When I think of integrating technology or new media into teaching, I ask myself “Does the new media facilitate learning that would be more difficult or impossible without the technology? In reading an article by Stephen Downes entitled Educational Blogging, I found some answers to this question. A 5th grade student writes, “Blogging is an opportunity to exchange our point of view with the rest of the world not just people in our immediate environment.” This seems to me the most compelling answer to the question. Downes mentioned that it “offers students . . . a support tool to promote reflective analysis.” I believe it would be just as easy to use paper and pen to reflect but the one thing that would be more difficult without the blog technology is “a learning community that goes beyond the school walls.” I also think that it allows for personal publishing which would be difficult without blogging technology.
I am not clear about what the advantages are for teachers using blogs to replace their class web pages. I am not sure how it simplifies the task. I am also not sure that they are the best technology to use in organizing in-class discussions. Will Richardson stated in the article that “The blogging process just seems to .. . be closer to the way we learn outside of school.” There has been a lot criticism leveled at situated learning and communities of practice in traditional schooling. The traditional school structure does not lend itself well to these concepts; however, blogging makes that more possible and even less difficult.