Prior to both enrolling in this class and reading this chapter I was unaware of the popularity of blogs. I did not know anyone who had one, nor did I read any in my spare time. When my classmates and I were told that we would need to post our thoughts on the required reading every week, I was a little apprehensive. Most of my classes in the past required reader responses, which were typed and handed in. Why the sudden change to blogging? However, after blogging for the past seven weeks, I have come to realize that I prefer to post a blog than to hand in a typed reader response. Posting to my own blog allows me to digitally reflect on what I read for class, and also allows me to add helpful links, picture, or videos. It is also much more interactive than just handing in a paper. I have enjoyed blogging so much! In fact, I even incorporated a weekly blog post as a requirement for the students in my PBL.
In this chapter of The Digital Diet, the authors discuss the different types of blogging websites to use, but go more in depth with Blogger, made from Google. Blogger seems to be similar to WordPress, which is what we use for class. Personally, I have not tried out Blogger or any other blogging website. For my PBL, I had my students use WordPress. Looking back, it would probably have been more beneficial for me to utilize other blogging sites. Using other types of websites would allow me to become more familiar with the different blogging tools that are available.
From my recent experience with blogging, I have realized how beneficial this type of technology is for student learning. For my PBL, I required my students to post a weekly blog reflecting on our project. Each week they would discuss the PBL as a whole, their thoughts on the project, the way their group was working together, and any questions that had arisen during the week. I read each blog and commented back, by answering the students’ questions or giving them suggestions. I found that blogging was a great tool for both the students and I. By reading each student’s blog I understood the challenges they were facing, and the progress that they were making on the project. I was able to keep a close eye on what was going on. By posting a blog each week, the students were able to reflect on the project, and ask me to clarify any issues that had arisen. I thought that using blogs in this manner was very effective.
In this chapter, the authors discuss a very different way to use blogging in the classroom. They give the example of a teacher using a blog to present a news article to his students. His students are then required to comment on the blog, by identifying the issue, analyzing the issue, and proposing a solution. The students are also required to comment on their peers’ work, which results in a threaded discussion. Using blogs in this way was something I had not thought of before. I really do think that using blogs in the classroom is a great thing. As long as a teacher makes sure the correct privacy settings are in place, using a blog as a means of discussion can really enhance students’ learning environments.