Monday, September 28, 2009

Commentary on 'blogging as a tool for reflection and learning'

Thanks to @amcunningham for RT -
great! RT @jilltxt: A video lecture I recorded for HiB about using blogging in learning is up at
I really believe in the power or writing for 'an' audience, I see that Dr Jill (Walker Rettberg) has been able to marshal a lot of factors that make her students more likely to engage and 'get' the personal benefits of blogging:
  1. The course is about digital culture (4:52). It used to be that all the 'success' stories about learning technology came out of those who taught Ed Tech MSc's. These days it's the cultural anthropologists... But the point is that the activity in question must be directly in line with the students' view of their short and long term learning trajectory. I really doubt if my nurses see themselves as bloggers, as much as I know they'd benefit from it.
  2. Jill has regular and easy access to class with computers.
  3. While the students are under Jill's pedagogic control, she gets them writing.
  4. The students have well defined well designed learning activities (write down one thing you learned today, google a term and post a link to it) giving them a meaningful reason to engage
  5. She integrates blogging tightly with her teaching (online out of class and in lectures)
  6. 'The most important thing' was when she modelled 'good' networked learning activity.
  7. A critical mass of students engage with the concept and each other.
  8. 'Experts' outwith the confines of the programme comment on student's posts which accentuates the awareness of audience, further authenticating the activity: "there, I told you Stephen Downes was real" - Do you have a ready pool of bloggers in your discipline?
The implicit theory here is cognitive apprenticeship, which I'm a big fan of. These students are being given a clear trajectory in to a learning community - small wonder if it 'works'. Beware trying this at home unless you too can tick most of the above boxes. 'Good luck'? Not really, just good alignment.
One good video link deserves another: check out Neil Selwyn at - also in Norway ;-) (ah... the land of my fathers...)

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