Walking Stick Blogger

A Learning Space for Literacy and English Language Learners

EduBlogging – Issues to Consider

I am building a theoretical framework which includes using edublogs for transformative learning, and I am especially interested in the issues conccerning the process of facilitating learners through thresholds, or liminal spaces, in which most learners experience transformative change.

Current literature describing case studies on blogging emphasizes the need for public blogs, groupwork, and interaction; in effect, the social aspects of blogging at the expense of the personal aspects. My focus begins with how the individual learners navigate through the decisions that need to be made to become more skilled bloggers. Oftentimes, learners are not given choices about whether to blog or not, whether to blog entirely in private (not seeking others’ views except by invitation), autonomously (welcoming others’ comments but not demotivated by their absence), or as a team member in a group blog (dependent on others’ validation and support). These perspectives of learners have to be accounted for. When moving between these three types of blogging contexts, students are involved in conscious, deliberate choices, and there the crux lies: each shift requires a transformation of perspective.

Each perspective is unique, often contradictory to one another, so rather than requiring all students to complete the same tasks in the same fashion, specific assessment tools are required. In addition, many educators shy away from assessing in any meaningful way what learners contribute in their own private blogs. By providing no guidance, and no door to dialogue, there is no expectation, no potential for feedback. However, if offered a choice over whether to disclose, whether to invite others to comment, learners set up the rules for self-assessment in cooperation with their instructor, who acts as a learning companion, or mentor.

A major concern of educators is to not let individual learners ruminate alone by themselves. I contend there is nothing wrong with private, solitary work, as long as a possibility remains, a choice, for that learner to invite their instructor or others to participate in conversations. There is nothing inherently wrong with enabling a private learning space for learners with locked doors, preventing instructors from entering without permission. Solitude is an important Solitude acts as an important pause-point from which to find personal inspiration.

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netizenship • July 7, 2009

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