Will blogs transform education? Should every teacher have a blog? What about every student? Is this a case of pushing the tool not the pedagogy?
I blog, I enjoy it and I think it helps me get my thoughts in order. Despite not having a particularly large audience (double figures on a good day, treble figures once when I got lucky with re-tweets) the comments I get tend to be thoughtful, helpful and expand my understanding.
However does this mean that every educator should blog? Well this week I saw a blog post from Steve Wheeler who says he is
Steve is associate professor of learning technologies at Plymouth University and knows his stuff, if you look back over some of his recent posts you will find a number of reasons to blog. On the evidence of Blogging improving your teaching I found this nice bit of research
“Redesigning professional development: reconceptualising teaching using social learning technologies” which showed that using blogs not only helped staff with their professional development but also greatly increased the chance that they got their students to use blogs in their learning.
Moving onto the importance of students having a blog – I have posted about this before and the post contains links to research on the benefits of Blogs so I wont repeat it. What I will say here is the importance of students owning a blog, it is their learning and they should take it with them (although for those worried about security you might want to take a gradual process, starting out anonymous or within the vle – again I have blogged a bit about this here (its a bit of a ramble)). The aim should be that students should end up blogging in public – In this post by George Couros “5 Reasons Your Students Should Blog” the 5th reason Digital Footprint is a compelling reason for student blogs to be public.
So is it about pushing a tool? No! this video is what it looks like when someone is pushing a tool
Dont get me wrong – I love G+ and I have done a coursera course, but the video is about what the tools can do, not about education. (Oh – if you dont use G+ then its worth watching 4.40 to 9.40 to see why G+ might help you)
When I say everyone in education should blog, I am talking about the action not the tool, I am saying everyone should think/reflect, write those thoughts down and share them with people that are interested.
It is not a new idea, in fact Socrates said “The unexamined life is not worth living” – this was in response to the threat of execution, where (to paraphrase hugely) they said “go elsewhere and shut up and we wont kill you” his response can be paraphrased as “Id rather be dead than shut up!”
So if it is not the tool can we expand what we think educators should do? Is it in fact not just “All educators/Students should Blog” but “All educators/Students should have a Personal Learning Network” – I think that it is (here is a good post on how to develop a PLN) and that a blog should be a central part of that PLN.
UPDATE found this post about how sharing publicly makes you think harder
So will blogs (PLNs) transform education? I think they might if enough of us fight hard enough. So about that crusade, Steve Wheeler – I am off to put on some chain mail because I’d rather be dead than shut up!