Monday, January 14, 2008

Book Review--Classroom Blogging 2nd ed. by David Warlick

reposted from original post on Magistra's Musings January 14 ,2008

Writing a blog post about a book on blogging, it’s kind of like in Sophie’s World where she is philosophizing about philosophy in a created world of literature. Okay, so it is somewhat circular, but maybe all knowledge is.

I ordered this book in preparation for my FETC 2008 presentation, Using Web 2.0 Tools for Classroom Learning. And I loved reading it so much that I finished it in two days and I wrote in the book and took notes. (Taking notes in books even when I own them is a new skill for me so I still celebrate it!)


This book explores the history of the web and blogging as well as how we use technology in education. The chapter on the blogosphere was also helpful; it clarified some terms and concepts for me that I thought I knew but needed more information on. RSS is explained well and gives readers a clear example of what it is.

I have quoted some parts I really liked and that made me think. And I added my ideas after the quotes.

· Page 26 “J. Allard . . . calls today’s children are the ReMix generation” This was eye opening for me because we have moved beyond Digital Natives into this world of creating personalized online environments and making the information work for us individually. And that my learning or work environment DOES NOT have to look like yours or anyone’s to be effective for me.

· Page 26 “In addition, learners at these conferences are becoming teachers. Professional development is becoming a conversation.”

So it makes it hard to have a one-shot program be a conversation, huh? This concept should make all educators realize that ongoing professional development is the only way to continue the conversation about teaching and learning.

· Page 32 “moving from an education system defined by its limits, to an education system defined by its lack of limits.” For me, this is huge. I still see so many small-minded people who want to limit access to students in schools. Many of these limits are placed on teachers and students by parents and administrators out of fear for safety and fear of legal ramifications. I can still get excited about learning new things because I have an education system of life-long learning instilled in me. But many of our students are bored at school because they have to obey the school rules that limit the kinds of activities that engage them outside of education like blogging, wikis, texting, social networking, etc.

· Page 35 “The teacher is no longer the sole holder of knowledge and wisdom.”
Amen, brother! I heartily agree with this. Until some teachers can let go of their need to be the “smartest” person in the room, we will continue to have classrooms that are very small in terms of knowledge. Teachers need to understand that with knowledge and information growing at the exponential rates of the 21st century, no one can possess it all. I am much more comfortable saying I don’t know but let’s Google it to find out more than giving a student the brush off because I don’t know the answer.

· Page 37 “In the same way that the web might be thought of as a global library, the blogosphere is a global conversation.” This struck home with me because I realized that if blogging is a conversation then I must begin contributing to the conversation as a producer rather than just consuming it on Google Reader. Soooo, I have begun to blog on my Blogger and Edublog sites with a vengeance in 2008.

This book also contains great screenshots of blog pages with very detailed explanations of all the parts of a blog which is great for newbies to the blogosphere. David Warlick also takes the time to explain WHY to have a blog in addition to HOW to set one up in different locations. I think his information on why to blog and specific ideas on how to use blogging with students is valuable to all teachers who are venturing into the world of School 2.0.

David also explains how teachers can use wikis, message boards, and social bookmarking sites in the classroom. Again, he provides detailed explanations of how to set up these tools and suggestions for classroom use.

Finally, my Google reader account grew substantially after reading this book. I subscribed to many of the blogs David listed on pages 124-125, but I was pleased to note that I was already reading some of his recommended blogs. And on pages 180-181, David includes a list of Notable Education Bloggers from Dr. Scott McLeod of CASTLE and the Dangerously Irrelevant blog.

I would definitely recommend this book to teachers who are already using Web 2.0 tools and to newbies who need a good, solid introduction to these innovative tools. Classroom Blogging 2nd Edition is available from Amazon.

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