Tuesday, August 22, 2006

First Day of 5th hr. Class

On the first day of class, Thursday, August 17, my 5th hr. A.P.U.S. History students immediately asked, "Are you going to make us blog?" I said no. They said, "Good!" Okay, what did they mean??? How should I interpret their comment? Their question made me really think about a couple of issues I hope we address. How many of us are requiring blogging in our classes? Are we adding to the work we are already requiring of students? Are we artificially introducing something into our class requirements? Does blogging replace some activities we were already doing? Or, does it simply add to the workload of student and teacher? I need to explore some ways to find balance on this issue for both teachers and students so that blogging will be meaningful, relevant, and appropriate.


At 8:36 PM , Blogger Karl Fisch said...

Well, ask them.

Blogging is just like everything else, it can be used well or used poorly. I think it's an incredibly powerful technology that helps students write for a wider, more authentic audience. In our experience last year some of the students also indicated a dislike of blogging. When we asked them why, they replied because they had to think too much. Okay . . .

I think that if you are just "adding on" blogging to everything else you already do, then it's probably not a good idea. You need to look at what your goals are, what your purpose is, and see if blogging can help you achieve those better than what you already do. I think in some cases the answer will be yes, in many others the answer will be no. But I wouldn't just dismiss it because they don't want to do it.

What many of us are asking them to do by becoming more active participants in their own learning is much more difficult for them - they will naturally be resistant. It is much easier to sit back passively and have the information delivered - then spit it back on the test. But in the long run, which do you think is true learning, which do you think is more valuable and helpful to them?

Finally, what if they asked "Will we have to read in this class?"

At 9:37 PM , Blogger Terry Sale said...

Last year my AP students resisted blogging because they saw it as extra work. They do already do quite a bit of writing. This year's class seems much more receptive, but some expressed the fact that they have been hit with blogging from all sides. As Karl says, I think the key is showing them how it can be meaningful. For some writings it just makes more sense for all the students to see each others' ideas instead of just communing one-on-one with the teacher. I keep telling my students that they're going to face much more on line work in college.

At 7:29 AM , Blogger Roger Hess said...

As I told you last week, blogging was optional in my honors classes last semester. It was not for extra credit, but it could mildly help the participation grade of the students who were relatively less active in class. Participation on the blog was quite good, and students really put a lot of thought into their comments.
Even if you do require blogging, as long as it is not "busy work" and it is not merely in addition to what else you do, I would expect students to respond positively (at least eventually).

At 10:31 AM , Blogger Meyer said...

The key word I saw was "make." I have much better feedback, participation, and thoughtful eonversations when I have simply offered a forum. Ask the AP Govt kids and those that are blogging would ask me NOT to stop offering the option. Certain posts last year died on the vine as I tried to force a focus. this year, they have chosen the focus and they have responded in an almost obsessive manner!


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