Wednesday, March 28, 2007

Benefits of Blogging

A while back I posted about how to use this blog,
meaning how to post a comment and what to do with all of the bells and
whistles on the sides. One of the goals I have set for myself this year
is to try to introduce more free technologies that are available
through the web, and to show the benefits of them to us as
professionals. Whether they translate directly into classroom use is
not really the big concern here, but rather how we use these tools to
make ourselves better researchers, better learners, and thus better

In researching this and finding various applications,
I can't help but keep coming across the issue of blogging as
professional development and professional practice. I wanted to share
this quote from Christine Hunewell's blog which comes from a post
titled "A Blogger as a Writer:"

Usually I post late in the evening, just before the end of my day.

Throughout the day, I think about an idea, a notion, the content of the

day’s post. I find myself composing phrases at odd times. If I come up

with something I really like, I often make a note to myself. I even

started a running list of ideas about which to post - old stories and

memories, things that are on my mind, that sort of thing. When I

finally do sit down to blog, I have my dictionary application open so I

can check spelling and reference the thesaurus. I compose the day’s

post, then I reread and revise. Mull over my choices of words. Vary my

sentence structure. Make sure the paragraph flows. Try to be concise

but clear. I work hard on the ending trying for a big finish. When I

think I’ve got it right, I publish - and then shut down for the night.

But in the morning with coffee, after I’ve caught up on the news, after

I’ve checked email and the weather, I read the post again. If it needs

tweaking, I do it then. I find it helps in the revision process to have

that little bit of distance from the original writing session.

you read this, what did you think of? For me, it was the fact that this
is exactly what we try to instill in our students as writers and as
thinkers. One of the key ingredients to higher-level thinking skills is
the ability to revise and create anew. Hunewell's experience's show
this as a natural facet of the process of blogging.

There are two levels to think about here:

  • Blogging
    as a professional practice enables you to reflect on your craft and
    your methods, but it also provides you with an audience to provide you
    with feedback.

  • Student blogging is an idea that we can
    pursue. If reflection and writing for a wide audience is something that
    we want our students to experience in order to make them better
    writers, could this not be an option that might take them to the next
There are numerous concerns about the security and
safety of student blogs, but new, education specific blogging portals
are available with various levels of security.  Places like 21Classes are prime examples of this.  Also, if you have time, reading Christine
Hunewell's entire post is worth it.

A version of this post was also published at the Tech Dossier.

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