Day 2 – A teacher’s reflection

I have attempted blogging in both secondary math and science classes with some success. I am being broad in my use of the term ‘blogging’ here, since my math blog was officially a wiki (but was basically being used in the same way as a blog). A couple of years ago, my first attempt to use a blog with a class was with a grade 12 biology class. I basically instructed students that they would be responsible for certain classes throughout the term to post both a reflection on that class (what was covered, etc) as well as any homework or upcoming events for the class. I arranged at the start of the course who would be doing which day, how it would be evaluated, and how to log on and navigate. It went OK. What came out of it for me was the idea that I wasn’t sure how to engage students with the blog.

Later, when I tried it with my math classes, I attempted a couple of things. One was to use it as a place to post information about the class (links to handouts, schedules, tests, etc). This was fine – it was great for organization, and with students who have sporadic attendance (of which we have many) it was a good strategy. I tried a couple of student activities on it too – for example, each student was to find a site that they found helpful for understanding a concept that we were studying, post the link and give a quick description. The students did it, but again I was left with the feeling that it wasn’t a ‘real’ use of blogging.

In order to really be blogging, we are selecting what to talk about, how to present it, what swing to put on it, who to gear it towards, and are getting something out of it ourselves – otherwise we wouldn’t bother. I question whether this can be accomplished with an assigned task. That being said, the closest approximation that may be available in school settings is the creation of e-portfolios, or through using a blog as an enhanced journal. My advice to a teacher using a blog for the first time with a class is to have a good idea of what you will be doing with it specifically, how you will be evaluating student contributions, and what the rules are for its use (both your own and the school’s). If it is open to the public, you should also be prepared to answer parents’ questions as to why this is so. There is a lot of value in writing and engaging with others about our passions; I’m just hesitant to extend that value to a formal, educational setting. It shouldn’t be used without first thinking about and working through how it fits into your program.



ps – I don’t blog (other than required). I think about it a lot, but it seems like too much of a commitment.


Posted in: Week 07: Blogs