Purpose of blogging in the classroom: As was stated by Richardson, blogging is not merely journaling thoughts or posting assignments (Richardson, 2010). Blogging requires a more academic approach, using analysis and critical thinking as the primary vessel for developing desired learner outcomes. As such, I would use blogs as a way for students to post analysis or research of the course work we are doing, and collaborate with the other students in our class as well as a grade level. Initially, I would like to start out blogging with my grade level cohort to establish norms and expectations amongst those who will be assessing students through the same medium. As a teaching tool, it would allow for reflection on daily lessons, links to activities/methods to try, and collaboration amongst teachers on specific grade level areas of concern. After this had been established, I would like to introduce it at the student level.
Rationale: I teach 2nd grade in a general education classroom. While young, my students have been born into a world where smartphones are no longer novel, and nearly every household has multiple digital screens that can access the internet in some facet. Our student's educational careers and beyond will be determined by their proficiency with technology and their ability to use digital resources to their potential for developing critical thinking skills and collaboration. These 21st-century learning skills are a necessity for productive and meaningful work. Blogging would be a great introduction to the realm of cyber-communication and the production of academic work. "They [blogs] can enhance learning, motivate students, and foster collaboration among learners" (Wang, 2008, p. 37). In my classroom, I want all my students to have the sort of educational experience described in the quote provided, and blogs certainly seem like the most relevant and practical medium through which to acquire the experience.
ISTE for students:
1. Creative Communicator: Blogging allows students to develop the skills necessary to communicate effectively and respectfully over the digital platform. Blogging gives students the practice of posting thoughtfully curated content, and how to comment and offer opinions/feedback to the poster constructively.
2. Global Collaborator: The beauty of the internet is its binding compounds that unite learners from all across the globe through the connection of the internet. Students can collaborate at a local level by corresponding with students of the same grade level across the region on a common state standard, or at the national/global level through carefully constructed projects. Activities that require data collection unique to a location or the opinions/viewpoints of individuals from various geographic locations are all made possible via the blog.
ISTE for teachers:
1. Learner: Educators can continuously improve upon their current practice and grow from the ideas and resources provided by other educators. Blogging allows for the instant transfer of ideas and links that can help to shape and mold the teaching craft. By actively participating in these global networks via blogs, we continue to develop with modern methods and best practices of instruction for students.
2. Designer: Teachers who utilize blogging can customize the learning experience to their unique classroom needs, those differentiating at a level more appropriate for the individual learner. Customization will be a critical factor in the education of the 21st century, and blogging allows for this experience. Through the individual choice of research and expression of voice, to the level of depth, a student is able to reach, the teacher can optimize this zone through their design of the blog format.
ISTE Standards for Students | ISTE. (2016a). Retrieved from https://www.iste.org/standards/for-students
ISTE Standards for Educators | ISTE. (2016b). Retrieved from https://www.iste.org/standards/for-educators
Richardson, W. (2010). Blogs, Wikis, Podcasts, and Other Powerful Web Tools for Classrooms [Kindle] (Third cite.edition.short). Retrieved from NA
Wang, H. (2008). Exploring educational use of blogs in U.S. education. Center for Teaching Excellence & Learning Technologies, 5(10), 34–38. Retrieved from https://files.eric.ed.gov/fulltext/ED503871.pdf