Monday, October 23, 2006

Blogging students get real-world writing experience

Having tried this blogging thing for seven months now, I can vouch for the medium's "authenticity." You write for real people -- people who give you real, nearly instantaneous feedback. Does this kind of authenticity make blogging a platform teachers should consider for their students?

Definitely, says Andy Carvin, host of PBS' "Learning Now" blog, in his article "Connect the Dots: Student Blogs and the Nobel Peace Prize."

According to Carvin, blogging

"... helps students feel a stronger sense of ownership over their words, their ideas and their ability to convey them. When students are merely writing an essay for a teacher, it’s often likely that the end result, if they’re lucky, will be a place on the refrigerator for that essay, next to the coupons and pictures of last summer’s trip to the Wisconsin Dells. But educators ... who have pioneered ideas around student-generated journals, websites and blogs have understood all along that the act of publishing student work in a public setting changes the rule of the game. When students publish on a blog or another online tool, they’re opening themselves up to critique, criticism and scrutiny. They must be prepared to defend their choice of words, their arguments, their perspectives. And they’re not just writing for an audience - they’re writing for a community of lifelong learners who are eager to engage them, helping them improve their writing and their critical thinking skills along the way."

Couldn't say it any better. Check out Carvin's piece, and his link to a Seattle Times article on innovative teachers using blogs in their classrooms, including pioneers Mark Ahlness and David Warlick, who've been blogging with their students for years. The article includes links to blog hosting services designed for educational application.


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