I have been going back and forth on the question of whether or not I want my students to blog. I had decided that I would have them blog this coming semester but as my new course plans developed, I saw lots of wikis and not much of blogs on the horizon. So I was interested to read Ewan's post today. He refers to Dave Winer's view that blogs are about finding your voice. And that statement, while so very obvious, makes all the difference in my mind. When I look at blogs that way, I know that my students should blog. So once again, I make the commitment to myself to use blogs in my classes this semester because they can do something that the wiki assignments I am so carefully preparing cannot: they can help my students find and strengthen their own voices.
As a writing teacher, I know the value of finding your voice. I have had my students journal for a long time. But somehow or other I hadn't made the switch to having them blog for the same reason. My blogging assignments had been more just that -- assignments. Students didn't necessarily buy into them. I think I need to work more on this.
What comes to mind right now as I am writing this is that I need to start having my reading students blog. I can set them up with a Bloglines account to follow blogs on topics that they are interested in. They can read and report on news articles or basically anything else they want to. This is something that will encourage them to read in English, so it ties into my course goals. The students in that class are the ones who blogged last spring with some degree of success, so the idea will not be totally new to them.
The next problem, of course, is how to evaluate their blogging. I really don't want to evaluate it. I could do a simple post count and give points that way. I guess I need to think about this part of it more.