On the blog Free resources from the net for special education Paul Hamilton has written a very interesting post sharing his views on student blogging in Jan Smith’s grade 6 class, and a video where he interviews his students about their blogging. If you have any doubts about the value of student blogging, then watch this video. You’ll meet students with different capabilities and interests, explaining what they have learned from blogging. They’re very expressive and specific about how their writing has improved with blogging – and not all of these students like writing. You’ll also notice that they’re able to focus on their special interests and passions in their blog writing, and you’ll see how much work they’ve put in with research and visual presentation, and how proud they are of their efforts. It confirms for me what I’ve been raving about of late – that learning occurs when it’s student-driven, passion-driven, and authentic, with an audience consisting not only of the teacher, but of peers and even people all over the world.
When I listened to the kids on this video talk about their blogging experiences, I was amazed at their ability to reflect and evaluate their learning since taking up blogs. They have become experts in their area of interest. Their passion has driven their depth of research, and they’re more likely to learn from each other than from information presented to them by their teacher out of context and unattached to people they know.
Listen to the girl who loves blogging. She describes blogging as ‘another part of me’. She blogs outside of school hours because she loves it. When asked to explain why blogging is better than normal classroom writing, she lists the feedback (‘The whole world sees my writing’); the fact that she can speak out and let people know what she has to say, that she can write. What does she write about? What has happened. She writes about what she has read, what has happened in her life, and in the rest of the world.
Take a look at the video. If you jotted down the advantages of blogging as these kids speak, you’d have a decent presentation for principals or staff in general in defence of student blogging.