Friday, July 07, 2006

When is Blogging Learning??????

I just read a blog entry by Konrad Glogowski in his Blog of Proximal Development. He shares some great observations about his 8th grade bloggers. He describes their development and how they became true learners in their own blogging community.

The students became involved in what Carl Bereiter has termed progressive discourse (1994). Sharing, questioning, and revising of opinions helped students develop a strong understanding of the given topic. They were engaged in intentional learning(Scardamalia and Bereiter, 1994), an active, purposeful search for meaning.

Textbooky words, but exactly the magic we WORK to make happen. It is still an amazement to me (should I admit this?) how learning happens. I love it when it suddenly happens, when it is authentic. Even though I've put a lot of time and effort into the learning stuff, I am still surprised when my students engage. (I love that about my job - it's like knocking on a door for hours and being surprised when someone opens it.) So, as a teacher I often feel like both the magician and the audience. NO, I don't mean I'm impressed by my own classroom tricks, I'm oooohing and awing at what students will sometimes pull out of their hats. Konrad describes in his posting how and when and why this kind of learning happened with his students. What I like is that he shares the MANY steps and contributions he made to make this magic learning happen.
But then, about two months ago, there was a sudden shift. The community took on a life of its own. Imagine a place where students start with a literary text and then, rather than spend most of their time responding to literature, they are given opportunities to explore the relevance of this text in the world around them. . . . Granted, it did not happen automatically. I did quite a bit of facilitating and guiding. I wrote about some of these topics on my own teacher blog within the class blogosphere. I took time to talk to each individual writer. I commented extensively on their work. I used my own blog to link to many entries, to show my students the connections between many individual posts. I suggested electronic and print resources. I talked about their work in class. We discussed individual entries.
Check out the entire posting and the comments that follow.

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