Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Blogging in Science Class

Alvin Toffler's Wave Theory refers to different eras in which there has been a paradigm shift in society. In Toffler's third wave, he refers to society being in an "informational" age (Laureate Education, Inc., 2008). We use technology to research information and work more independently of each other. Society is growing into a fourth wave that Dr. Thornburg refers to as a communication era. This era links unlimited information and collaboration by using technology (Laureate Education, Inc., 2008).

In my sixth-grade, science classroom, I would like to better prepare my students to be successful in society's growing fourth era. I would have students write in a blog about an issue that is relevant to them and to society. For example, the town is considering developing a large piece of land for housing, retail and a new movie theatre. I would have the students write in a blog about their position as to whether or not this is a good idea. I would have them consider the ecosystem, pollution, economics and housing needs. They would learn how to use appropriate language to fit this situation while supporting their opinions using course content and facts. They would respond to each other's blogs and that would allow them an opportunity to explore and debate other ideas. Students would be collaborating just like adults collaborate in the work force.

"Creativity is the cornerstone of education" (Laureate Education, Inc., 2008). This blog would be appropriate for this lesson because it "links Piaget's cognitive constructivism learning theory and Vygotsky's social constructivism learning theory" (Laureate Education, Inc., 2008). Previously, students may have just researched information using the Internet and written a report. A blog provides a place where students can express supported thoughts and ideas with many other students and receive immediate feedback. It creates an entire new level of learning that has not been available previously.

Laureate Education, Inc. (Producer). (2008). Understanding the Impact of Technology on Education, Work, and Society [Motion picture]. Teacher as professional. Baltimore.


  1. I think your idea about letting your sixth graders blog about “real life” issues is great. Would these topics for blogging be teacher directed or would you have your class contribute ideas for topics? Also, I was curious to know if your students participate in blogging while at school, or is this to be done as homework outside of the classroom?


  2. I really enjoyed reading about your idea to have students anaylze and give their opinion to the new construction in your community. I am wondering if students would utilize the writing process to compose a piece that is well-organized, or would students merely post thoughts on their blog? How many responses would the students have to produce? This idea is wonderful, meaningful, and prevalent, but when incorporating technology and blogs, you must consider every angle before assigning the activity. That is one of my biggest concerns. When I actually begin to teach while utilizing blogs, I hope I appropriately assess every angle before I integrate the lesson!

    You have a great idea here.

    Joshua Noel

  3. Unfortuantely, not all of my students have Internet access at home. I would allow my students class time to blog. I would also encourage them to consider visiting our community library to utilize the public computers.

  4. Will Richardson shares that "blogs can teach students the new literacies they will need to function in an ever expanding information society" (Richardson, 2009). I would collaborate with the language arts teacher so that I could support proper writing skills while my students blog about science related topics.

    Richardson,W.(2009). Blogs, wikis, podcasts, and other powerful web tools for the classroom. Thousand Oaks, CA: Corwin Press.

  5. Hands-on activities that prepare you for life were always vehicles of learning that stood out to me as a student. For example I can still remember my economics teacher in high school who gave us a fake checkbook with varying amounts of money and partnered us up. With our partner we were required to form a budget, use the newspaper to find a place to live and deal with "real-life" scenerios throughout the semester. It was here that I really learned how to balance a checkbook. My point is I think what you have in mind for how to use your post is effective. Richardson sites collaborative space as a big benefactor in blogging. (2009) Students could collaborate their opinions about the land with each other and also pose the question to students in cyberworld. One challenge I think you may face is after all of the brainstorming, will you be able to get students a agree on their positions before posting their thoughts? How will you monitor this? Thanks! Joel

    Richardson, W. (2009). Blogs, wikis, podcasts, and other powerful web tools for classrooms (2nd ed.). Thousand Oaks, CA: Corwin Press.

  6. You have given me something to think about. Richardson states that learning is more than technogy and subject matter. It is about having passion about something (Richardson, pg. 8). I came up with this idea because so much land is currently being developed in my community. My students could take the information that they have learned and create a presentation that supports their views to present to the town board. This would foster further creativity and passion for learning. If the town board is too large scale, maybe my students could present their side to a panel of teachers or students and the panel could decide if the land should be developed or not (like a mock court trial in history class). Will my students ever agree? I really doubt it but the process of learning how to disagree would be invaluable.

    Richardson, W. (2009). Blogs, wikis, podcasts, and other powerful web tools for classrooms. Thousand Oaks, CA: Corwin Press.

  7. You have some wonderful ideas about cross curricular involvement! Do you have the freedom with your curriculum/unit plans to turn this blog into a whole lesson that includes presentations and a mock trial? Would your colleagues also be willing to give class time for this endeavor since you are addressing their standards? Imagine the lesson if this did go all the way to the town board! As Sonia Nieto (2003)put it when commenting on a similar lesson in her book What Keeps Teachers Going: you would be teaching your students "the power of the written word and underlin[ing] the need to PRACTICE democracy, not just talk about it" (123).

  8. Left off reference in my comment:

    Nieto, S. (2003). What keeps teachers going? New York: Teachers College Press.