Stephen Downes article, Educational Blogging (2004) discusses and analyzes the pros and cons of blogging in classrooms. The most intesting part of this article was his discussion about the “…..dilemma for teachers” (p. 4). How can teachers grade students on their blogging? What problems do they run into when having to monitor students blogs? Blogging is, in a sense, a diary of ones personal thoughts, feelings and reflections. If teachers cannot allow students to express themselves freely, it defeats the purpose of using a blog… Also, what about students that have trouble writing espressively? Teachers can’t penalize them for not having a blog that is more elabrate and certainly can’t compare and contrast their work to other students. Downes also notes a quote made by Mark Pilgrim, “Writers will write because they can’t not write” (p. 4). I absolutely love this quote because it really makes a teacher think about those students that are simply NOT writers… Some people truly enjoy the emotional and physical act of writing and reflecting, while others find it tedious and time consuming because they would rather verbalize what they are feeling. Will educational blogging motivate these non-writers to write or further discourage them? Is forcing them to participate in blog assignments fair?
Using blogs for class discussions seems much “safer” than assignning blogs as individual assignments. Online college courses are made of discussions where students post and respond to one anothers posts. Applying this concept to a blog where students could comment on one anothers comments as part of their homework is a wonderful way to encourage all students to participate. Those that are reluctant will not have to write a tremendous amount and those that are shy wil not have to worry about public speaking.