How do blogs support online learning?

If you are still trying to wrap your brain around blogs and how they integrate with online learning and personalized learning networks (as am I), then read Will Richardson’s nice reflection on the issue. How can a highly personal and expressive medium such as a blog support meaningful, socially connected learning? Richardson writes:

Additionally, while I am absolutely “writing to be read” here, meaning that I am conscious and on some level hopeful that others will read and engage in these ideas, I’m not reflecting on these ideas with the direct purpose of advancing the the conversation among a group of others that are connected in our study of this topic. If no one responds or engages, that’s ok. More than anything, blogging, in essence writing is a way for me to cement my thoughts into my brain, a purely selfish act.

I absolutely see my blog as an essential node in my online learning network.

The challenge for me has less to do with making my blog relevant to others and cultivating an audience. While having an engaged and consistent readership would be lovely and motivating, my challenge as a teacher/learner is striking a balance between contributing to networks of learners, such as Classroom 2.0, and cultivating the habit of thoughtful, reflective posting.

What do you think?


5 Responses to “How do blogs support online learning?”

  1. 1 Will Richardson 27 December, 2007 at 10:45 am

    Hi Jennifer,

    Thanks for reading. You describe the task very well in terms of striking that balance. I really believe that cultivating the habit of “thoughtful, reflective posting” will not only allow your readership and network to grow but will also model the best of personal learning for your students.

    Have a great New Year of blogging!


  2. 2 Catana 27 December, 2007 at 10:47 am

    My blogging is part and parcel of my own learning and thinking processes, which I then share. I’m still trying to find ways to make it a more connected, social process, but my niche makes that difficult. Moving the blog to a website is allowing me to make better use of what the internet offers. I’m barely beginning in that direction, but I do have a vision of something new coming out of it.

  3. 3 Sarah Stewart 28 December, 2007 at 5:00 pm

    Thank you very much for this post. It ties in nicely with my thinking
    about why I blog and why/if I want people to leave comments. In one respect I have been going round and round in circles because on the one hand my blog is a reflective journal for me but on the other hand I am feeling very ‘needy’ and really enjoy having comments left for me. So you’re right – its getting that balance right and I have just recently changed my strategy slightly from writing posts that will attract readers to writing posts that are really focused on my own
    personal reflections and learning.

  4. 4 Nick Pernisco 29 December, 2007 at 5:54 pm

    I think blogs are hugely important to the democratization of information. They’re even more important in helping students learn about their world without big media’s intervention. Students can observe their world and tell others about it, then others can respond with their own perspectives.

    I personally love using blogs and forums for posting assignments and having students respond… this is especially useful for timid students that don’t talk much in class.

  5. 5 jlubke 2 January, 2008 at 8:14 am

    I am tickled by the irony of four thoughtful replies to this particular post about the self-expressive quality of blogs (as opposed to more audience-centered modes of writing). What a great and motivating way to kick off 2008!

    To echo Will’s sentiment, I wish everyone a great New Year of reading and writing on the web!

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Think on this:

"What if we just ignored the status of students in other countries? That wouldn’t be especially neighborly, but at least we wouldn’t be viewing the gains of children in other lands as a troubling development."

Alfie Kohn

"When I hear people say it's our job to create the 21st century workforce, it scares the hell out of me. Our job is to create 21st-century citizens. We need workers, yes, but we also need scholars, activists, parents -- compassionate, engaged people."

Chris Lehmann

Train of thought:

These are the communities where I network and cross-post. Come by for a visit!
Classroom 2.0
School Matters (East TN, USA)
Media Literacy

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