Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Blogs in the Classroom

In preparation for college and the workplace, I have created new ways of teaching in my anatomy class.  Students are studying the current chapter through research and questioning.  They were assigned specific tasks that included readings from various books, work with vocabulary, and discovery through an interactive PowerPoint presentation. At the end of day one, they were expected to turn in five questions that related to the topic.  These questions will be researched by me and answered during discussion in a couple days.  The task of the second day was to create five test questions. These questions were compiled to create a worksheet to be completed at the end of the research.  This lesson has prompted the design of a blog for a high school anatomy class.

Using a blog in the classroom is a way to develop a collaborative space for my students (Laureate, 2010).  The blog can be used as an interactive research tool. The readings will still be assigned, but I can use the blog to establish prompts that are of high interest to my students.  It will be the responsibility of all students to participate in discussion by responding to the initial prompt.  They will post their answers and the links where they found their information.  A compilation of links will create learning resources for future lessons. Depending on the time allotted for computer use, new tasks can be established daily.

This blog can be used as a commonplace for questions and answers, not only between classmates, but globally.  The requirement for students would be to post their five questions and then answer five on their own, each in response to a different student.  This will increase independent learning and alleviate the time it takes for one person to answer a multitude of questions. By including this blog on a global scale, collaboration may be done at a distance with other students worldwide (Laureate, 2010). Another task of the assignment is to create test questions.  These questions will be posted and become self-check quizzes so that students can assess their learning. 

Students are receptive to new ways of learning, especially when it decreases note taking and use of a textbook.  Incorporating blogs into the classroom atmosphere is a way to engage students in a different type of learning.  It is a way for them to become more engaged in their education and share individual thoughts (Ackerman, 2006). Not only are they being educated by their teachers, they are educated by their peers.  This will create a renewed excitement in the classroom, and increase the motivation of students to learn independently and collaboratively.

Ackerman, Jay D. (2006). Motivation for writing through blogs. Retrieved from

Laureate Education, Inc. (Producer). (2010). Program number 4: Technology and society. [DVD]. Understanding the impact of technology on education, work, and society. Baltimore, MD: Author.

Laureate Education, Inc. (Producer). (2010). Program number 6: Spotlight on technology: Blogging in the classroom. [DVD]. Understanding the impact of technology on education, work, and society. Baltimore, MD: Author.


  1. Jennifer:
    I really like your idea of using a blog for a common place for students to create, and answer questions related to your anatomy lectures. I think that this is an excellent example of how to incorporate technology into your classroom, and it truly encompasses the idea of taking the learning outside the classroom.
    I really like the idea of your students writing down questions that they have about anatomy, studying through research and questioning is an excellent way of reaching higher level thinking skills in students, however with the inclusion of a blog how will you monitor where students are getting answers from, and how will you monitor that they are correct? With your current technique you are the one answering the questions, therefore you know they are correct, would you monitor and change student responses that are not accurate?
    I am also curious as to how you would monitor such a blog though. The idea behind a blog is that it is open to the public, since it is published on the internet. Is there a way that you would keep other people from answering questions/ posting irrelevant material to your blog?

  2. One of the requirements that will be included with the use of the blog is the inclusion of resources. This will give me an idea if the information that they found was credible. If I feel that answers are incorrect, I can personally add my own thoughts and ask students for clarification and reasoning behind found information. There may be a misunderstanding that revolves around the wording of the question. With some of the questions that students have, I welcome the public to assist my students and I in coming up with the correct answer. I would set the blog up to require approval for comments. I appreciate your questions in relation to my blog. This has provided me with information that I can use to create a checklist for myself and a rubric with detailed expectations for my students.

  3. Jennifer,
    Using a blog in this capacity would require your students to each have computers, correct? Do you have a computer lab in your classroom or are students able to bring laptops to school? Computers are limited in most classrooms, so I was curious about yours.

  4. We do not have computers in the classroom but we can sign up for times to use the computer lab. Depending on the time of day, we could have up to four computer labs available. I would have to plan the use of the blog with the availability of the resource.

  5. According to Pascopella (2007) there is a growing gap between what today’s students do in school and what they do at home. According to a recent Pew Internet and American Life Project
    study, “The Digital Disconnect: The Widening Gap between Internet-Savvy Students and Their Schools,” students are spending 27 hours a week online at home,compared to an average of 15 minutes per week at school. I feel that this is one of the problems us as teachers are facing today. In no way with the required curriculum we are already required to teach do we have the time to allow students more online time. So of course students will have more time at home then at school. So when these resources are saying there is a huge gap and implying that we need to close the gap for our 21st century students, I ask how? How can we continue to prepare our students for the workforce and give them the the skills and tools they need and cater to the 21st century as needed. Is it important to get our students ready for both our technological era and still give them the required resources of course. Like mentioned above I feel as teachers we can only do so much. It is up to the students to then use the resources and tools given to go above and beyond and take the next steps and incorporate those teachings into their own personal lives. I believe as teachers we need to incorporate our teachings to meet our 21st students needs and wants, but as what cost?