I’ve been thinking about comments posted by Carol as a response to my previous post entitled “What’s education got to do with it?” She poses some interesting questions about the effects of technology on traditional pedagogy. Should it replace traditional instruction? Is it necessary to always stimulate the student? How can blogging be used effectively in the classroom?
I’m struck by the feeling of “in with the new, out with the old”. I would hope that no classroom teacher would ever feel it necessary to abandon effective, time proven strategies that engage students. I certainly remember the teaching experience of taking a lesson from a pen and paper exercise to a technology driven exercise, and realizing I’d spent much more time and students had gained nothing more. Every effective teacher I know switches things up in the classroom. And some of the best lessons I’ve observed have been student centered lectures where teachers effectively weave thought provoking questions and connections into the fabric of the lesson. That can be very good teaching.
So the question remains do we always have to stimulate the student? I answer with a resounding yes. Good instruction is meaningful, it makes connections, it engages students in the learning, it sparks curiosity, it stays with a student and it is the teacher’s responsibility. Why would engagement, or stimulation, be considered to be in conflict with academics?
How do I think blogging can be used effectively in the classroom? I think we allow students to research a passion or a content specific topic thoroughly, to consider the ideas of others, to respond in an intelligent, thoughtful manner in a blog, and to look forward to the comments received. If students have real choice in what they want to study and to read critically about, especially in the subject area of ELA, and if they are allowed to write about that topic and to look for input from others who are experts, it will have more meaning than when they complete a project which is of interest to the teacher.
High school should be a place where students get something to say about what they’re studying. In New York State, much of that has been taken away through the requirements for graduation. Why not add blogging to the mix in teaching critical analysis with meaningful reading and writing?