I love learning and I love teaching. Technology is right up there, too. It adds so much to the teaching and learning, plus it just keeps getting better. Over the past years I have learned so many technologies that my head spins. I came upon blogs a
little over three years ago. None of the other technologies have affected me quite like blogs have. I’ve been mulling this over for some time. Why blogs? Why is it that everything I study or teach jumpstarts my thinking to blog applications? What is it about blogs that consumes me, especially in elementary settings where the resistance from policy makers will be formidable? The possibility of inappropriate comments seeping through, loss of control of the learner and the teacher, and just the general fear and resistance to something new that they don’t understand are but a few of the roadblocks to blogging in classrooms. The other roadblock mentioned constantly by educators is time. I have agreed, shook my head and gone away feelingfrustration with our lock-step method of teaching of a number of prescribed skills that has become our basis for accountability in our schools.
Blogs give me a space to work with students and many, many opportunities to see students actually begin to enjoy writing. I can
honestly say that I have not been able to capture that kind of joy from students in the past. These spaces are free of testing, grading, drilling, measuring and comparing. I like having a space on the web for students to explore and play with language. I can join the students in fooling around with words and we are working together to create pieces of work that are creative and give students a feeling of ownership. It’s a journey we take together. They can begin to experience the power words can have for them and for others. The words don’t have to be perfect. The space can be messy. We get to suppose, wonder, be curious, examine and re-examine. We spend time reading other weblogs and get lots of ideas. The exploring and learning is wonderful and they are on the path to becoming good writers. I’m on the sidecelebrating, suggesting, sharing and marveling at what they have to say. We delight in reading our writing to each other. We help each other. We clap a lot. We laugh a lot. Laughter truly synthesizes learning.
Why just last Thursday my students listened to Aaron Campbell say goodbye to his students on The New Tanuki. My students were spellbound. They were mesmerized by his words. They experienced the power of his words. We talked about it afterward and it was special. Soon afterward they began wondering and composing some short pieces that they would say if they could create some Quick Time clips to share on their blogs. Wow! I know we”ll be moved by their words, too.
So, I think the reason I am so hooked on blogs is the teacher-student/student-student discussions that come out of blogging. We are connected to others. Our learning arena is giving students a space to use their voices and see results. Students see reasons to write. I’m becoming a better listener and I just keep learning. The stage is larger. The possibilities are limitless!
So I am going to start saying to those educators who say they don’t have the time that they need to seize the time! Seize the time to use blogs to write about what you are learning. Let your students do the same. Think about using blogs in meaningful ways to let students write about what they are learning and thinking. Writing let’s us know what our students know and it let’s us know them. What could be a better use of our time?