the full effect. Konrad says, "... classroom blogging is primarily about responding to texts and not producing them" and "... we learn best when we write and have to defend, reorganize, refine, and further develop our thoughts". Reading and responding. Writing to help us think!

I then came across Anne Davis' blog entry Guidelines for blogging. Again a couple of quotes will give you the flavour: students should be... "asking questions that will make a reader think and want to comment" and "practice writing their thoughts about what they are learning, what they understand and don't understand, why it is meaningful or not". Reflective learners.

I also enjoyed Will's Disclaimer. I especially liked the idea that the opinions he expresses in the blog are the ones he considers "good enough criticize".

I'm not sure if I've responded to Ewan's post or just gone off on a tangent of my own, so I think I'd better summarize a bit. Ewan asked, "Who teaches people how to read blogs? Is it required?". My response was that the button pushing skills of using the technology are the easy bit, but there is a need for pupils and and teachers to learn about communication - see for example David Warlick on Why do we have to "“learn how to blog"”? The blog entries above show some of the skills that are required. Supporting and nurturing reflective learners, who respond to what they read by writing stuff and allowing others to comment, refining their own thoughts accordingly, requires more than the teaching of technology skills!

So, what do you think? Do we need to teach how to read blogs? What skills do learners need? How best can we develop these skills?

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P.S. Such is the state of my life at the moment that it has taken me a week to finish this entry. I hope it's still relevant.

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