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Your blog

An important part of this course is reflection, not only of your students but also of you as a teacher. There is a lot written about teacher blogs, to document what is happening in the classroom. In learning situations, we can use blogs to document what is happening in our own minds as we are learning. In many ways, our blogs become our learning journals or diaries.

What should go into your blog for this course? In many ways, you are modeling a process that your students will use as they reflect on their learning on a regular basis. Blogs can provide the raw materials from which we can build a more organized presentation portfolio. Blogs provide opportunities to "capture the moment" Here are some suggestions to guide you as you write your blog entry for this class.

Discussions

As you go through the course content, you will have reactions to what you are reading or watching. You may respond to posts in group discussions. Sometimes you write something really brilliant in those threaded discussions. Feel free to copy all or part your posts into your blog entry for the week, along with any responses that you made on other participants' discussions.

Reflections

How do portfolios and reflection fit into the learning process? As illustrated in the diagram below:

BEFORE - goal-setting (reflection in the future tense) [often captured in a blog]

DURING - immediate reflection (in the present tense), where students write (or dictate) what they are learning and the reason why they chose a specific artifact to include in their collection [often captured in artifacts and in a blog]

AFTER - retrospective (in the past tense) where students look back over a collection of work and describe what they have learned and how they have changed over a period of time--metacognition [often recorded in a Level 3 portfolio]

This model is based on the theory of Self-Regulated Learning further explained by: Abrami, P., et. al. (2008), Encouraging self-regulated learning through electronic portfolios. Canadian Journal of Learning and Technology, V34(3) Fall 2008. http://www.cjlt.ca/index.php/cjlt/article/viewArticle/507/238 and attached on another page on this site.

Goals

We can use the blog to both set goals for learning, and document our progress toward meeting those goals.

Metacognition

In his newest book just released, called From Brain to Mind: Using Neuroscience to Guide Change in Education, James Zull said,
“metacognition lies at the root of all learning… self-knowledge, awareness of how and why we think as we do, and the ability to adapt and learn, are critical to our survival as individuals…”
We will be focusing on strategies for reflection that can be found on other pages in this course.

Your story

According to one of the early researchers on portfolios in K-12 education:
Development of the portfolio is like a journey...
A portfolio tells a story. It is the story of knowing. Knowing about things... Knowing oneself... Knowing an audience... Portfolios are students' own stories of what they know, why they believe they know it, and why others should be of the same opinion.” .(Paulson & Paulson, 1991, p. 1, 2)

In TELL ME A STORY, Roger Schank argues that storytelling is at the heart of intelligence. We think of storytelling primarily as entertainment, secondarily as a form of art, yet it also—and perhaps more fundamentally—has a cognitive function:
“Telling stories and listening to other people's stories shape the memories we have of our experiences… Stories help us organize our experience and define our sense of ourselves."

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