I’ll be the first to admit that blogging isn’t really my “be all, end all.” I often find it arduous to sift through an internet community and field saturated with blogs, reading post after post, like….
However, I will concede, that when executed and managed appropriately in a classroom, blogging can be effective for some as a means of connected learning. In an era where anything you want to know is available online for free or a relatively low price, an academic setting is no longer the only place a person can gain expertise on a given topic. Furthermore, technology as a whole (not just blogging) has revolutionized both education and entertainment. No longer are education and entertainment mutually exclusive. With an ever increasing dependency on technology, and the unique attributes of the millennial era, is it really enough to rely on traditional content delivery as a primary mode of educating? I think not.
Teachers from all settings are in a race to reinvent their relevance, redefine their scope, and remix their content. From this standpoint, I think connected learning (i.e. the integration of various forms of technologically enhanced learning to educate and create classroom community) is essential. This idea sounds fantastic right?! Tell your students to get a twitter, web page, blog, or what-have-you, to increase learning! This is extremely effective, and in-fact, there ARE research studies in higher education that show this (albeit they vary in objectivity)*…. But, yep, you knew it… there’s a “but” (in my opinion, at least).. In my academic experience, specifically in higher education, too often educators assume that their students know what social media etiquette is, or what comprises virtual classroom community. To me, this is a pedagogical pitfall in connected learning. I’ve yet to have an instructor mediate this outside of a short paragraph in the syllabus which encourages students to think before they post. However, I think an effective way to remedy some of the ambiguity and proactively facilitate student enthusiasm related to blogging might be to defines etiquette and virtual community with your students. Create and facilitate a dialogue with each class surrounding what their perceptions are on etiquette (i.e. blogging, tweeting, or commenting on their peer’s work), and build the classroom’s principles for social media engagement. I think this may be a viable solution because it provide some autonomy to an otherwise captive audience and ensures a safe space for expressing one’s ideas and opinions.
What are your thoughts? How have your connected learning experiences gone (as a student and/or an instructor)?!
*Carlson S. Weblogs come to the classroom. . The Chronicle of higher education. 2003;50(14):A33.
Downes S. Educational Blogging. Educause review. 2004;1-6(18):2-2.
Ferdig R. Conent delivery in the ‘blogosphere’. Technological horizons in education 2004;31(7):12.
Huffaker D. The educated blogger: Using weblogs to promote literacy in the classroom Association for the Advancement of Computing in Education Journal. 2005;13(2):9.
Poling C. Blog on: Building communication and collaboration among staff and students. Learning & Leading with Technology. 2005;32(6):1-5.
Richardson W. Web logs in the English classroom: More than just chat. English Journal. 2003;93(1):3-3.