Sunday, April 6, 2008

Part 1 - An Introduction: Blogs/Blogging for Professional Development

Much of our focus for exploring Web 2.0 tools this semester has been to understand how these tools can be used in school classrooms. Generally speaking, we have mainly looked at how they would benefit student learning. But what about the professional development of teachers? How can these same tools further their own development as educators, specifically blogs?

The reasons which make blogging significant learning tools for students are the same reasons they enhance the professional development of teachers.

Blogs can:

* promote critical and analytical thinking
* be a powerful promoter of creative, intuitive, and associational thinking
* promote analogical thinking
* be a powerful medium for increasing access and exposure to quality information
* combine the best of solitary reflection and social interaction

(Eide Neurolearning Blog, 2005, as cited in Blogs, Wikis, Podcasts and Other Powerful Web Tools for Classrooms by Will Richardson)

Will Richardson (2006) also explains that blogs are ways for teachers to “manage and communicate the knowledge that gets created” and can be used as “articulation tools” to share best practices, lesson plans and learning objects. Blogs allow teachers to share with one another without having to be “in the same room.”

So as I see it, this topic really has two components to it:

* BLOGS (noun – “an online diary”) for professional development
These are weblogs which offer advice and information; places to read and retrieve information; engage in discussions.

* BLOGGING (intransitive verb – “to write entries in a weblog”) for professional development
This is the process of maintaining your own site to explore your own professional development. Blogging is expressing one’s thoughts through writing.

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