Hello, all! First of all today, I want to comment on barbaranantz’ Oct. 25 blog entitled “Stressed”. In it she asks if anyone else is as stressed as she is and I have to say that I’m not sure that I can top her list of aggravations. But I, too, am wondering how I can stretch the hours of the day into just a few more minutes because I am having trouble managing all of my commitments, obligations, and daily unexpected occurrences.
With the overwhelming workload that I feel I am carrying, I surely did not need to spend the amount of time that I did today reading on the internet. But, I just couldn’t help myself. I found a site with so many interesting links that I finally just had to add it to Favorites and get back to work. Some of you may have already discovered this site: http://supportblogging.com/Links+to+School+Bloggers#tocLinks%20to%20School%20Bloggers4, but if you haven’t, I recommend it. There is something for everyone.
My effort to complete one of our “Things to Do” this week about how other teachers are writing about what’s happening in their classrooms includes a blog from the site about which I am raving. The author of the blog, Cory Peppler , is located at http://cpeppler.edublogs.org/. She is a freshmen and AP English teacher near Milwaukee with 12 years of experience.
Her blog caught my attention because of a comparison that she gave of herself and some of the teachers at her school. She calls herself a “techno-geek” and refers to the others as “non-geek colleagues (for lack of a better term)”. Peppler describes her excitement about using all of the Web tools that she uses and adds, “But, I am also constantly reminding myself that many of my teaching colleagues and most of my students are not familiar with these, or at least don’t use them to the extent I do. This, of course, makes me no better than them…just a different kind of learner.”
This reminds me of the attitudes of some of my colleagues. In fact, some of them wish computers and the internet had never been invented. I don’t rush to tell them that there is little likelihood that they are going away any time soon. Like Peppler, I would like to talk about some of the things that I am learning, and do sometimes, but I usually stop when I see their eyes begin to glaze over.
With Peppler’s students, blogging is a regular part of the class. She wants her students to consider the blogging requirement as an opportunity to learn the process and appreciate the technology, but she is afraid that they will just look as it as more work. The same types of self-questioning arise each time she thinks about incorporating other forms of technology.
However, all this angst has not stopped her from forging ahead. Her AP students use Google Reader and blogs for research and some of her students set up a wiki as a study guide. She goes on to say that she has come up with a good list of reasons that blogging is a good thing for her students. I don’t think I can say it any better than she did, so here it is:
- In English, we always talk about giving students a “genuine audience” for whom to write, but we can never really come up with one. So, we have them write for each other and for the elementary kids in the district, or we make up assignment with fictional audiences as a poor substitute. Blogging, by nature, gives student writers an immense, general audience…and an interactive one, to boot.
- It forces reflective thinking, which we don’t often give students time to do, nor do we show them the value of reflection in our fast-paced, bell-driven schedules.
- The feedback is (can be) faster, more varied, and more interactive than some red-ink comments from a teacher on a paper (that is probably not going to be revised anyway).
- Blogging gives students a voice, an opportunity to express their thinking and insight. Especially for those that may not feel comfortable opening their mouths in an intimate classroom environment (just as others may fear writing for a global audience!), a blog post may be the best way for others to ‘hear’ that student’s voice.
She reiterates the fact that blogging familiarizes students with the online environment in addition to facilitating the development of the types of communication that is used in college and beyond in their careers.
This is what is going on in her classroom.