This week in class, we were to write a letter and draft a proposal convincing the powers at be to allow blogging in the classroom. I would hope with all of the advances in technology, and the desire to make sure that our students are able to compete in this digital age, that school districts would be open to bloggin in the classroom. At any rate, here is a copy of the letter that I drafted to go along with my proposal. I tried to provide evidence that technology is a necessary tool for using in the classroom. I have also included a video that I found that was made by students about the importance of blogging in the classroom. Enjoy!
Letter to School District
To: School District
Re: Why consider blogging in the classroom?
Not so long ago, cell phones, laptops, pagers, and fax machines were viewed as things that might have belonged in a science fiction novel. . Today, those technologies, along with the Internet are common place. The technological changes which have come about have affected every aspect of our lives. It is clear that in today’s Digital Age students must be technologically literate to live, learn, and work. Most experts agree that students should develop technological skills in the context of learning and solving problems related to academic content (Baker & O’Neil, 2003). Technology continues to evolve. In the digital age that we live in, students expect to use technology. Technology can be seen as a universal construction material, greatly expanding what people can create and what they can learn in the process (Resnick, 1998).
Because of advances in technology, the key term “learning” has taken on a new meaning. In today’s world, computer-based technology is an important part of any curriculum. During the last decade, technology expenditures tripled in K–12 schools in the United States; estimates suggest that over $6 billion was spent in 1999–2000 (Sivin-Kachala & Bialo, 2000). Research shows that technology tools support the development of higher-order thinking skills. Higher-order thinking and problem solving skills leads deeper understanding of academic content domains. I have witnessed in my own classroom how students apply these problem solving skills when using software programs, or Internet websites to practice, or learn, new skills. Often times, the computer serves as a type of “peer tutor.” One distinction that we have found particularly helpful comes from Thomas Reeves (1998) who describes learning “from” computers as different than learning “with” computers. When students are learning “from” computers, the computers are essentially tutors. In this capacity, the technology primarily serves the goal of increasing students’ basic skills and knowledge. Powerful technologies are now available that can help students transform information into knowledge. One study found that when students used the Internet to research topics, share information, and complete a final project within the context of a semi-structured lesson, they became independent, critical thinkers (Coley, Cradler, & Engel, 1997).
As the Internet becomes an increasingly pervasive and persistent influence in people’s lives, the phenomenon of the blog stands out as a fine example of the way in which the Web enables individual participation in the marketplace of ideas. Teachers have picked up on the creative use of this Internet technology and put the blog to work in the classroom. The education blog can be a powerful and effective technology tool for students and teachers alike. At this time, I would like to incorporate blogs into my own classroom. Based on the research which I have conducted, I strongly believe that blogs will help close the digital gap and foster higher order thinking skills. Please see my attached proposal for using blogs within my classroom.
Thank you for your consideration,