Sunday, April 15, 2007

Online Peer Review

April, I think your blog idea is great. I have been away from blogging since last spring, and I didn't realize I was on your blog until I started working on my Writing Commons group blogs for Understanding English Grammar.

I thought I'd let you know that this Friday Dave Sullivan from College of Business will be presenting at the WIC lunch. His topic is online peer review. He has set up a system for making it all happen in his classes, and I'm looking forward to learning more. I thought you might find it interesting if you can get away at that time. When Dave showed it to me last fall, I was able to go into his class's online peer reviews and see what they were saying to each other.

I read your prospectus tonight. A new direction! See you tomorrow.

Wednesday, January 03, 2007

What a cool blog!

Thanks, April, for hosting this very cool blog. I love the title "Write Like Mad!" It's one I can connect with as both a writer and a teacher of writing. I know you're writing like mad over the break on your thesis, and I can't wait to read your thoughts.

Saturday, December 09, 2006

Blogging identities

Thanks so much for your quotes from James Paul Gee's book What Video Games Have to Teach Us About Learning and Literacy in your "Educational Blogging: A Writer's Place" paper because they are intriguing for the work that Michael and I are doing on creating online identities, competent participants, and projecting oneself into a specific community. I will have to get that book and read what Gee has to say. I'll come back to this when I know more.

By the way, I think there are two different ways to understand the word "remediation." In composition work from the 1980's - such as Mike Rose's Lives on the Boundary -- remediation referred to remedy and remedial, as in courses for basic writing. Now, we use "remediation" to refer to moving from one medium to another - from, say, a book to a movie to a TV series.

Tuesday, December 05, 2006

Question about Response

If anyone is interested, I have a pressing question as I work on my thesis: How doesthe way we (as writers/students/teachers?) view response change when that response comes from writing we have posted on the Web? As opposed to the response we get within a classroom? I'm not even sure how to ask this. Posting writing on a blog opens us up to response from a much wider audience, so the awareness of this must change something in our attitudes about writing. I'm hoping there's a link here to my paper on educational blogging... I'm still getting to know blogging.

Saturday, November 18, 2006

Happy to be here

What a great opportunity to be a contributor to this blog by my friend and colleague April. Working with April at OSU in our composition program is a great joy, and I know what an asset she is to our students. I just wish we had more time to visit - maybe next year when she has her MA and is working? Here's a link to my blog - to which I wish I posted more frequently. Maybe being on both blogs will inspire me to post more often. I hope so.

Meanwhile, this weekend I hope to do more research for an upcoming conference paper on the way that graduate student teachers create an online persona -- so April's blog is relates perfectly.


Wednesday, November 08, 2006

I noticed when I read April's "Entering the Conversation Essay" that she wrote:
I’m afraid that women’s blogs just don’t get the status or attention that men’s blogs do. Perhaps more personally, I’m afraid I might not have much to say that would interest anyone else. As a woman, I don’t really expect my words to interest anyone but other women (am I a dinosaur to think that way?). That concerns me: is it true, or am I limiting my own audience with my expectations?

I think that's a pretty powerful and important observation, that women's blogs do not get the same readership and treatment as men's blogs.

I suggested that April read Into the Blogosphere in a comment to her post, but I especially want to stress the article "Women and Children Last" by Susan C. Herring, Inna Kouper, Lois Ann Scheidt, and Elijah L. Wright, which discusses the way women's and children's blogs aren't valued in the same way as men's.

Oh, and April, I might suggest that you turn on "title" under your "settings" so that you can give each blog post a title. It's a little more aesthetically pleasing, and might increase readership if people see a provocative title.

Great essay, April!

Entering the Conversation

The Blog, the real world, and the Classroom

As we read about literacy and the changing views in terms of just what that term means for individuals who use the information superhighway we also call the web, I become more and more fascinated with the idea of blogging. I begin to wonder how this online source could be used advantageously by a single person, and from there, I begin to wonder why and how it is being used in a classroom setting. Is it just a fad, or will blogging become ever bigger and better? Will people find a way to connect their blogs together more closely (like chapters in a book), or will some other form of internet sharing have replaced blogging by then? As I begin, I have a lot of questions, some of which, I know, won’t be answered—especially that one I just asked. How can anyone predict what direction technology will go? What is important, I think, is to take advantage of what is available now, at least long enough to decide if that particular technology will work for me.
As I explore the topic of blogging, and after doing a little research, I decided it seemed logical to create (in a manner of speaking) my own blog. I’m interested in how others have used this forum to their advantage, and also concerned about how time-consuming a blog might be. I’m also interested in the pedagogical beliefs behind using blogs for educational purposes, especially in the writing classroom. Writing is a social activity, although many people who write (or don’t) don’t realize this. I wrote for many years, alone and thinking that was how it should be. Although I was able to finish a number of books, I didn’t learn how to polish these works, or how to narrow my focus on who my audience might be. There were many things I needed to learn about writing, and from writing, but that I needed to learn from participating in a community of writers. Why is community so important? This is where we learn to anticipate audience, to sharpen our own purposes in writing, and this is where we can bounce ideas off of each other, and inspire each other. More importantly, we connect to others and form communities by sharing with each other. Writing in isolation can be a way of reaching out, and writing on a blog may be a more immediate, more public way to reach out and get a response. I’m hoping that others might respond to my blog posting and give me this sense of audience and community. [Looking at this last sentence, I notice that “posting” is singular; I have a feeling I am still thinking too narrowly!]

The main purpose to this exploration will be to help me both as a student and as a writing teacher better understand not only how to integrate blogging and the web into my life or the classroom, but also the literacy environment that I and my students already participate in. I’m most interested in how blogging can enhance my interaction with information and whether a blog would be useful in any classroom, or if blogging is more appropriate in some situations than others (such as class size or subject matter). As I delve into my research, I can’t help but feel that blogging could help students to shape their writing and the way they interact with college assignments—or even enhance their conception of how productive writing can be. Blogging can both increase a teacher’s understanding of their students, and increase student understanding of what it means to be a member of a writing community.

What is at stake for me? I’m not sure where I stand in terms of technology use, and I’m interested in whether I am making the best use of the tools available to me. I feel isolated and left out of the loop by my lack of knowledge of blogs. I will have to approach this assignment as one who is entering unfamiliar territory—like a scientist creeping into the jungle hoping for a peek at the natives, and I’ll have to take some risks I’ve never taken before. When I wrote my books, I only imagined sharing them with multiple readers, and I certainly never did more than dream that thousands might read my work; I don’t expect thousands to read my blog, but it will be an absolutely new experience for me to write words that can be read immediately… by anyone. I feel exposed already.

In terms of feeling like an outsider, as I mentioned above, I wonder too how blogging might “expand my boundaries” as my favorite prayer requests. Can I get feedback from people around the world—if they notice my entries. I have established my blog, “write like mad,” and have invited my professors to join, and I wonder if they will find time to post something. As Michael Faris mentions in his entering the conversation essay, I too think I have too utopian a view of what a blog can do for me—or for others. But I can’t ignore the possibilities. I think I will get out of it what I put into it. In fact, at our class in which several guest speakers shared their ideas about web use with us, they all agreed that I would get more responses if I posted more to other people’s blogs. This is a unique concept for me, but it makes sense. Share and others will share with me.

So far as my gendered identity, I tend to shy away from feminism, and I wonder why. To be honest, I’m afraid that women’s blogs just don’t get the status or attention that men’s blogs do. Perhaps more personally, I’m afraid I might not have much to say that would interest anyone else. As a woman, I don’t really expect my words to interest anyone but other women (am I a dinosaur to think that way?). That concerns me: is it true, or am I limiting my own audience with my expectations? But I don’t want to focus on gender issues—at least not now: my point is not to garner attention, but rather to explore a new possibility: public publishing.

I am conceiving of this project as an interpretive, multi-modal inquiry: the outcome will encourage my use of blogs in actuality, not just in my own imagination. Because I know little to nothing about blogs, I began by doing some reading, then establishing my own blog in the manner Richard Ferdig advises in order to experience first hand what is involved. I will combine library and online research of scholarly sources with interviews (if appropriate), a very informal survey, and even through encouraging others to write on my blog and share their thoughts. I intend to do my best to interpret my various findings accurately and use them to help shape my own improved understanding of how blogging might be used to the best advantage for my learning, or even that of my students. My main concern will be that what I discover is accurate and realistic—not to mention useful to me.

I have established my own blog and named it “write like mad.” I established a simple user name and password in case this must be shared with others—I’m still figuring out how blogs work, so I’m not sure how others get permission to post, and I want very much for others to post on my blog. I’ve done quite a bit of reading at this point, of scholarly articles mainly, and I’m getting a clear understanding of the conversation. Apparently, in 1998 blogs were born, and they were initially a place for people to write out their thoughts in a public forum. Stephen Downes does a wonderful job clarifying the original purpose of the blog: he says that although many refer to weblogs as simply a set of personal thoughts, etc., the history of weblogging makes it clear that this isn’t true; the situation is far more complex. He refers to Rebecca Blood, who states that the first blogs were “link driven sites” (Downes 16). These early blogs took advantage of the ability to include links, texts, short thoughts, long essays, commentary, whatever. One individual in my research used a blog as a place to store bookmarks efficiently, which intrigues me since my list of bookmarks (called favorites under internet explorer) is extremely long and hard to scan. Some people, according to Downes, were spurred by September 11 events to write amazing amounts of commentary on what had happened. Some wrote journal type entries documenting what they were experiencing at ground zero. What’s interesting is the idea that blogging made people a part of the ongoing events, instead of just observers. I want very much for my students to feel the same: that they are participants in their own learning and in their own classroom, observers—not simply observed and judged.

Along those lines, so far as educational use of blogs goes, my research uncovered a powerful driving pedagogy behind their use: blogs enhance the development of a community of writers in the classroom, showing students first hand what it means to write socially, to share one’s ideas and get feedback from a variety of sources. Students learn how important it is to express their thoughts clearly, in a format that most people could understand, because their audience is a broad one. Because writing is about communicating ideas, using a blog as a place to do that seems entirely appropriate. A real advantage in using blogs for a writing class for high school students or college freshman is that these young people are already familiar with the web; they already appreciate the values of networking. Another advantage for young people is that students of this age are often reluctant to participate in a face to face classroom, but may post enthusiastically on a blog, where they may feel less judged. They know their writing will be judged, but they see this as useful feedback.

My research thus far has uncovered certain articles, which I found fascinating. The first I encountered was Richard Ferdig’s “Content Delivery in the Blogosphere,” in which he not only defines blogs, discusses the pedagogy behind them (which was eye-opening and inspiring), but he also gives practical suggestions for how to use blogs educationally and details the benefits for students. He was the one who pointed me toward Blogger (, which I found very easy to use… well, I shouldn’t say “very,” since creating links seems rather difficult. Then I read the less inspiring article by Mark Toner which discussed how educators use blogs as a forum for discussion and airing frustrations, as well as “Scholars who Blog” by David Glenn, which covered a similar topic. The valuable points in that article, for me, were on how one can publish immediately.

The Stephen Downes article “Educational Blogging” was very helpful in clarifying how blogs can benefit the classroom, particularly a grade school classroom, but more importantly, he discusses the many facets of blogging and individual use of these. The Alex Halavais articles detailed student use of blogs, and Will Richardson’s article “The Educators Guide to the Read/Write Web” pointed out that what blogs are really for are reading. I found that point fascinating. I always think of writing as coming first, but he points out that blogs function first as a place to read, and I think I agree: I write what I think or know, then read it and digest it.
A couple of other names I keep hearing are Rebecca Blood and Will Richardson, so I have ordered their books through Summit. I found Paul Bausch’s book We Blog in the library and have begun reading it: it talks about why blogs developed and how, and instructs the reader in using weblogs. I’m excited to have book sources since I expected only to find journal articles that are up-to-date on blogging.

The annotated bibliography goes into greater detail as to what works I’ve read, so I’ve only included the first articles I encountered, since these were my true point of discovery. I’m now reading Michael Faris’ entering the conversation essay, and I will soon move on to reading his seminar paper. I’ve looked at his two private blogs in order to get an idea of how he uses these spaces: one site is very personal, loaded with images and detail and fun to read, mainly about personal views and commentary (a journal shared); the other is entirely devoted to his research for a particular paper, and it seems like there is a lot of empty space at the sides. It feels a little deserted, so I wonder if he’s posted anything there in awhile.

Another important source is Into the Blogosphere, an online book that is rich with reflections and information regarding blogging. I’ve just begun to explore this, and it is loaded. I had forgetten about the famous blog by Salem Pax, which was a journal of his day to day experiences in the Iraq war… I suppose still is, but I don’t see any recent posts. Maybe they are in a different order than what I’m used to. What is most amazing is that I can click a link and be reading this man’s firsthand account of the bombing in Karbala. I never would have dreamed of the things he writes, or of the point of view he gives. Hopefully, I will never write a firsthand account of war. I’m wondering at this point how to incorporate what I have found into my paper. The more I dig, the more the kaleidoscope opens up for me, turning and radiating into more and more colors and designs.

Pulling myself back down to reality, I have to move on to practical matters: I am very interested in hearing from bloggers and/or educators themselves. I want to know how blogging works for them, or in a real classroom: what seems helpful and what doesn’t? Is using it for a class superior to Blackboard? Do students get carried away, go off on tangents, use inappropriate language? And I want to hear from students who have used blogs, either privately or in a classroom setting. I’m developing ideas for a survey I want to conduct with my classmates, who have all used blogs (at least our class blog). I wonder if an important question might be how they feel about having their own blog versus sharing one with others, and does the classroom setting inhibit their postings, or does the blog setting counteract that…
My biggest concern right now is whether I can come up with ten-plus pages of commentary. Everyone seems to be saying the same thing about blogs, so it seems as though it will be simply a matter of explaining their points. I’m feeling nervous about having enough to say at this point. I will take a look at what other students have done in the previous ENG 595 class to get some ideas about how to shape my seminar paper.

My plan of work: for the next week, I will write up what I have so far, beginning with history and background, then explaining the pedagogy behind blogging. I will talk about what teacher/researchers have discussed in their essays or articles, how useful they find blogging, both as individuals and with their students. Then I will document my own experiences with creating a blog and maintaining it, projecting what it might be like to maintain this blog or something similar for my students. I am particularly interested in how Michael Faris used a blog as a place to keep research notes and thoughts as he completed a project.

I will also investigate ideas about the social aspect of learning: new literacy studies, according to James Paul Gee, focus on learning as being a part of community, the idea that we cannot learn or think or know anything without being influenced by the culture that surrounds us. I think this idea is very relevant to explaining why blogging has achieved such importance for so many people, and why it may be important to use it in some form in the classroom. [What purpose does it serve in building a shared literacy experience, and can this be achieved in larger classrooms in a more efficient way (such as when blogging would be impractical)? Maybe what I mean to say is: what can I learn from why blogging is so fascinating that might help me understand what writers need in terms of community and feedback?]

I will develop a very informal survey for my classmates, perhaps asking such questions as: how did posting on a blog differ from writing reading responses which were turned in; did posting on the blog make you feel more or less free to express your personal views; would you consider creating (or have you already created) your own blog; if so, what would you use it for? I will contact Michael Faris and ask his advice on types of questions to ask.

Finally, I will keep working on my blog, hopefully getting writing teachers or others to post or comment on my blog and talk about blogging in their coursework, and then I will incorporate these findings into my paper.

I can say that I am interested in whether blogging would be beneficial to WR 121. I am intrigued by what I’ve found in my research, and I’m especially charmed by the idea of expanding the walls of the classroom and enhancing the sense of community my students feel. Perhaps more important is the sense of ownership people can find in blogging. I wonder what I will learn from having a blog… in regard to being a writer and sharing my thoughts in an open community.
What surprises me most as I begin is how connected I already feel to this subject. I have a lot invested in this project, since it is shaping up to be something I might use as an important part of my own development as a writer.

Annotated Bibliography

Abram, Stephen. “E-Support for Content Creation and Literacy Skills.” MultiMedia & Internet @ Schools 13.2 (2006): 16-19.
Abram points out that school work demands that students create content in a world that may or may not be representative of the world they will live and work in as adults. He suggests that we encourage teenagers to make connections between school work and the way they create content online. He provides some facts on how kids use the web, talks about aspects of social networking, then goes into detail about ways to incorporate a blog into the classroom: keep a journal there, track project plans (goal setting), collaboration, post photos of a class trip or other class activities, include parents. He discusses use of Wikipedia, Flickr, Google’s Picasa, and gives a list of resources.

Bausch, Paul, Matthew Haughey, and Meg Hourihan. We Blog. Indianapolis, IN: Wiley Publishing, 2002.
As I look over this book, it reminds of a book I studied on how DOS operating systems worked, and then another book later that detailed how to use Windows. I know for a fact that this book will be out of date in a year or two, but right now it is highly useful in understanding what weblogs are, how they came about, why they are important to people, and how to use them. Bausch and his colleagues go into great detail, using visual graphics as aids to understanding. They explain not only how to work with the tools of the blog but also how to connect with one’s audience. They discuss various uses and give examples of blogs that are up and running.

Blair, Leslie. “Teaching composition online: No longer the second-best choice.” Kairos: A journal for teachers of writing and webbed environments 8.2. (2003/2004). 3 November 2006. <>.
Blair found in her teaching that in her online classes, students had a better opportunity for shared learning and communication than her students in traditional classes, so she implemented online discussion in all her classes. She found that students began to much better understand why the way they wrote mattered, and why ethos was important (and projected by the writing itself). Students also felt much more comfortable about sharing online than in the classroom— especially freshman students. Blair points out that students feel in the online group that they are not being personally scrutinized but scrutinized as writers. She promotes the idea of using online learning in any classroom, not just online courses.

Blood, Rebecca. “Weblogs: A History and Perspective.” Rebecca’s Pocket. 7 Sept. 2000. 3 November 2006.
Blood gives a simple account of the history of blogging, but more importantly points out what blogs provide us: a much wider perspective on what’s happening in the world. Bloggers provide their own interpretations of the news, or experts provide us with more facts and commentary, thus encouraging us to be skeptical of what information we are fed, skeptical of sources. Also important is the shift that occurred from blogs being places for a single person to express their ideas in isolation to being a shared venue, with bloggers commenting on each others’ sites and interacting online, thus creating a community and an ongoing conversation that anyone might enter. How easy this is depends upon what forum is used (Blogger makes it very simple to respond to others). She also confronts the question of information overload and of individuals trying to make themselves heard over the din created by big business.

Deitering, Anne-Marie and Shaun Huston. “Weblogs and the ‘Middle Space’ for Learning.” Academic Exchange Quarterly 21 (Winter 2004). February 2006. 3 November 2006.
Deitering and Huston assert that technological advances have not much changed the way classes are taught in the educational system, although educators wish they could make more use of this technology. The authors promote the use of blogs as a simple answer because of their ease of use. Blogs can be used, when that use is directed, for the promotion of the idea of knowledge and learning created through social interaction—not lectures and memorization. This enhances the student perception of ownership of their own learning. They suggest that weblogs were created for the purpose of communicating ideas and sharing those ideas with others, and they easily adapt to creating a sense of community among writers in the classroom. Through their use, students can become comfortable with the idea of learning as collaboration.

Downes, Stephen. “Educational Blogging.” Educause Review 39.5 (Sept/Oct. 2004): 14-16. 3 November 2006.
Downes explores the use of a blog in a fifth and sixth grade classroom. One student remarks that sharing ideas on the blog allows them to, through feedback from anyone in the world, see what their strengths and weaknesses are as writers and motivates them to write more. Downes projects that these students will bring with them to the university new attitudes and skills. The idea, for this school, Institut St. Joseph, was to promote reflection and community. The principal remarks that through the shared cite he can observe what is happening in the classroom and in the students’ minds. Downes then goes into deeper explanation of blogs, risks and benefits, and the argument over what exact actions define blogging. What differs in this article from the others is the emphasis on blogging being about reading, first and foremost. He says that one first reads, then reacts, then writes on the blog, then others read what has been written, react, and write more. He finishes with a quote from Will Richardson, who suggests that blogging might be the “needle that sews together what is now a lot of learning in isolation with no real connection between the disciplines.”

Ferdig, Richard E. “Content Delivery in the Blogosphere.” THE Journal 31.7 (2004): 12-21.
Ferdig discusses in clear terms the pedagogy behind blogging, which is based on the idea that writing is a social process in which teaching and learning are enhanced by building a sense of community in the classroom. A writing community can be encouraged to develop through having students publish on the classroom blog, and having them comment on each other’s entries. This feedback is vital, and can come from other sources as well as outsiders may also post comments. Ideally, the class blog would attempt to reach out to other communities or individuals, thus expanding the community of the classroom. Students’ published entries also allow teachers to see how they are understanding coursework. Hyperlinks add to the idea of knowledge being relational and contextual, linking the student, again, to the outside world. Ferdig also compares blogs to discussion boards, and offers suggestions for how to establish and make use of a blog in the classroom.

Glenn, David. “Scholars Who Blog.” Chronicle of Higher Education. 49.38 (2003).
Glenn discusses the subject of how blogs can benefit or limit scholars in their work and the expression of their ideas. Blogs offer immediate publishing opportunities, which also creates the possibility of immediate feedback from other scholars. Along with this advantage comes the disadvantage of having one’s work challenged by other experts or even discounted openly. Some scholars fear that blogging will lead to posturing, while others feel it may prevent posturing through a reality check provided by one’s peers. Glenn suggests that what is most valuable to those who publish is the possibility of a wide range of feedback. This article also offers an explanation for how one might draw more participants to one’s blog and offers some sites of interest.

Gordon, S. “Rise of the Blog [journal based Website].” IEE Review 52.3 (2006): 32-5.
Gordon presents a professional article that offers solid facts concerning blogs and their use, and offers definitions of “wiki,” “vlog,” “splog,” and of course “blog.” Although his focus is on the use of blogs for business, he gives a great deal of technical information that is useful, including instructions for being clear about content, paying attention to posts, and offers a few research aids.

Halavais, Alex. “Blogs, Threaded Discussions Accentuate Constructivist Teaching.” Online Classroom (Dec 2004): 1-5.
This article details the way in which Pedro Hernandez-Ramos used blogging in his teacher-prep course at Santa Clara U. His purpose was threefold: to help these teachers-to-be become familiar with blogging, which they could or would use in their teaching in the future; to show them that they could be creators of knowledge; and to help them construct a community of writers. Students were asked to create their own blogs and post at least weekly, as well as posting on a discussion thread the entire class participated in. Students were uncomfortable with the idea of writing for an unknown audience: anyone on the web can read a blog. Hernandez-Ramos felt that communication between departments—or even between peers—is poor, so blogging was a possible solution to breaking down that isolation and promoting the sharing of ideas. The author points out that this differed from an online course in that students and teacher met face to face regularly.

--“Blogs move Student Learning Beyond the Classroom: An Interview with Alex Halavais.” Online Classroom (Dec 2004): 4, 8. Academic Search Premier. EBSCO. Valley Library, Oregon State U. 3 Nov. 2006
Halavais is an assistant professor of communication at the U. of Buffalo, and he goes into further detail in this article as to how blogs can be used for educational purposes. He also promotes having students maintain their own blogs, which requires much more from the instructor in prep time and explanation but allows students more of a sense of ownership. A simpler assignment is to have students post on class blogs. Halavais discusses what students post on blogs and states that what seems to matter most to students is the feedback they get. He highlights work that is done well in order to guide them in their posting. He also talks about how students straying off topic is positive, how this enhances the creation of community and breaks down the teacher/student barrier.

Richardson, Will. “The Educator’s Guide to the Read/Write Web.” Educational Leadership 63.4 (2006): 24-7.
Richardson states that the internet is no longer just for looking up information but a place now for everyone to share information publicly. He points out that many teenagers use blogs simply as diaries, but that with thoughtful direction blogs can be used to enhance critical thinking and other literacy skills. Teachers can use blogs as resource portals and create online writing communities. He notes the especially rich use of blogs when classroom boundaries are crossed and students can make contact with mentors from around the world. He discusses the advantages of Wikis, and he gives detail as to how aggregators make it easy to keep track of many, many blogs at once, so students could presumably expand their classroom boundaries even further. Most importantly, he reflects on the effects (risks and benefits) of blogs on the shaping of curriculum and of ideas about what literacy is. He claims most educators see the benefit of using blogs and other web resources in the classroom.

Ross, Marilyn. “Blog, blog, blog.” Writer 119.4 (2006): 39-40.
Ross talks about the possibilities for publishing that blogs provide to writers. More interesting to my subject is her explanation of what blogs are, how they are used and can be used, how I personally could make the best use of one, and who is using them. She also suggests ways of getting one started.

Toner, Mark. “Blogs Help Educators Share Ideas, Air Frustrations.” Education Week 23.18 (2004): 8.
Toner discusses the ways in which educators can use blogs to communicate with each other and establish a sense of community and shared experience. He points out that what is posted on the blog is highly public and therefore should be done with caution, but that this forum is a place for busy teachers to talk to each other and share concerns, successes, questions, and frustrations.

Wednesday, November 01, 2006

I'm reading an article called "Content Delivery in the Blogosphere," and I'm fascinated! When the idea of doing a seminar paper on blogging was first introduced, I felt reluctant. What could I say that could be interesting? But as I read this article, I'm beginning to understand what kind of potential the blogosphere has. For one thing, the pedagogy behind using blogs for educational purposes (with your students) is to demonstrate how important social interaction is for writing. A blog can help establish the feeling of community between writing class members that is needed for real creativity to take place. Students can also view what they have posted, read it again, and reshape what they've created, or post more. They can review each other's postings and add comments. This is true publication, for free, for the purpose of sharing with other members of a writing community. Students begin to understand process, the value of feedback, and the flexibility of a community that is shared in cyberspace. I think what I value most is the ability to share ideas that I might not have wanted to share face to face: less risk here. Students who don't contribute verbally in class might be the ones who most enjoy the blog. The author of this article, Richard E. Ferdig, also points out that students can experience what it's like to have power over their content. He warns that educators must set limits (obviously), or students might lose focus and purpose, but I would want to encourage my students to post links or pictures, or artwork or graphics, or whatever will enhance their experience with blogging. I'm heading off to do more research. If anyone would like to read the article I'm referring to, here is the citation: Ferdig, Richard E. "Content Delivery in the Blogosphere." T H E Journal 31.7 (2004): 12-20. The author is affliated with the University of Florida.

Monday, October 30, 2006

Buckwheat is thirty this year.

I'm writing a seminar paper on educational blogging, and I thought that the best place to start (once I did a little research) was to set up a blog and see how it might work. I'm hoping other people might post comments about educational blogging, and about how we might use it for helping students learn to write across disciplines.