Since blogging is really a form of writing, it’s that not surprising to discover that educators have realized the power of this media as an educational tool. Of course, like anything new, this is still taking some time to spread through all of academia, but it is spreading. Will Richardson’s book, Blogs, Wikis, Podcasts, and Other Powerful Web Tools for Classrooms, examines the use of these alternative forms of discourse in the classroom. The author’s purposes that educational systems should take advantage of these web tools because “today’s students may not be well-suited to the more linear progression of learning that most educational systems employ” (7). He believes that the potential of these web tools is not being fully utilized, especially by educators, and he provides practical solutions to this issue – how to combine the Read/Write Web with reading and writing in the classroom.
Some of Richardson’s suggestions for integrating technology and teaching includes using blogs to create a class portal, digital filing cabinet, or E-portfolio. As a class portal, blogs provide an area for instructors to archive course material and communicate with students. Rather than turn in hardcopies of assignments, students can use a blog as their own public filing cabinet and post assignments on-line. To highlight their best work, students can use blogs to collect, organize, and exhibit their efforts via an electronic portfolio.
These are just a few ideas provided by Richardson in this slim volume. Teachers who are looking for ways to engage students and meet them, at least half way, on the Read/Write information highway will find practical, pedagogical techniques to consider as well as step-by-step how-to instructions. You can also find more about education and blogging at his blog, http://www.weblogg-ed.com/ .