COETAIL. It’s making huge ripples in my life. Just ask my colleagues. My next tech tool to bring to the classroom? To change the “learning landscape”? The blog. Da da da…Not a big deal to most edtech gurus out there, but as I’m currently a blog novice myself, I feel like I’m taking a risk here – a responsible risk, yes, but still a risk. Thankfully, I don’t have to convince my grade 10 teaching team on the blog front – they’re very amenable to technology as a learning tool – so that’s one hurdle I do not have to overcome. What concerns me the most is the implementation of the actual blog and moving it beyond, as Andrew Marcinek calls it in his article, “Help Students Use Social Media to Empower, Not Just Connect”, a tool of simple connectivity.
Most of my students have had or currently have a blog, so it won’t be new technology to them. I want this to be a different experience for them, though. A more meaningful way for them to make connections, grow as writers (in a context that they’re not used to), discover their voice, learn from other writers and offer sound advice to other bloggers. In short, I want this experience to be meaningful and authentic and yes, different than anything they’ve done before in English class. Expectations too high? Nah.
Writing is a process.
So now I need to figure out how I’m going to use the blog as more than “just an efficient publishing platform” as blogger/educator Tracy Kracht mentions in her blog. (Okay, honestly – that’s what I was envisioning. Good thing I read her post.) Kracht continues, saying that in order to move beyond a blog’s basic function as a “publishing platform”, the focus needs to shift from the final product to the actual process of creating that final product. Kracht notes that writing a blog can be a “cycle” of “revision” whereby students are engaged in a process of “evaluat[ing] and revis[ing] their work so that they are increasing publishing quality.” I like her idea of using blogs as a way to increase the quality of students’ writing and the fact that writing is a process. It’s a constant cycle of revisions, editing, rewriting, crossing out and revising again.
So I think that’s where I will begin this blogging endeavor – as a journey of discovery that I will embark upon alongside my students. We’ll explore this fascinating new learning landscape created by technology and hopefully, forge our own trail forward.
I’ll keep you posted…;)