A great example of blogging with students is Konrad Glogowski’s Blog of Proximal Development, which shares a variety of tips for blogging with students such as How to Grow a Blog and Towards Reflective BlogTalk.
Glogowski contends that blogs are essentially a sustained conversation between communities of thinkers and writers:
When we talk about blogging, most of us focus on writing. We tend to ignore the fact that a class blogging community provides teachers with a very valuable opportunity to use informal instructional conversations to engage our students as thinkers and writers. These conversations can help our students immerse themselves in the rich tapestries of voices that characterize blogging communities.
Blogs are perfect tools to encourage and assist students in cognitive engagement. Blogging is a process, a conversation. Unfortunately, at the beginning of the year, my students tend to see each blog entry as the equivalent of a well-composed paragraph response or even an essay. I admit, there is nothing wrong with producing well-written and well organized entries as long as the entry is not an end in itself, as long as the process of intellectual engagement does not end once the piece is posted. I want my students to understand that bloggers blog because they are on a journey, a quest, and that every entry is an opportunity to continue that journey.
Blogging is more than just online journaling and sharing your “inner-most thoughts” (When you consider the social and professional ramifications associated with Web 2.0 technology, who would want to do that anyway?). Consider Richardson’s examples of writing versus blogging on pages 30-31 of Blogs, Wikis, and Podcasts. Blogging allows you to become part of the conversation; it moves the locus of control from major media outlets to the average consumer, allowing you to become a producer of information as well! Now that is exciting to me because in a democratic society, shouldn’t we all have a voice and a platform for that voice?
With that voice, though, comes great social responsibility. Consider how many times you have visited You Tube and seen comments where people are posting any of the following: hateful things that have nothing to do with the posted video, declarations of love for the song used or the celebrity shown in the image, or comments filled with misspellings and grammatical errors. Seriously? I don’t know about you, but I certainly have trouble taking what those posters are saying seriously, thereby diminishing the potential impact of their voice in the Web 2.0 environment. Sister Salad has a great video about such wack comments!
You will have an opportunity to contribute to the professional conversation in the ELA field this semester by creating your own blog! You never know who will read it beyond this class either! Several semesters ago I created a book blog to share my reading with my ENGL 3391 students. I never imagined authors would read it and comment, but both Robert Lipsyte and Marc Aronson did! So seriously consider how you professionally present yourself in this pervasive online environment; you never know who you will meet!