The art of blogging

I've found blogging has been key to my own professional development

This term, as in past terms I am one of those horrible teachers who forces their students to use technology. I make my students create a Google account just so we can all play in Google's Technology Playground. I usually don't have too much opposition to this, and if a student really doesn't want to create an account then they just complete their weekly blog in a Word doc.

Anyway one of the assessment tasks this term is to blog. The students are given a rubric of questions for the term that they have to address each week. Some really dislike it. Others find it beneficial to help them process what they've learnt. It's no different to writing in a journal (like the good old days).

So is there a right and a wrong way to blog?

What's really interesting about Gen Y is that they are very confident using certain aspects of technology. They appear to balk at something that might be a bit different, but they're generally pretty quick to pick it up and run with it. I guess for the purpose of the assessment task they are just reflecting their learning online. But what I find interesting is the internal thought process about their learning that I don't always hear in the classroom.

Often they don't bother with punctuation and there can be large slabs of text. It seems that the usual grammar rules get thrown out the window when they type. I'm not really so concerned with these things because it's the information I'm really after. But I do find it interesting and insightful that grammar doesn't seem to rate as an important part of the writing process.

The internal dialogue is rich with information for me and helps me pick up on those things I hoped they'd learnt and areas where they're struggling. It also indicates to me if there are things in the lesson that I haven't explained clearly enough.

Students often struggle with what to write. It seems that the art of thinking and writing; considering, analysing and synthesising new learning are lost on a generation that's used to regurgitating and memorising information for tests. However, all is not lost. I find with each week that there are more thought provoking ideas that come through their blogs.

There are those students who clearly have the gift of writing. I'm afraid I'm not one of the lucky ones. I wish I could eloquently piece my ideas together and weave my thoughts with beautiful images and analogies. However I do my best. I don't necessarily think there is an art to blogging, but more a sense of being able to communicate with others in a different space and time. One in which I'd normally communicate with someone face to face or over the phone. I've found blogging has been key to my own professional development and have found it's forced me to think about what I do in my classroom and also how I engage with others in the education community.

There can be no art if there is no blogging. So blog away. Delve into your thoughts and reflections and share what's on your mind with others. It's a great way to connect with yourself and others who might share in your struggles and frustrations. And it will also help you process what's working in your class and what's not.

This is an edited version of a post that was originally published at Techno in the Classroom on 27 August 2014.