Blogs, blogging, blogged…What are we really talking about?

 I started a class on Web 2.0 about three weeks ago.  Sometimes the VDOE offers classes for TRTs.  I guess they think that they should help us decide the direction that we ought to be going.  I try to take as many as I can because I want to make sure that I am at least keeping pace with what the VDOE has suggested.  The classes have been interesting, but in general they seem to be things I have a pretty good handle on already.  I think the classes are great for learning about what is going on in other school divisions and for networking.  So I will continue to take them as I have the opportunity. 

We are supposed to post to our blogs weekly about the course content, and of course since it’s on my blog, this assignment has fallen to the way side.  So here’s the post that I was supposed to do last week.  Required reading for this week is some older posts from Richardson and Dembo, both of whom I read (when I am reading).  The posts introduce the idea of conjugating the word blog.  Blog (noun), blogging (verb), and what the concepts we are talking about really mean. 

Just to summarize, a blog is the site where you read what has been written and perhaps comment on it.  Blogging on the other hand is the act of reading, reflecting, and writing about what you read.  Which then might be read by someone else who reflects and then writes about what you have written.  The continuing circle becomes what we know as the blogosphere.  Dembo then asks a question:  When we take this practice into the classroom, are we rehashing the same old skills are we teaching something new?    Is the skill set required by students who blog different from what students are required to do in a regular classroom. 

I am pretty sure that this is a new skill set.  Especially if we allow students to choose whose reflections they will read.  I could be said that they might have the same outcomes reading and reflecting on The Diary of Anne Frank, but I beg to differ.  Blogging becomes alive in a very different way then the reading, reflecting, and discussing that goes on in a regular classroom.  Blogging allows the student to choose what direction the discussion will go in.  It requires them to thoroughly think through their thoughts and opinions as they have to be expressed in writing.  Too a student in a class will add to the discussion a partial thought and be unable to fully express it.  Another student adds to their thought in an attempt to assist and then the conversation has may be seeded with thoughts that the student was in no way thinking.  If one of the participants hooks on to that idea there is a fundamental shift in the conversation that may never come back to the partially expressed thought of the first student. A student’s blog is her own.  The conversation never gets away from her and she is able to bring it back to her point and clarify to her audience.