Sunday, November 9, 2008

Long Live the Blog

“Blogs will fill every niche in the ecology of public writing. They'll be good examples of blogs and a far larger range of sites that are sort-of, kind-of blogs. This is as it should be. It's also as it already is.”
David Weinberger
Fellow, Harvard Berkman Center

Recently, there have been numerous pronouncements that blogging is dead, or at least not what it used to be. The Economist and Wired magazines both published articles questioning the relevance of blogging in the face of the ever changing nature of blogging and the increasing corporate dominance of the once thriving amateur blogosphere. It is apparent that the cutting edge nature of blogging has become mainstream as nearly every media outlet and corporation has implemented some form of blogging to reach new online markets. In addition, various forms of blogging, from Twitter to Facebook, have taken over our conversational media adding new ways to share, network, and learn. This is all evidence that blogging in various forms is here to stay.

Educational blogging, or edublogging, has never been more relevant for teachers and students. Blogging is one tool that can improve the quality of teacher reflection and networking. In an age where technology has made it free and easy to connect with other professionals and experts around the world it would almost be professional neglect to shun such powerful teacher development tools. In the year since I have been actively blogging I have reflected and learned more about teaching and learning than in all of the professional development courses I have attended in 15 years as a teacher. In the past year I have had online conversations with teachers, professors, and administrators  in Pennsylvania, Georgia, Tennessee, Iowa, Connecticut,  Washington, California, and New Zealand! How could I have connected to these amazing resources without being a part of the edublogging conversation? It simply wouldn't have happened, and I would be less knowledgeable as a consequence.

If I am able to learn so much from being a part of a blogging network then why not teach students to be a valuable contributor to the online conversation. Students are already having online conversations on Myspace, Facebook, and interactive video games, so why not use similar tools to teach students how to effectively communicate with an online audience? Why not use these tools to teach students digital citizenship so they understand the larger context within which they participate online? Why not use these tools to simply teach students in a relevant and authentic way?

Various forms of blogging has become and will continue to become a ubiquitous feature of our online life. As educators, we need to recognize this and embrace it to improve how we learn, but more importantly, we need to use this knowledge to improve how students learn and make our classrooms relevant to a 21st century reality.

“The word blog is irrelevant, what's important is that it is now common, and will soon be expected, that every intelligent person (and quite a few unintelligent ones) will have a media platform where they share what they care about with the world.”
Seth Godin

I got the Weinberger and Godin quotes from Technorati's State of the Blogophere/2008 report.