Wednesday, May 18, 2005

Student Blogs for More Learning?

Blogging is an application of technology that would not have been easy to forsee. After all, who would have predicted that 9 million blogs would exist today, with a new one being created every seven seconds. Millions of Americans sit at their computers daily yakking away at the keyboard about their hobbies, boyfriends, girlfriends, and misery. Yak, yak, yak. Blog, blog, blog. It's cathartic, I suppose. Educational blogging is an even more improbable concept.

Student blogs, like faculty blogs, are new to the blogosphere. As such, their efficacy in promoting learning is untested. There are a few English faculty who have students create blogs in order to improve their writing skills. As far as I am aware, I will be the first economics instructor in the world to require students to blog as a way to increase their learning of economics.

That's right! My plans are to require student economics blogs in my honors macro principles class this fall. Will blogging improve their writing skills, their research skills, their facility with technology? I hope so, because monitoring and commenting on as many as 35 student blogs is going to be some work. That midnight oil is going to be burning a lot this fall.

I'll need to develop a rubric so that students will know how their blogs are going to be graded. I'll also have to teach them how to create a blog plus a little HTML. I'll show my students what I consider to be an exemplary student blog. You can see it too. Just click on the title of the post and visit Cantillon's Paradise.


Blogger Dr. Tammy said...

Some suggestions:

Let your learners know the purpose of the blog. For example, UoP requires weekly "journaling" as part of graduate class requirements. The weekly journal entry is a "reflection" on the learning for the week. This could be something read, discussed, or experienced (in or out of class). The journaling is worth about 10% of the Final Grade. Also, at the end of the term, each student gets to "read" off their "favorite" journal entry for the class. You know, a journal entry that was an "ah-ha" learning experience.

The goal is to (a) have the learner describe what was read, discussed, or experience; (b) have the learner "reflect" on what they learned. For example, can they apply what they learned in a personal situation? Has the learning been meaningful?; (c) Finally, and most importantly, has the new learning challenged or changed their beliefs or behaviors.

The final part of the journal entry is key! We only REALLY learn when we CHALLENGE and CHANGE our beliefs or behaviors. If you can get them to provide an example of what they might do differently in the future, based on what they now know....whoa! You will experience some REAL MEANINGFUL learning occurring right infront of your face! Talk about feedback on whether your students are learning. This is it!

I think this is really an awesome idea. This is a record of student learning...growth...maybe even major tranformation (change...)

Good luck and keep us posted!

2:39 PM  
Blogger biomechanique said...

It seems to be working! Doesn't it?

5:58 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Please let us know how this turns out. I am interested in maybe doing the same thing this fall.

10:44 PM  
Blogger rosario said...

Blogging is an excellent learning tool. Once I established my blog, I actually enjoyed writing as well as reading for this assignment.

10:48 PM  
Blogger Paula Bustamante said...

Blogging is fun and it develops your writing and thinking skills. This is a great to learn through techology. Keep up the greatjob.

11:25 AM  

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