Last week I visited the blog, At The Teachers Desk (http://attheteachersdesk.blogspot.com/). I read the most recent post by William Chamberlain. The title of the post was Posting and Commenting are Only the Beginning. In this blog post Chamberlain is telling of an upcoming presentation he has to give about his comments4kids blog and hashtag. He is voicing his frustration because he feels, while the comments4kids blog and hashtag are encouraging comments to be made on the student's blogs, that there is more growth needed in the way of meaningful interaction. I went a little further and read some of the comments that were left there for him by visitors to his blog post. Many of the comments were of encouragement. Some were letting him know how they were having success with their students. Some were encouraging him to move forward with the change that inevitably fuels any programs successful growth. It appeared to me that he has a great online community of educators collaborating with him. I think that alone is excellent.
I got the impression reading the post that William Chamberlain is looking to improve student's experiences with blogging and make them more fruitful on an intellectual level. I think that his drive to grow for the sake of the students is just what they need. I hope that thinkers like Mr. Chamberlain continue to have influence over the ideas that are applied in education.
This week I visited Mr. Chamberlain's blog again. His most recent post was an answer to some questions about his class blog. The first question asked how he felt his blog improves classroom instruction. Mr. Chamberlain responded saying that his class blog promotes consistency in his lessons and makes them available at home as well. He also sited the usefulness of internet tools such as definitions, spell checking, and fact checking for the students when they are composing their posts. The language barrier if present can be overcome with his blog as well. That could be very useful for students whose parents may speak another language. And finally Mr. Chamberlain mentioned what I like most about students using the internet, independent learning. In this world where humans need to be on the cutting edge in order to rise to success the drive to keep one's self informed is a necessity.
The second question he addresses is one that asks if he has seen increase in participation and interest with the implementation of a class blog. He answers that while working on the blog students are allowed to work at their own pace and that is beneficial for them. He says another plus is not having to repeat instructions. But in answering if interest is increased Mr. Chamberlain says that simply using the computer doesn't increase interest. He says that formatting a well designed lesson plan is still primarily responsible for interest level. I found his answer to this one to be very objective and honest.
The final question asks if there are any difficulties in using the class blog. He says the student's access at home and attitude in general (attitude is everything if you ask me!) can be an obstacle. Also when the internet or computer is slow or not working properly it is difficult. He says the solution to this problem is to always have a back up plan on standby so the lesson may go on.
I am thinking about some of the teacher posts I have read all the time now. I begin to imagine what type of classroom I will have when I begin teaching. I expect it to be very different from the job I have now. I am changing careers so I have a different perspective than many college students entering their careers for the first time. I have mixed emotions. I know that I will be happy to be doing a job that touches lives in a profound way (I pray). And I also expect that some challenges will await me. I am looking forward to staying in touch with teachers around the world for encouragement. I am filled with hope at the whole concept of idea sharing on the internet. I could go on and on so I'll close.
I appreciate the struggles and successes of these teachers. They are informative and inspiring. To Mr. Chamberlain I thank you for making your thoughts available to me and others. We may just become better educators as a result.
Mr. Chamberlain's Blog