The other week I set up my own professional blog account through Blogger. At first I found it very daunting as I was not familiar with the reasoning of displaying your ‘personal diary’ for everyone to see and comment on. But since then I have come to value the importance of sharing our learning experiences and ideas with the world of people that are in the same profession or interests. I have also come to realize that I can also go back and discover new and exciting functions and tools that I missed along the way that another blogger has picked up. Blogs are a good way to reflect upon how far I have come and how far I still have to go. I am excited to journey through this learning experience with my university colleagues.
Wikipedia (2009) defines a blog as, “a type of website, usually maintained by an individual with regular entries of commentary, descriptions of events, or other material such as graphics or video” (Wikipedia, 2009, p.1). Blogs can also be used as a professional tool for both teachers and students in a community of practice (Wenger, n.d.). This new and insightful understanding has been stimulating my thinking and innovation in the professional context of a classroom. With real authenticity of tasks used, this tool will beneficial in my profession to increase learning and engagement.
Through Kearsley and Shneiderman’s Engagement Theory (1999), blogs can be incorporated to create an authentic cross-curricular learning journey. In a scenario, if the learners of a year five class were in a unit called, ‘Around the World in Ninety Days’, the first step of “Relate” would involve “communication, planning, management and social skills” (Kearsley and Shneiderman, 1999, p.1). The learners would work together with the teacher, to identify the task requirements, for example, how many countries they have to visit, where they should stay (hotels or with family), and what things they should experience at each country. The second phase, “Create”, the learners work in groups to create an itinerary and identify the problems that they would encounter, for example, they will need to book their hotels in advance, identify possible transport when they arrive in each country, identify necessities before they leave the country, such as pass port and a doctors check up...etc. The third phase, “Donate”, the learners’ put on their travel agent thinking hats to identifies a targeted audience of whom this trip would be appealing to, for example, a business group, a family, adventurers and thrill seekers. They would then use that targeted audience to identify the activities they would do and the places they would stay. Once they have planned their itinerary they then use blogger to blog their way through their holiday as they visit each country and experience new things along the way. This is just one of the exciting ways that blogging can be used in the classroom, but only with explicit teaching and with links to the curriculum.
I am eager to use this blogging tool in my classroom to engage my learners and provide them with new experiences that will motivate them to be lifelong learners.
Until my next learning experience,
Google. (2009). Blogger. Accessed July 20, 2009, from: https://www.blogger.com/start
Kearsley, G., & Shneiderman, B. (1999). Engagement Theory: A framework for technology-based teaching and learning. Retrieved July 21, 2009, from: http://home.sprynet.com/~gkearsley/engage.htm
Wenger, E. (n.d.). Communities of practice, a brief introduction. Retrieved July 25, 2009, from: http://www.ewenger.com/theory/
Wikipedia. (2009). Blog. Retrieved July 25, 2009, from: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Blog