Thing #4 – The Nature of Blogging

As I began reading the Introduction to Thing #4, I clicked on Dean Shareski’s blog post about effective blogs for teachers and students. I immediately started laughing out loud because I came across something that completely contradicted what I wrote about in my post from Thing #2. I wrote about how blogs were similar to journaling, just taken to the next level by incorporating technology and communication with peers. What I failed to realize is that effective blogging is much more than online journaling. Shareski explained that blogs should include hyperlinks to reference sources and give readers access to the information that inspired the blog post. He wrote, “Generally when I read a blog post that has no hyperlinking, I wonder about its validity. How many of us can write without crediting or referencing others? This is when blogs turn into online journals. Unless you are an outstanding writer with highly original ideas, a blog of this nature is not likely to last or at least not likely to gain readership”. This quote really made me think. The whole point of Web 2.0 is to expand our horizons through the use of the internet and communication. Online journaling is not true blogging because it does not use any of the advantages of being online! I am really glad that I clicked on the link and read his blog, because it really opened my eyes as to the ways blogging is different from other types of reading and writing. When you include links in your posts, it allows your readers to further explore the ideas that you have chosen to write about. I will most certainly keep this in mind when I incorporate blogging into my classroom.

I explored several of the blog examples provided under the Discovery Task of Thing #4. I don’t know why I have not become an avid blog reader before this point. I find it fascinating to read about other people’s lives and get ideas for things I want to do in my own life. One characteristic I really like about blogs is how personal they are. The bloggers truly let you into their world and want to share their stories. The first blog I clicked on was Learning to Grow, because the blog was created by a fourth grade class, which is the grade I will be teaching in the fall. I love how the students used so many different types of media to demonstrate what they learned from reading Trumpet of the Swan. The students created a wiki, where they posted screencasts, podcasts, games, maps, animotos, and polls about the book. I loved hearing the students’ voices and seeing how invested they were in the various projects. I think this is such a great way to get students excited about reading. How much more fun is this than taking a multiple choice test?! On the blog page, each student posted a comment about what they learned from this experience. The majority of the students wrote about the major themes in the book. However, one student’s post took a completely different spin. Instead of writing what he learned from the book, he wrote what he learned from the project as a whole. He mentioned learning how to create animotos and podcasts. It was obvious that this student found these tools to be very helpful and will most likely use them on his own in the future. I just find it so cool that this student reflected on the methods used to create the final project. It was obvious that the students were extremely engaged.

Another blog that stood out to me was This, This, That. Beyond the fact that this blog is completely adorable, it sends a really important message about viewing ordinary things as extraordinary. This little girl created a photo essay capturing various scenes around her community. I think what struck me most about this blog is that the young girl was able to create something on her own and share it with millions of people, who could then respond to her work and share their opinions and insight.

The last blog I will mention is PBL: Project, Passion, Play Based Learning. I watched the video about Caine’s Arcade and was literally brought to tears by Caine’s happiness, dedication, and imagination. I had actually heard about Caine on television several months ago, but had completely forgotten about this incredible child. This is such a wonderful example of why PBL is so important for children. They learn so much about the real world, as well as how to think outside the box and use critical thinking skills to solve problems.

I truly enjoyed browsing through the different blogs. I look forward to further exploring the world of blogging! 🙂

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