Light, D. (2011). Do web 2.0 right. Learning and Leading with Technology,
38(5), Retrieved from
Summary: Dr. Daniel Light's treatise on Web 2.0 raises important issues about the role of blogging in education. He mentions that K-12 teachers who use blogging wisely can get their students pumped up about their learning by getting them to feel that they have something to contribute. And when students feel that they have something to contribute, they feel that others are contributing and become
curious to listen to each other. In another sense, classroom blogs become just another venue for the teacher to exercise their expertise with regard to getting students motivated because ultimately, as Light points, the best examples of classroom blogs being used to enrich class participation are cases where the teacher asked the right questions or provided the correct prompts that got the students fired up. However, implementing such a practice in the form of a blog has a leg up because when students can see each other's responses to the prompts from their own computers, as opposed to waiting for the next class meeting, they get inspired to have debates about what each other knows and what their thought processes are. This is especially true for students who might be too shy to speak up in class in person.
Question 1: How might this feature be useful in an English class?
Getting students to have a dialogue between class meetings allows the class to move forward at a faster pace. This in turn may permit me to cover more material in a given school year than I otherwise would if I had to wait until each class meeting to find out what students were thinking about the material they're studying. Blogging by definition also gets students more comfortable and adept with writing, which is beneficial to any class they take, but is absolutely essential in an English/language arts course, so I sure as hell would embrace this instrument of teaching.
Question 2: What about students who are still too shy or bored to participate in class discussions, even with the use of blogging?
Blogs don't have to be accessible to the class. Dr. Light mentions that one format of classroom blogging is to have individual blogs wherein only the teacher can access each student's blog; no student can read any other student's blog. This might free up the students who fear voicing their opinions before the class, either in the classroom or online, lest they be ridiculed by their classmates. Unfortunately, when it comes to students who still feel unmotivated, not because they are shy or timid or anxious but because of boredom, this is where I must remember that I can't save everyone. Some students are just slackers by nature and have no interest in school whatsoever no matter how the class is run or taught. Or, perhaps they aren't being properly challenged, and the solution to their academic docility isn't how the course material is presented but the curriculum itself.