Thing #4 – Exploring Blogs

The five blogs I read varied in topic and style quite a bit.  I wanted to get an idea of a few of the things that were out there.  The blogs that I read are Why I Don’t Assign HomeworkBoeun’s Scribe for December 4thTeaching BrevityPowerPoint Reform – A First Chapter, and An Open Letter About Cyberbullying.  I will refer to them by homework, scribe, brevity, powerpoint, and cyberbullying.

The most surprising thing I found in the blogs was the fact that the writing, at most times, was actually well done.  I was expecting to find a lot of writing with incomplete thoughts and poor grammar.  Being the pessimist that I am, I’m going to believe this is because these are good examples of blogs.  I know I’ve seen a lot our there that are poorly written.  I found that it was much easier to concentrate on the topics at hand when I wasn’t distracted by poor grammar or bad writing.

One thing that most of the blogs had in common was the style.  It was rather informal in nature.  I think this is useful when you want to discuss ideas openly with people.  Especially if those people come from a wide variety of backgrounds (students, teachers,…).  The commenting system worked quite well in most cases, though I found that many of the comments did not add anything to the discussion, they just agreed or disagreed with the posts.  I didn’t like that aspect since it did not aid the dialogue.  It was interesting to read the long list of comments (not all of them) in the homework blog.  The most interesting thing is that something actually came of the comments when Dan decided that no homework wasn’t the best, but limited homework was a good thing.  It showed the power of collaboration.

The scribe post was interesting because it was written by a student and written for the purpose of conveying the knowledge he gained in the unit.  While there were a few errors in the material, it was a great overview of the unit and a good resource for other students in the class.  The idea that all other students in the class will have access to his work, and that his work will help them study, clearly made this student work hard to produce his best.  The style of the blog also showed that the student had to learn about technology to create images that would help understanding.  It was a great learning tool not only for math, but for literacy and technology.

3 thoughts on “Thing #4 – Exploring Blogs

  1. I’ve been working on this for about 6 hours today. Alone.
    I’ve got to figure we would be better off blogging in person at local meetings were we can discuss similar cultural issues.
    No?

  2. That might help, but in my experience, it is really the time spent trying to figure things out for yourself that teaches you the new technological tools. I tried showing my mother how to do things for years before I just gave up since she never remembered anything I showed her. Since then, she has played around (for hours just like you) and learned a lot and become very computer literate. Also, I’m not in Maine right now so you’re group blogging wouldn’t work.

  3. Chris, you brought up some great points. One tip I would like to share with you all, before you actually start blogging or using any of these other tools with your students, is to take the time and read/view/listen to excellent blogs/wikis/podcasts/video first so they learn what a quality post or comment is. Also, it is quite common to ask your students not to just reply with a “good job” comment, but to add a thoughtful response to the discussion, and grade accordingly.

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