Friday, July 01, 2005

What Will's Learned

Will Richardson blogs at Weblogg-ed. He's one of the bloggers that inspired me to try a lot of what I'm doing with blogs. He's also been at it longer than most, as he's just recently celebrated his fourth birthday as an educational blogger. I'd encourage any of you interested in learning more about blogging with your students to check out his website. No, really. Go there now. It's chock full of resources, and they're all good ones. Here's a recent list of Will's "lessons learned" about blogging and students:
  • Weblogs are disruptive. I think that's what I find most intruiging about this technology is the way in which it changes much of what it touches. Weblogs disrupt the notion that the best way to deliver curriculum (or publish the news, or run a campaign) is the same way we've been doing it for eons. It's not.
  • Weblogs are personal. It doesn't matter what I blog about, I leave a piece of my soul every time I blog because I'm always feeling the reader on the other side of the screen, imagined or not. I'm not just putting words out there; I'm putting a part of myself, and even though I've been doing it for four years now, each post still feels like a risk.
  • Blogging is thinking. I know I say that all the time, but if you're not expending some brain cells when you blog, you're not blogging.
  • Blogs take work. They need to be nurtured. They demand attention. It really is like planting a seed and then consistently tending to its growth.
  • Blogs are not for everyone. Although I wish everyone had a blog, I can understand why many choose not to.
  • Blogs are as flexible as your imagination. I'm still amazed by the different ways teachers are employing this technology in classrooms, and I still don't think we've even begun to realize the potential.
  • Blogs are a risk, but not as much of a risk as some would suggest. Common sense tells us to protect our students and to teach them appropriate use, and by and large, most kids play by the rules.
  • Kids love comments. I know Anne said this as well, but it's so true. And they also think they know what this blog thing is about, which they really don't from an instructional sense. And therefore
  • Teaching blogs to students takes a plan. What do you want to achieve? What can you do with a blog that you can't do some other way? Effective use of Weblogs in the classroom comes when teachers have planned well.
  • Blogs empower students and move control away from teachers. It's something that at first takes a while to get used to, but to not see blogs as expansive is to limit their potential.
  • Parents like blogs, the ones that take an interest, at least.
  • I've learned more about teaching, about communicating, about the world, about technology, about community from blogging than anything else I've done.
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