Blogs and mathetical learning situations.

Blurring the blogs?

Many teachers are disappointed because their attempt to
use a blog fails. In many cases this has to do with the observation that
students, in their private lives, use blogs frequently. So why not in classroom?

Introducing the blog with enthusiasm does not always have enough result. In many cases students do not like it. The mechanisms of private blogging are not the same for school use.
Sometimes they feel as entering in their privacy, in an unstructured and involuntary way. So.... end of the pilot, for many teachers.

Another reason is that students see the blog as just another task, on top of a growing mountain of study obligations. Older students sometimes reject the tool, because they reject the idea of having their thoughts read by anyone. They feel uncomfortable, shy and insecure.

Many teachers start with false assumptions. They see a blog as a construction or communication tool, where discussion will take place.
Blogs are, in essence, fundamentally individual. It is merely a one way monologue, where readers can comment, but not change the original posting, like for instance in a wiki or newsgroup.

Ruth Reynard points towards some common mistakes and gives practical ideas how to solve these problems. She mentions five points:

  • Ineffective contextualisation. Students need to know: where the tool will be used, how often, how necessary it is. They also need good scaffolding (temporarily help).

  • Unclear learning outcomes. This should be in line with course objectives, and also with student needs and objectives. Especially important, and many times neglected, are the transferable skills of critical thinking (like analysis, synthesis, generating new ideas, applicate ideas in a real situation). It's here where mathetics are involved explicit and where Reynard gives some practical suggestions.

  • Misuse. Blogs are not for discussion (like a wiki or discussion forum)

  • Illusive grading practices. Grading a blog should be clear. Starting from the assumption that posts are merely statements these can be used in rubrics.

  • Inadequate time location. Students need enough time. Some are faster than others.

With more research, based on practical experience like this, the question of evidence can be answered properly and a step forward can be made.

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5 reacties:

Anonymous Anoniem zei...

Thanks for pointing to this article in the framework of mathetics. It's practical and usefull. In my classroom i could use it already. I agree with the plea for more underlying research. Working at this in my own study.

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