One of the best pieces of advice that I’ve seen so far with regard to integrating technology in the classroom is found on page 45 of Blogs, Wikis, Podcasts, and Other Powerful Web Tools for Classroom, by Will Richardson. The advice is this: “start small.”
Although we are in the throes of an obvious revolution, we are not yet all on the same “virtual” page. Some students have had more exposure and enjoy greater access to computers than others and I think it’s important not to overwhelm or alienate those who may be playing catchup.
I am a big fan of the concept of blogging in the classroom and I foresee myself using blogs for many of the tasks that Richardson outlines in his book including: posting reflections on class discussions (extra credit for posting links that support or refute our arguments), collaborating on written assignments, posting homework, publishing a class newsletter, managing a book-club or literature circle, etc. (p. 38) However, I think in these early stages of the game it’s a good idea to let the class dictate the pace. As teachers we must be ready to react and respond to the needs of our students, but that doesn’t mean setting up a complex system of blogging right out of the gate.
I think, too, that it’s important to remember that a classroom blog is not a showplace for what we as teachers know, but instead what our students can do. I like the idea of giving them some say in designing the class website. I think that a project such as that would give the students a great sense of ownership.
Richardson gives some great advice on introducing blogs to the classroom. Whether we follow his advice or forge our own path isn’t as important as the idea that we must make sure we’re on the path that best benefits our students.