Tuesday, January 10, 2006

Thoughts on Blogging?

Today, Karl introduced Blogging to you. Maybe some of you know how to blog and others don't. How do you feel about using blogging as a means of journaling? Compare it to last semester and journaling every week. Are you comfortable? Any questions?


Blogger Sally G said...

I want to use this technology. I am concerned about the time consumption. How much time is required to set this up? And how much time is required to evaluate the blogs posted?

4:00 PM  
Blogger kleibsohn said...

I like blogging but have not been using it. I feel that doing our journals as bloggs would be more efficient and easier to do. The only thing with doing our journals on a Blog would be that many of our journals are personal and I would not want everyone to see these comments.

4:00 PM  
Blogger K Schneider said...

I have not been using Blogs. I do think that it will be a more efficient way of discussing things around campus. I am concerned about discussing personal issues on a Blog and having it bite me later. I personally would not be as open and honest on a Blog with Melissa and Ray knowing that others would see what I was writing.

4:03 PM  
Blogger Jared Robinson said...

I am doing blogs with my American Lit students and am excited about the possibilites. Instead of group blogs, though, I am doing individual blogs. I keep track with an aggregator called bloglines. This lets me know each time any of my students makes a new post to their blog. Ideally, I will also get all of the students subscribing to 5-6 other students blogs. They are responsible to add comments to the posts of their peers.

4:03 PM  
Blogger Cheryl S. said...

I haven't blogged before - so, I think it's great to get experience with it. My comments would be more guarded given the public nature of blogging.

4:05 PM  
Blogger Mwiebe said...

The prospect of using this blog instead of reflective journals sounds like a great idea to me. While it is true that many of our reflective journals are personal, I think this blog can serve a similar purpose as the journals, but will not replace our lines of communication with Melissa, Ray and each other. We can still walk to each others' offices and talk if we need to discuss something of a personal, or possibly controversial nature.
I am looking at this blog as a way to quickly and easily communicate ideas, struggles, successes, etc. amongst the induction group, and I think it will work wonderfully for that purpose.

5:48 PM  
Blogger MissyM said...

I am wary of blogging instead of a reflective journal just because some thoughts are best left private, but on the other hand I like the interaction that a blog provides. I am willing to try it and get used to this technology.

9:05 PM  
Blogger Ms. Fine said...

As many of you pointed out there are both positive and negative benefits with blogging. One aspect of blogging that I truly appreciate is focused around allowing shy kids the opportunity to voice their opinion through writing. Many of our kids are intimidated with speaking in front of large groups; therefore, their opinions and voices go unheard. This presents them with the opportunity to voice their opinion. I’m beginning blogging with my juniors and freshman----anxious to see where this leads us!!!

6:48 AM  
Blogger Krueger said...

Blogging is not new to me. I've taken several graduate classess in which blogging was a huge part of the class. I think blogging is a great way to share ideas and opinions. If I have a great idea that I'm using in my class and I'd like to pass it on to other teachers, I would be happy to share it through blogging. However, if I have a more personal issue that I would like to discuss, I believe I would be more likely to include it in a journal or discuss it one-on-one with Ray and Melissa. I would like to introduce blogging in my Intro. to Computer Applications class. The first 6-weeks of this class is solely keyboarding. I think blogging is something students already enjoy doing, and I think it would be a great way to get them to practice their typing.

8:23 AM  
Blogger Melissa Mindell said...

I think this technology is positive in some ways yet negative in others. The positive aspect of blogging, in my opinion, is the flow of conversations when you are not able to get together to discuss topics and issues. Also, what Karl was saying really hit me yesterday as being a positive: students really are aware of what they are writing because of the extended audience rather than just the teachers reading their work (therefore producing more powerful and meaningful work).

On the flip side I am very tentitive with the technology being so overpowering with what we are doing these days. I have only been teaching for five years now but I have noticed an increase of students who lack person to person skills due to the increase of usuage in technology. Therefore, I think it would be very beneficial to use blogging but also incorporate some classroom discussions as well and use this as another avenue to get students engaged and thinking outside of class. I am also having a hard time figuring out how, as a math teacher, I could use this other than the discussions of education as a whole.

I believe that using blogging for our induction class would benefit in some areas but not for journaling. As most of the other teachers have already responded, some of what we put in our journals are personal occurances or questions that need to be kept confidential. Eduacational topics, however, I think would be a good thing to start blogging about :)

8:55 AM  
Blogger melissa m.o. said...

Great comments by everyone. Lots to think about when it comes to technology and blogging. It is overwhelming for me at times. Feel free to try this out as a group and just see how you feel in a few months. Also, if you do have something personal to share, by all means, don't blog it. Send it to us or come and talk to us! Thanks for all of the great input.

10:20 AM  
Blogger ChingyenG said...

My first experience with blogging was reading a colleague's journal about his daughter going through chemo therapy. The topic was a bit too close to home for me personally so I have been shy away from blogging.

But with that said, I do believe blogging is a very powerful tool in generating public interest and discussion on any topic of choice. I don't mind learning about the technology. It's kind of time consuming though. Or is it just me?

3:17 PM  
Blogger Michael S. said...

After reading Karl's blog and reading the comments, I find the idea of blogging interesting as an extension of classroom activities, especially when time limits force shorter discussions. I do NOT, though, like the idea of using blogs as a method for journaling. I see the use of journals, real journals, as a method of verbalizing personal thoughts as a way for an individual to research his or her own thoughts concerning important events. I do not see it as a way to share these thoughts with others.

What I see is a shift in the expectations for the induction program, and I rather like the shift. Instead of journaling for myself (which I strongly urge for all people and plan on continuing for myself to enhance my future professional experiences) we are being given an opportunity to share with each other. This can only benefit us professionally and can hopefully continue to create personal relationships beyond our content areas.

I look forward to sharing experiences and revelations.

8:44 AM  
Blogger MickiL said...

I am beginning a blogging project in my Biology class so I am excited to see how it goes. I know that many students are using blogs in other classes and when I talk with them about blogging their attitude is usually positive. I am always looking for another way to engage students and get them to really think, I'm sure all of you are too. So, I am ready to blog with my students and I am willing to blog with all of you!

12:43 PM  
Blogger Karl Fisch said...

Great Comments! Several thoughts.

1. The time issue is certainly one you need to deal with. Again, I think the key is how can use blogs (or any technology for that matter) to either replace something you are already doing - because you think it will work better; or to add on to whatever you are currently doing because you think it enhances your students' educations. The teachers who are blogging with their classes at AHS so far have mainly taken the second approach at this point, but are starting to use the first as well. Of course the same argument about time can be made about grading writing assignments - do you still do those, Sally? All the research says that the more writing we get kids to do, the better - and blogging certainly gets them to do more writing.

2. The idea of personal versus public information is a very important one as well. I agree that there are certain privacy issues and certain topics that you would not want to blog about. But for everything else - and I would argue that the vast majority of what you are thinking about and discussing would fall into this category - I think public is better than private. It's this whole idea of transparency - just like blogging for students can be so powerful because they are writing for a larger (and often more authentic) audience, blogging for teachers is the same way. Except for the obvious issues that need to remain private, I think we need to adjust to being "open and honest" in a public setting. If we're not willing to discuss important issues among ourselves and our students in a public setting, how can we ask them to do the same? It's incredibly powerful to have these conversations in a public setting - and to invite others into the conversation.

3. Regarding Melissa's mention of "students who lack person to person skills due to the increase use of technology", you should be aware that research shows the exact opposite. Heavy users of technology - especially younger users - have better social skills than those who do not. Of course there are exceptions, but the research shows that the technology actually increases their social skills and encourages them to be more social. In fact, many of the "coolest" new technologies on the web are social technologies - including blogs, social bookmarking services (like del.icio.us), social photosharing sites (like Flickr), etc.

4. There are lots of good math blogs out there - and I believe both James and Barbara will be blogging with students this semester. Ideas for math blogs include discussions of concepts and techniques, links to math resources related to current lessons, and scribe posts - where each day a different student has to summarize that day's lesson on the blog (student as teacher is very powerful).

5. Finally, a thought about Michael's comment about not wanting to use blogs for journaling. Once again, I agree that there is a difference between personal journaling and professional journaling. I think what we are asking you to consider is professional journaling through the use of a blog. It is a powerful method for shared professional development. It does indeed ask more of you - but in a way that benefits all of you and - most importantly - your students. I encourage all of you to step up to that challenge.

4:49 PM  
Blogger lgaffney said...

I agree--I like this switch! I do feel, however, a little more pressured when writing for "myself" as opposed of writing for others to view. It's intimidating to know that what I write today could be seen by people across the world hundreds of years from now.
Thinking about that makes me wonder how my students will feel about blogging. I use journaling in class as a way to divulge personal thoughts and problems and I think the permanence and accessability of this arena would discourage that personal nature. Because of that, I tend to agree with Michael. I most certainly plan to add blogging to my curriculum, but by no means will I use it to replace a good thing!

11:12 AM  
Blogger Kitch said...

I, like many others, am also new to blogging. However, I am always excited about new methodologies that can help motivate and engage students. I created my first blog and am trying it with my students. Because it is a foreign language course, they must blog in Spanish. I guess we will see how it goes.

1:52 PM  
Blogger Caroline S said...

Using blogging in the classroom has its perks and major downfalls.
We must teach our students the safety issues surrounding the use of the internet. They can be traced back to the schools that they attened and who they are and where they live.

2:22 PM  

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