Why Teachers and Schools Should be Blogging 12 April, 2008Posted by paralleldivergence in blogging, Brad & Phil, children, education, Internet, Life, My Thoughts.
Tags: blogs, education, Life, students, teachers, Web 2.0
MANY of our students leave school in the afternoon and go straight on-line as soon as they get home. They immediately start chatting with their friends on MSN, often holding down multiple conversations at the same time, seamlessly changing subjects and maintaining discussion threads as they swap from one chat window to the next. Their typing speed continually improves and in just one on-line session, they might type more text than they handwrite during their lessons at school in a whole day.
When there’s a break in the discussions, they’re busy updating their MySpace, Facebook or Bebo sites to let all their friends know what their day was like and what plans they have for the week ahead. In the wheat field of six-billion people on the planet, these individual children have a voice, a profile and a status - identified by the number of on-line “friends” they’ve accumulated.
So what part are the teacher, the school and even the parent playing in this scenario? Unfortunately, very little. The parent’s main assistance is the provision of the computer and the internet access – but what their children are using the resource for is totally beyond them – as long as it keeps them quiet. To the teachers and the school, this is something very foreign. To the student, school means having to “power-down”.
But it isn’t all rosy for the students. Issues such as cyber-bullying show that students do not use the social web as appropriately as they should - or could. Without any guidance from parents and schools, students are busy publishing without being aware of the ramifications of their publishing. And a potentially global audience is overwhelmingly underestimated by our children.
Teachers and schools have been busy shielding children and teaching them how to avoid inappropriate content on the web – when the real need is to teach them how they can publish appropriate content themselves.
But how can teachers achieve this if they don’t model it themselves? How can schools be relevant to students if the education they provide is a world apart from the one students actually live in?
Using blogs in schools is an achievable step that teachers can take that will allow them to practically demonstrate responsible publishing with students. It can be the catalyst for starting discussions about issues surrounding the social web while at the same time taking the classroom to the outside world and bringing the outside world into the classroom. Have a read of “The Trouble with Web 2.0” for more.
With a little planning, a class blog can be created to provide your students with an opportunity to globally publish their best work. The blog then becomes a motivational tool in the teacher’s kit that sits alongside more traditional teaching methods. And of course, the blog is just the start. As well as posting writings and artworks, the class blog can host student videos, podcasts and presentations, making it a true multimedia prosumer resource.
If your school isn’t using blogs as an educational activity, what aspect of the read-write web are you using?