Saturday, January 16, 2010

Kaia and Room 10 - Why Blogs and Commenting on Blogs Are So Important

John Strange is a committed advocate of blogging. All students in EDM310 must create a blog and post all of their EDM 310 projects to that blog as well as weekly posts. In his post Kaia and Room 10 - Why Blogs and Commenting on Blogs Are So Important John explains why he feels blogs are so important to teaching and learning. This post is filled with links to the events, videos and posts that John discusses. Be sure you visit these links as well. They are the important part of this post.

Please return here to leave you comments. The questions are the same:

1. To what extent do you accept the implicit and/or explicit arguments of this blog post?
2. Are there any implications that you can identify for the College of Education and/or the courses you teach?
3. If we were to attempt to meet the future technological needs of our students, what assistance would you need?
4. Any other comments you would like to make.

Thank you!


  1. Well, John—I spent a lot more than 30 minutes on this blog. I loved it! I read the blog about Kaia, all of the comments in response to her Photo Essay I then went to Dillon’s blog and read everything she had written and watched the video she made reading Brown Bear, Brown Bear to Kaia. Finally,I watched the entire Skype session of Kaia’s dad and your class.

    You are doing some wonderful things to prepare our students for their future professions. These are the kinds of “assignments” that students don’t even view as assignments. I could “hear” the excitement in their comments to Kaia’s dad and they were so engaged during the Skype session that I am sure they forgot they were sitting in a college classroom.

    I have to admit when I first saw our assignment for this week, I was a little discouraged about the amount of time I would be spending reading and watching the videos. Once I got started, I couldn’t stop! This is so very exciting to me that our students are learning how to connect and collaborate with the world.

    The Skype session was my favorite. The questions that the students asked Kaia’s dad showed how interested and connected they were during this session. This is such a benefit of technology and—John—you are showing them how to use it as a learning tool. Thank you for that!

    As you said good-bye to Kaia’s dad, I could hear that excitement in your voice and I shared that with you as I listened. I have found the past two years to be the most exciting years of my 32 in education because of all of the new tools I am gaining in technology to enhance my classes.

    All of us can learn from what John has shared with us here. We need to show our students exactly how technology can be used in instruction and how excited students become when it is used effectively.

  2. I agree with Leah. This assignment required a time commitment, but it was quite enjoyable to follow the chain of events. What most impressed me about this series of blogs, communications, and interactions was the sense of joy of learning and discovery I got from the participants. Dillon took the initiative to use technology to reach out to Kaia – a little girl she'd never met, and who lived a world away. Using video to capture her reading a beloved story, Dillon created a very personal gift to give Kaia. Instances like this argue against the conception of technology as a cold, technical medium. As Jabiz Raisdana said in one of his blogs, “people are looking for ways to connect.” Technology is serving as the thing that allows such connections. From the videos one could see the pleasure that resulted from these connections. I pictured our students asking – “I wonder what will happen next?” That anticipation is keeping them interested and engaged in learning.

    I do, however, have concerns over the issue of safety in living open lives online. As the mother of two young children, I would love to have my kids involved in online communication like Kaia. However, my desire to protect my children is stronger. In erring on the side of caution what educational experiences are they missing out on? I admire Dr. Strange’s confident attitude about participating in the digital world without fear, but I don’t share it. This is perhaps an area where professional development could assist faculty – what can we do to keep ourselves and our students/children safe online?

  3. Peggy,
    I think your concern about online safety is very common and needs to be discussed more among educators and parents. It is a reason school systems block access to blogs, wikis, and other educational resources. The majority of our children will eventually live a significant part of their lives "online" in spite of our fears. My opinion is that we should be knowledgeable (as parents and educators) of the benefits and potential hazards of technology use as PARTICIPANTS ourselves...not spectators. Safe use of technology and social networking should be part of technology literacy for all and will not occur by blocking access.

    I see technology use among my children as being similar to allowing them to learn to drive a car. It would be even more terrifying to let my daughters drive if I didn't realize the advantages myself and partipate as a way of life. And isn't it potentially dangerous? Our children get to the stage where we do realize the purpose, advantages, and need for their future to learn to drive. We do all we can to facilitate guided practice, and knowledge of skills and safety. We don't initially send them out on the streets alone; we sit with them in the car for at least a year. (It still scared the hell out of me when they drove down Airport Boulevard with me in the car and then on their own!) But should I deprive them of the opportunity?