To begin I read all the blog posts of a student from another class. Her posts were informative, if sometimes a bit short. However, not everyone is as prolific a writer as I am! By reading her posts I was given a new perspective on the blog assignments. As time permits, I would like to read everyone's posts in all the classes. I had never posted to a blog before starting this class. I had never thought about using a blog with my class. Now I think it is a good idea that has many uses. For instance, with a blog you could blog homework assignments. Right now, the school my daughters attend has a site that the homework is posted on. Some teachers are better than others about posting everyday. Mobile County has a site where you can check your student's grades. Both of these things help a parent keep up with what is going on at school that is not dependent on the student. If a teacher posts the homework everyday, it will help the parents help their students. A post to a blog about what was done in class that day is a good idea. This could be especially effective when dealing with science experiments. A parent could read the blog, and then engage the student in conversation about what they did in class. This reinforces the lesson taught in school without seeming like homework. However, it would have to be more involved than a post that said "We looked at plants today."
One drawback to blogs is that a teacher might spend time blogging when she should be teaching. It does no good for a teacher to have a blog where she blogs about the day if she did not teach anything to the students. If a teacher spends all his time at the computer instead of interacting and teaching the students, he has turned from a teacher to a blogger, and as such should be out of the classroom. The only way a teacher should be in a class that where she blogs and spends all the time at the computer is if she is teaching a computer course, and that does not usually happen in an elementary school setting.
Back to the positive side of classroom blogs is that they are also a great way to teach new technology to the students. By using a class blog, you can teach students how to create a pod cast. Groups can pick a topic and not only blog about their topic, but make a pod cast on the topic, as well. This teaches the technology and teamwork at the same time. The students can be given a daily or weekly topic to blog on. As a teacher, I might have the students write on paper their blog entry and then randomly pick a few students per week to upload their entry to the blog. This could also be seen as a positive reinforcement for good writing. Learning to blog, create pod casts and video pod casts, twitter, etc will be beneficial to the students. It will help prepare them to be part of a bigger world where technology abounds.
Blogging in the classroom must not take the place of teaching. It would be easy to find pod casts of anything you want to teach the students, sit back, and let them watch the video. The technology is wonderful, but it can not replace a teacher. As easy as it might seem to do, using blogs and pod casts instead of teaching would be a very bad idea. Also overuse of the blogs and pod casts is a bad idea. We want the children to broaden their horizons, not contain themselves to a box with a screen. If the students are allowed to do assignments exclusively on the computer, much will be lost. The first thing that could be lost is handwriting skills. If you always type how can you learn to write? If all conversations with others are in blogs or on Twitter, how will a student learn to form personal, face-to-face relationships?
These are all things to consider, good and bad. Not everyone will agree with my assessment, but that's OK. If we were all the same the world would be a very boring place. After all is said and weighed out, I will still use blogging and other types of technology in the classroom. I will just be sure to use it in moderation.