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Classroom Blogging - "Learning Literacy"

Classroom Blogging: A Teacher's Guide to Blogs, Wikis, & Other Tools that are Shaping a new Information Landscape (2nd ed.) by David F. Warlick.

Although I have experimented with a little blogging in my classroom over the years, this spring is the first time that I have been systematic about using it to facilitate a whole unit of study. Specifically, we set up a classroom blog with student sub-blogs over at Kidblog, and I have had students blogging their way through their outside reading in lieu of a traditional book report. Overall, this has gone pretty well.

I have liked the experience well-enough that I would like to see if I can make the blog more central for generating thoughtful conversation amongst and with the students. Current events tie-ins are the first thing that jump out to me, but I am sure there are many ways to do this. To that end, I recently picked up a book on blogging in the classroom in hopes of generating some ideas about how to do this better next year.

The text was probably hot stuff in 2008, but is a little dated now. For instance, it makes a reference to MySpace. I mean, really, that's soooo four years ago. Still, I am hoping to find some gold nuggets along the way.

Mr. Warlick does seem to get the heart of why I think that classroom blogs are worthwhile:

The information environment in which our students spend much of their time is substantially different from the one that we [adults over 30] know, and it has affected how they seek entertainment, interact with each other, and how they learn. […] Information today is increasingly:

- Networked,

- Digital,

- Overwhelming,

- And exists outside of containers.

Each of these new characteristics impacts on how we use information to accomplish our goals – our literacy skills. (17)

What is important to us, as educators, is the direct and conspicuous relationship between blogging and literacy. Blogging is about reading, thinking, writing, and reading some more. It is about communicating. And through blogging and other Web 2.0 technologies students can be offered opportunities to learn through communication – within conversations. It has become their “learning literacy”. (20)

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