In this presentation, I will take a look at the article “Avoiding the 5 Most Common Mistakes in Using Blogs with Students” by Ruth Reynard. I will summarize and respond to the article to answer two main questions: How can blogs be used as learning tools? And, What does the teacher need to consider before bringing blogs into the classroom?
First I will summarize the Reynards advise for avoiding the 5 most common mistakes. Next, I will give my personal response to the article. Then I will provide a closing summary of the presentation, roll the credits, and tell you a little bit about the author (me).
Reynard states that one of the big mistakes teachers make in bringing blogs into the classroom is that they provide ineffective contextualization. To avoid this, she suggests that the blog be clearly connected to the class content, and notes that one of the most effective uses of blogs is for student reflection. The next mistake is that teachers have unclear learning outcomes and only have vague course objectives. She provides the reader with a list of thinking skills that a student can develop through blogging: analyzing information, synthesizing various sources, exploring and understanding new ideas, and applying learning to a real world context.
The third mistake is that teachers will misuse the blog environment. It is Reynards opinion that blogs should be individual publications, not a forum for discussion. She suggests that teachers consider whether they should enable commenting. The fourth mistake is that teachers have unclear grading practices. In addition to providing clear rubrics, Reynards suggests that teachers first clarify and communicate the intended statement the blog should make. Blogs can be used for reflection, commentary on existing text, to explore new ideas, or application statements. Reynards points out the importance of communicating to the student which kind of statement their blog should make to fulfill assignment requirements.
The final mistake that Reynards observes is that teachers often inadequately allocate time to complete blog assignments. She suggests that blog assignments should remain open until the end of the course to allow students time to consider and complete assignments. She also points out that as an online tool, it may be easier for students to write longer responses in blogs since they can make references, embed links and media, so the teacher should also consider the time it will take he/she to read the completed blogs.
I think that Reynards makes some valuable suggestions for teachers. Her advice in mistake number two, and number 4, she clearly outlines the possible statements blogs can make and possible skills that students will be able to work on (Analysis; Synthesis; New Ideas; Application). I found this to be a very good summary and a good reminder that I must first have a clear learning outcome in mind and communicate it to the student. Communication to the student is paramount as well because students surely read blogs on their own time, and it is important to show how an academic blog will differ from their favorite fashion, band, or pop media blog. Reynard states that blogs should be used only as student publication, not for discussion or as wikis. I think that individual publication is a good first step for initial reflection and though processing, but the point of publishing is to reach a broader audience. So I think encouraging, or even requiring, students to read and respond to other student posts is a useful tool in engaging students in academic discussion. It is what makes blogging different from merely journaling.
Blogs can have many different education uses, from Reynards list of skills, low stakes publication, and to reach and communicate with a broader audience. When assigning blogs, teachers must have clear goals in mind, and must communicate those goals with students.
AVOIDING THE 5 MOST COMMONMISTAKES IN USING BLOGS WITH STUDENTS ARTICLE BY RUTH REYNARD PRESENTATION BY CELINA MEZA
INTRODUCTION• How can blogs be used as learning tools?• What does the teacher need to consider before bringing blogs into the classroom?
PRESENTATION AGENDA• Article Summary• Reader Response• Presentation Summary• Credits• About the Author
ARTICLE SUMMARY 1. Contextualization 2. Learning Outcomes• Students need a • Instructors must have context clear learning• Blogs are effective tools outcomes in mind for self reflection • Blogs can be used to and/or thought develop the following processing higher level thinking skills: Analysis; Synthesis; New Ideas; Application
ARTICLE SUMMARY 3. Use of environment 4. Grading practices• Teacher should decide • Teachers should whether the goal is provide clear rubrics individual response or a • Possible blog discussion statements: Reflection statements; Commentary statements; New idea statements; and Application statements
ARTICLE SUMMARY Time allocation • Blogs should remain open until the end of the course • Blogs may result in more student participation and ultimately more text for the teacher to read
READER RESPONSE What I found useful What I wonder about• Analysis; Synthesis; New • Can blogs be effective Ideas; Application as as more than low- possible statements stakes individual and skills publishing? • Can interactive blogging (commenting) be an equally useful tool?
SUMMARY• Blogs can be used to develop many educational skills• Teachers must have clear goals in mind
CREDITS• Reynard, R. Instructional Strategies for Blogging. Retrieved from http://campustechnology.com/Articles/2008/10/Av oiding-the-5-Most-Common-Mistakes-in-Using-Blogs- with-Students.aspx?Page=4
AUTHOR• Celina Meza• Preparing to teach English Language Arts to squirrely little sixth graders• First started blogging in 2011 to document her travels through Central America• Is continuing her blogging journey in IT 544 Celina in Galway, Ireland Fall 2011