Brian just linked to a great description of how blogging can affect reading and writing in the classroom. The blog he linked to is one I hadn't come across in my travels, so I'm dutifully subscribing. Some good thinking about this stuff in Konrad's blog.
What hit me in this post was the simple and clear demonstration of the power of an online community of practice to support the "real" physical face-to-face community. In Konrad's case, it changed his perception of "reading" his student's work - it became a participatory experience - more of a conversation or dialog than a fire-and-forget writing exercise. That, through blogging (or more appropriately, through participation in a dynamic community of practice), his evaluation of students shifted to become somewhat more holistic. Less brute-force "marking" of writing, to more of a comprehensive assessment of competence.
That's when it occurred to me that I have stopped "marking" or "correcting" and started reading. I do not mean that my students are no longer evaluated, that they no longer receive grades. They do. But my approach has changed dramatically. It's taken over a year but I have become a teacher-blogger and I am recording this change because it is crucial to my thesis and my professional development.
I have become a teacher who reads, who looks forward to reading, who comments on student entries and can't wait to see the responses, who can't wait to see where the conversation takes us. I have become a teacher who sees my students as writers, as people with voices who can contribute to and initiate insightful conversations.
That is such a powerful shift, and shows some of the real benefits that this blogging stuff can provide if applied appropriately.
I'm looking forward to reading through Konrad's blog, and his stuff on connectivism, etc...