I can open my current blog about history curriculum up to my students’ comments, but the truth is that a separate blog dealing with a topic they are learning about would be a better tool. I am in the middle of a unit on Enlightened Despotism, which leads into the French Revolutionary Period. Developing a blog about Napoleon, someone that the students are always interested in and are willing to research would be a more appropriate blog for my history class. I would love to set something up about the good Napoleon vs. the bad Napoleon.
When I was in Ireland a few years ago, Trinity College in Dublin was having a Napoleon exhibit. My son and I attended the exhibit, which was very prejudicial against Napoleon; my son did not understand why the Irish would be against Napoleon, since my son was correctly taught that the Irish backed Napoleon and would have loved to see the defeat of England. I explained that Elizabeth I founded Trinity College as a stronghold of Protestantism in Catholic Ireland, that her goal was to convert the heathens to Protestantism. The English Protestants were Napoleon’s greatest enemy, not the Catholic Irishmen. The exhibit was prejudicial because of the religious dissent at the back of all modern history. A blog based on the two views of Napoleon would be a great sounding board for the students, a good learning experience for both the students and me, and a tool for research and writing.
I would set this blog up for my European History class, which is a 12th grade elective course. It will enable my European history students to share their findings, to discuss the different points of view and to make their research viewable to all instead of just me. As our text states: “Blogs engage readers with ideas and questions and links. They ask readers to think and to respond. They demand interaction.” (Richardson, 2010, p. 18). Blogging can become a good tool to help students think and write at a higher level, using more analysis and synthesis over a longer period time with reflection on what they have posted to the blog. (Richardson, 2010). The blog can be the tool that aids the students in their thesis development and overall writing.
Richardson, W. (2010). Blogs, wikis, podcasts, and other powerful web tools for classrooms (Third Edition ed.). Thousand Oaks, CA: Corwin, a Sage Company.