I have held off blogging about this week's topic as I am a newbie when it comes to blogging. It was cool to hear Sue's presentation and it seems like many in our class are already benefiting from blogging in their classrooms. I have always considered myself pretty innovative when it comes to technology, but this is one area where I feel out of my element. It is not that blogging is technically difficult, but that I struggle to find organic ways where I can incorporate blogging into my daily routine.
After giving it some thought, I realized that I already have been using "blogging" with my students. As I teach arts classes (music) I have been using journals in my classes for years. I use journals for students to reflect on an issue/ subject or two express themselves on a number of issues. As Sue said, reflection is a huge part of the learning process and I encourage it as much as possible.
Would these shy students feel comfortable enough to express themselves freely in a blog? This is my concern as a blog is very public and once you have written something down, you also open yourself up public criticism. Would students be honest with themselves in a blog, or just post responses they think either the teacher or the class would want to hear? How authentic are people in a blog? I certainly am on guard when I post anything as I know my posts are public. What I like about journals is it gives the author a chance to be vulnerable as they know the audience. With blogging I personally feel a little guarded as I know my posts are public. Even admitting my reservations and concerns about blogging I hesitate to write as so many of my classmates seem to be prolific on blogging.
I do have some concerns about privacy and Sue mentioned this a bit in her presentation. The question was should student blogs be made public or private? While I see value in making them public, my first impulse is they should be private. At school we are very careful with children's privacy and protection from harm. I can't help but be a little hesitant as a teacher to encourage my students to post things publicly (although I know they already do this through social media). I agree that we need to educate as digital citizens and explain the various issues with authoring work that will be public. This is our world we live in and there is no denying that these skills are as important if not more important than many skills we teach in a school.
In conclusion, I am still sorting out my thoughts on blogging and how it will work in my classes. It helped me a great deal to hear Sue had similar struggles and to see how she is very effectively using blogging today.