Solomon and Schrum begin by explaining the “new world” we live in today; detailing how the world is connected via the web “24/7” and how this connectivity shapes the marketplace allowing anyone in the world to work from anywhere at anytime.(Solomon & Schrum 2007 p. 8)
This new market place places the demand upon educators to equip their students with the tools in which to survive in this ever changing and fast paced world of technology.
The article explains how the web has undergone a transformation by moving from the older version of “copyrights”, “single creators”, and isolated users to “shared content”, multiple creators, and collaborative users. (Solomon & Schrum 2007 p.23) “By the early 2000s, the notion of interactivity went from linking and clicking to creating and sharing. Now individuals not only find and read information but also create and share their own in real time. It is a new Web, known as Web 2.0.” (Solomon & Schrum 2007 p.8)
Solomon and Schrum stress the importance of educators to implement Web 2.0 learning
within their classrooms as this medium will prepare their students for the real world. “The shift to Web 2.0 tools can have a profound effect on schools and learning, causing a transformation in thinking. This will happen because the tools promote creativity, collaboration, and communication, and they dovetail with learning methods in which these skills play a part.” (Solomon & Schrum 2007 p.21)
Solomon and Schrum stress that one of these avenues for educating America’s students to these skills is Blogging. As they point out, “The United States has become a nation of bloggers, …..” (Solomon & Schrum 2007 p.14), and the introduction of Blogging into the classroom for American students will spur creativity by sharing ideas and experiences.
Utilizing and educating American students of all the aspects Web 2.0 has to offer, i.e. Blogging , is necessary if America is to compete within the global marketplace. “Only by learning this way and using these tools, will students be competitive for 21 st -century jobs. ” (Solomon & Schrum 2007 p.24)
Throughout this article, Solomon and Schrum referred to and quoted many excerpts from Thomas Friedman’s Book, The World is Flat, of which I have read and which spurred my concern for the future of the United States and our lack of education when it comes to new technology and our use of this medium.
As I am not familiar with these technologies and I am not a traditional student who grew up utilizing these technologies, Solomon and Schrum provide a compelling and convincing argument to me that I, a future educator, must become familiar with the new Web 2.0 applications, like Blogging, if I am to prepare my students effectively for the world that awaits them outside of classroom.
Catherine Poling, an Assistant Principal at Oakdale Elementary in Frederick County, Maryland, has taken Blogging into her school and implemented it throughout the entire spectrum of learning, i.e. “teacher-student, teacher-teacher, and student-student”. (Poling, 2005 p. 13) Poling provides examples of how Blogging can be used within the school system to act as a catalyst for creativity, motivation, and understanding.
Poling points out the differences between Individual Blogs, Classroom Blogs, Collaborative Blogs and Staff Development Blogs.
Poling explains that individual Blogs are “.. perhaps best used with older students who can establish their Web space, build an online portfolio, and use the space to post work or ideas commenting on the blogs of other classmates.” (Poling, 2005 p. 13)
For the younger students, she details the implementation and benefits of a Classroom Blog.
Utilizing a Classroom Blog, Poling was able to engage her students more effectively not only on the subject matter at hand, but also increased their retention by forcing the students to reflect on their fellow classmate’s work. “Students are motivated not only by the use of technology and the ability to type rather than use pencil and paper but also by the audience they have when writing online. Students begin to learn from each other as they make connections, ask questions, and draw conclusions while blogging.” (Poling, 2005 p. 14)
Utilizing a Collaborative Blog, Poling had students from another class chime in with their ideas and coursework, creating an even bigger audience complete with new ideas and spurring excitement amongst the students. Poling also used high school students to act as mentors on the Blog for the younger students.
Finally, Poling utilized a Staff Development Blog for her teachers. She saw the need for development amongst her staff outside of the one time workshops. This approach is beginning to take hold at her school as the teachers become more familiar with Blogging.
I enjoyed Poling’s article because it provided specific examples of how Blogging can be used throughout the entire spectrum of a school system. Most articles focus primarily on the classroom application, but rarely provide examples of how Blogs can be used to bring older students and teachers into the process.
I believe that Poling’s implementation of the Staff Development Blog will only rise in popularity. The more our teachers become accustomed to utilizing Blogs for themselves they will begin to use them for their students.
Poling's article provides a perfect example of how technology can and should be implemented in the school system from top to bottom.
Anne Davis, an information systems training specialist at Georgia State University with 20+ years experience in education, details the process of how to implement Blogs within the classroom.
Davis points out the advantages of Classroom Blogs and Individual Blogs. While the Classroom Blogs are driven by class subjects and curriculum, Davis explains that utilizing Individual Blogs for personal issues and interest provides ownership of the content for that Blog. “Blogs give students ownership of their own learning. They provide opportunities for their voices to be heard and let them see that people care about what they have to say.” (Davis 2008 p. 17)
Davis points out many times throughout her article that providing a medium in which students feel comfortable sharing their thoughts and work for others to review and comment upon enhances the learning process. “The connections made through comments from someone who reads their work makes the learning even more meaningful and relevant.” (Davis 2008 p. 17)
Davis stresses that while allowing students to present their own ideas and perceptions , the teacher needs to direct the students in the correct manner in which to post their ideas and what is appropriate for the subject matter.
Davis stresses the importance of allowing the students to create their own Blogs and post their own comments within the curriculum subject matter , but at the same time letting the learning process happen on its own terms for each individual student. “Let them write their way into their own understandings and discover answers to the questions they need to ask. Let them be creative, off the wall, and branch out with their thoughts.” (Davis 2008 p. 17)
Davis excites the reader to implement new technology within the classroom, not only Blogs, but podcasting as well; all the while focusing on the curriculum, the students, and the learning.
Her contagious energy is encapsulated in the following :“Go build that blogging community that will transform your classroom in ways you never thought possible!” (Davis 2008 p. 17)
Even though this article is short and not all too specific about the details of an individual Blog and Classroom Blog, the message is clear; Blogging within the classroom setting not only provides another avenue in which to enhance learning, it also engages students to take ownership of their education. I find this very true whenever I work with students. Any opportunity I can find to provide the students with the means in which to participate and take ownership of the curriculum and how it is disseminated proves its worth when the end result is higher retention and excited learners.
I especially connected with Davis after reading the following :
“ Make it Fun! Make it exciting! Think outside the box. Celebrate learning in innovative ways.” (Davis 2008 p. 17)
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BLOGGING in Education The large and small implications of this new technology Conclusion Solomon’s and Schrum’s article details the global issues pertaining to emerging technologies, their implementation in the market place, and the importance of American educators to implement these Web 2.0 technologies, like Blogs, within the classroom. This provides a clear picture of how the United States is falling behind many other parts of the world on this front. As Solomon and Schrum call for change, Poling and Davis provide change with their examples of how Web 2.0 technology, i.e. Blogging, can be effectively implemented within the school system for not only students, but for teachers as well. Everyone of these authors see the need for change of how the United State educates its students. Davis and Poling implemented change through the Blogging medium. “ We used to talk about reading, writing, and arithmetic as the essential skills for literacy. To be literate today involves acquiring new skills, including those of technology, understanding science, having global awareness, and most important, having the ability to keep learning.” (Solomon & Schrum 2007 p.20) Blogging provides a starting point for the necessities of literacy today. Main Menu Previous Beginning