Friday, November 30, 2007

PT 1 - Reaction Post - Blogs and educational uses

I am currently reading Will Richardson's Blogs, Wikis, Podcasts, and other powerful web tools for the classroom. I am a proponent for using more (excuse the buzzword) Web 2.0 tools in the library and the classroom. I am part of a team that teaches are course with the word "technology" in the title. However, I find it challenging to even incorporate a small about of new technology in the curriculum. There is a lot of talk about implementing the use of these tools but for all the talk and support, there is also a large number of individuals who oppose it.

"What is the point?" they ask.

That is a great question. Why should we use these new tools? What good would it be to expose students to weblogs? podcasts? wikis? When is it age appropriate? Will it add more to my workload? These are all valid questions but if we are going to prepare our students for "the future" educators/instructors/librarians need to find a way to incorporate these tools to enhance their instruction.

I have just finished the chapters related to blogging and one quote that struck me is on page 40. Richardson writes, "There is no better way to understand the impact of the Read/Write Web than by becoming a part of it."

It took me a long time to start blogging. Actually, the first blogger I knew was Jason Toney . He blogged about everything even things I would have found too private to post. What my first impression of blogs were "open diaries" where you expressed practically every thing. I was fearful of them. I did not want to be so public with my thoughts or emotions and then, I started blogging. I started blogging about music and movies and food. Then when I started looking for a job after graduate school, I started blogging about my job search. I became more and more invested in writing and then people started commenting. I started a dialogue with fellow librarians, friends I met at SXSW and then one day, one of my favorite author's wife's emailed me. When would that have ever happened in my day to day life? For a person who is shy and pretty quiet, NEVER!

Now, the challenge is how to engage students in the process. We have a unit on internet safety where we discuss how things on the web are not necessarily deleted, that you need to be careful about what you post. If students have blogs, I think they will be more aware of the content they are creating, maybe it will help them be better digital citizens.


Jason said...

Heh. I confess that in those early days, I had no concept of how big my audience would become or what the impact of something like a "blog" could have. Nobody really did back then.

There are only a couple things I posted in those days that I think back now and say "i probably shouldn't have posted that" but much of my current life is directly related to the online voice I cultivated in that space.

Now, related to your post, we've talked about this but the problem grown folks have is that they don't understand that for folks born after 1985, there isn't a separation between offline and online worlds. There is just "the world."

If you can't figure out how to make that connection in the classroom, there is no way you're staying connected with your students.

Anna M. said...

I agree. I think I will have to elaborate in a post about that because how to you convey that to other librarians/educators?