The genre of blog writing is more relaxed, and more freeform than the writings of professional news organizations. To me, it seems like I am reading something from a friend. I almost hear that person telling me a story, and I feel included in the conversation. The language used is less polished, like Dan Meyer’s use of “halfassedly,” which I am pretty sure is not a word! The articles that I read online from the NY Times, for example, are more professional.
At the same time, blogs are a way to share information, just like many other online sources. A professional news article from a site like cnn.com also allows readers to post comments. I read a lot of news online, and I almost always read the comments. There are a lot of trolls, who are people that say things just to get others upset. People also can be very negative and rude, because the anonymity of the Internet gives them a forum to say things they would probably not if they were in a face-to-face situation. So you have to read a lot of comments and be able to sort through the ones worth reading. When I read the news online, I am of course drawn to articles that relate to my interests, beliefs, etc. Sometimes the comments with a dissenting view can help give me a balanced perspective on different issues.
Blogging is a just great tool to facilitate learning. If used in the classroom setting, it is a way to set up a dialogue between the teachers and students, and students to their peers. It puts the teacher in the position as a facilitator, instead of the dictator of information. As a life-long learner, blogging and reading blogs helps me to connect with more people and more ideas. Through this exercise, I enjoyed reading the blogs of others. My favorite was the Myth of the Digital Native. This is an issue I deal with all the time! I have 8th graders who I assume to be digital natives and proficient in basic technology, but they can’t even do simple tasks like figure out how to get an image to move around on a Word document!