Saturday, March 16, 2013

Why Blogging Isn't Transformational for Our Students Yet

Dr. Chris McGee wrote a blog post wrote a post on his blog Coaching in and out of the Classroom on the importance of blogging. It helped me verbalize some thoughts that had been swimming through my head for some time:

There are many things more important than blogging, especially how it is often used in the classroom. As you know I argue that blogging and other forms of social media have the potential to be transformative when they are used to connect students with others around the world. Unfortunately this isn't the norm of blogging or social media use by our students. 
When teachers refer to authentic audience they often confuse it with a larger audience. Authenticity means that the readers want to read the writing. They choose it, they don't have it chosen for them (even when they are assigned to do it through comments4kids). We don't develop authentic audiences with our students because that requires we give up control of where the students go and what they read.  
If we want blogging and commenting to be transformative we have to let students choose to blog, choose to respond, and choose to not participate. Then the power of connections can truly transform our students thinking. I truly believe that connections made by future generations online will help bring about a more peaceful and caring world, the question is will educators lead the way or will we continue to stifle it through our lack of understanding?
What do you think? Is this right or am I full of crap? I would love some dialogue about this.