Sunday, October 12, 2008

Blogs in the Classroom

Now that I have been exposed to the joys of iLibrarian (brilliant!), I've found myself trolling through some of the back posts. The one about the article, "Avoiding the 5 Most Common Mistakes in Using a Blog with Students," really started me thinking about the classes I have had and the way in which my teachers have used or misused that type of technology. The UW uses a blackboard program that, besides crashing every other day, I have never seen used correctly. Using a Blog with a class... now that is an interesting notion. In fact, I had a particularly horrible blackboard experience in my Russian 200 class. The Professor posted handouts for us to print and videos for us to watch in a disorganized and disjointed manner, that was only compounded by the fickle nature of the system. Now, if she had used a Blog, that would have been a much more productive tool - something that she could operate outside of the school's system (meaning those of us who lived off campus could access it from home) and still create a very usable posting method.

A light bulb went off when the author, Ruth Reynard, wrote "The essential difference between a blog and other online tools is that it is intended to be an individual publication: a one-way monologue or self-post to which others may comment but do not contribute." I think that is a distinction that I had never before made and that I will apply when evaluating blogs and wikis in the future - the blog is much more like a classroom, with a teacher teaching and students commenting; whereas the wiki is more of a study group where people are more interested in communicating with each other on an equal playing field.

All of this is easily applied to our library blogs and wikis. And, I have to say, that I think we've got it right so far. Go team! It would be interesting to see if a library blog would work - one that was written by us for the public.

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