Tuesday, August 30, 2005

Classroom blogging: two way learning

I have been thinking about the uses of blogging in the classroom with regard to studying writing and literature. What I have experienced in the two classes that are using blogs to reflect on the process of completing an assessment task creating a poetry anthology has been amazing and better than I expected. In reflecting on what is happening in my classroom, particularly with the international students commenting on other (local students’) blogs, I’m so encouraged. It’s like I have heard their voices in the class context for the first time. Of course the ESL students do speak, but mostly one to one, and now they can be heard more widely. The opportunities for students to use a way of communicating that they are comfortable with – not all of them, though – and the insight that the teacher can have into what the students are thinking can make the learning in the class truly two way.

My musings have been encouraged by Barbara Ganley at bgblogging in her post on blogs and letter writing. Some excerpts:

“…blogging… invite(s) students to experience the pleasures and rewards of, surprisingly enough perhaps, writing the extended letter. Indeed, I often remark here on the wonderful irony that this speed-tool, this hand-it-to-ya-quick-n-easy format, actually encourages the slow, the discursive, the thoughtful and thought-out remarks, extended correspondence between my students, sometimes one-on-one, sometimes one-to-many, sometimes many-to-many...”

and

“…if you have something to offer your reader--something expressed authentically, with all the deep thinking and feeling you can muster, well then, someone else will hear, and respond, and most likely be touched in some way.”

And, finally,

“We can use technology to bring people together rather than to isolate them further into themselves through using social software to connect communities, through the age-old community-building friendship-bonding, extended ruminating, reflective practices such as letter writing.”

I couldn’t have said it better myself.

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