The phrase 21st Century Learning encompasses how the way students learn, and the way educators teach, is being changed by technology. With this change comes new opportunities and new pitfalls. Blogging is one of those opportunities.
As cited on the Partnership for 21st Century Learning website and by the American Librarian Association, the need for integrating technology with critical thinking skills has never been more important. Blogging is an easy step into understanding not just the technical aspects of putting together a blog, but also critically looking at the impact of blogs themselves. Students, within a safe blogging environment, will be able to see how anonymity can affect how their peers and themselves behave, for the both the good and bad. They can look at popular blogs and see how ideas are quickly spread, and how marketers and other commercial entities are taking advantage of this. Beyond this, students are able to express themselves and share these ideas with other students in a safe and managed way.
During my research I found people like Lanny Arvin, a teacher who tried blogging, and found that while the students were apprehensive at first, once they got going they really made it their own. He also felt it helped the class better share ideas and communicate with their teacher and their peers. One thing he mentioned I found to be of the utmost importance, and that is need to preserve student anonymity. Without anonymity students won’t feel safe enough to truly express themselves.
If give the chance I believe blogging can bring out that inner philosopher. The part of every person that wants to ask the big questions and have others listen. It’s this high level thinking that is missing from many classrooms. I found a great quote from a teacher, Kris Kelly, who says that blogging encourages high level thinking because, “focus is not necessarily on the content of the blog, but more on the process of constructing and evaluating knowledge helping us reach the sometimes elusive upper levels – analyzing, evaluating, and creating – of Bloom’s Taxonomy.” I then took a tour of a number teacher blogs where they share student work and even converse with parents. You can find those example under the links below.
Frameworks for 21st Century Learning