I was reading a post on Theresa’s blog, Grand Rounds, and after reflecting on her topic, I would like to respond in writing here. I’m detailing the process because I’m reminded in her post that often times teachers, parents, and students don’t understand blogging and we’re not doing a good enough job of explaining it’s uses.
Theresa writes about her experience as a staff development specialist and the reluctance she encounters from her participants about the uses of blogs,
So why aren’t more teachers using them? Why aren’t they a part of each and every classroom across this globe?
Lots of reasons, or at least I am told. Here are some I have heard:
1. They are not safe – don’t you watch Dateline?
2. My school blocks all social networking sites.
3. Real life requires pen and pencil, not just a computer. Sure they can type – but they can’t type their state assessment.
4. I don’t have the time to have kids blog when I have content to cover.
5. I don’t have time to learn how to blog so I can teach my students.
6. I don’t blog because I don’t have anything to say – why should I have my kids blog? (Followed by – It’s just an on-line journal!)
7. Blogging doesn’t create real relationships – I want my students to discuss things in class.
8. Blogs are another fad in education– don’t you remember whole language and the damage THAT did?
So often when someone hears about blogging, they quickly categorize it as an on-line journal, or another MySpace, or a different way to IM. I guess it can be those things, but that’s not at all how I’m using it.
I continue to spend about 85% of my on-line time READING what others have to say about education. I don’t walk around thinking about what I want to write about. It’s not the same as when I think about something that’s happened in our lives and then want to remember to tell my husband or my mom about it later.
It’s professional reading, reflecting, and responding. It’s thinking about my audience and what I want to say that potentially can influence thinking or serve a purpose to another educator, student, or parent. It’s about learning. My time spent “blogging”, and by “blogging” I mean reading on-line sources including blogs, writing, and reading comments left on my posts, is all about my own learning. It’s free, it’s accessible 24/7, and it’s what I choose.
That’s what we need to plug into with our students. Not the same old assignments posted on a blog. We can add it to enhance learning or we can just keep doing the same old, same old. The reason I don’t worry about the educators who believe they are the source of all knowledge in the classroom is that our students already have it figured out. Any teacher, or principal for that matter, who thinks she knows everything students need to know, is kidding herself. And no one else. I’m just hoping a few teachers will help guide our students to meaningful learning. When they leave G-Town, students are going to learn about what they choose, not what NYS tells them they have to learn. I hope we do an adequate job of showing them how to learn whatever it is they need to know, not how to receive information and then spit it back out. Who wants an employee who can only do that?