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The Good Place: A society to match the scenery (Michael L. Umphrey on gardening, teaching, and neighboring)


Why should students blog?
   Becoming editors in the information age


In the last couple days one of you--I’ve forgotten who (it was said in voice so I can’t check the archives)--said you wanted to hear more about why blogging might be good for students.

I tend to judge these things by the effects on myself. I pay attention to what happens to me when I work on a blog. What I find is that I start organizing the information that floods in, and that the organization is my own, based on my sense of what matters and what’s interesting. Blogging has more to do with critical thinking--with evaluating information and seeing how various things might fit--than it does with writing. This is what I mean by “constructing a point of view.” This seems an important thing for kids in this information- and media-saturated world to do.

Will Richardson has a post along these lines:

I’m a big proponent for using blogs in the classroom for a variety of purposes, from class portal to online filing cabinet. But I’m most passionate about getting kids to blog, the verb. It’s a process that teaches them how to think critically about the information they consume. If they become better writers for it, that’s great. But it’s becoming a better editor that, in the long run, is going to be even more important to most students.

That said, I can see plenty of ways to use blogging in the classroom that would not be nearly as useful as other things that could be done with the time. An article in Teacher Magazine discusses both the promise and the pitfalls of student blogging. A teacher who has worked with student bloggers said:

“A blog is so spontaneous, and student posts are typically full of errors of syntax and grammar,? Hamilton says. “If an entire class revolves around this, where will students get the instruction they need in conventions of the language? That’s especially true in alternative schools such as ours, where most kids arrive not adequately trained in English.”

If carefulness and thoughtfulness can’t be taught, blogs will be far more trouble than they’re worth. Idle chatter, whether done live or online, doesn’t seem of great importance.

Posted by Michael L Umphrey

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