Anne Davis wrote two years ago a "A Rationale for Educational Blogging" that gives voice to many of the things I've been feeling on a gut level. The rationale addresses not only what students can gain from blogging, but also exhorts teachers to examine their responsibility for preparing students for the new world of communicating and building their ideas. Davis (no relation, I'm afraid) says, "teachers need to address writing for a public audience, how to cite and link and why, how to use the comment tool in pedagogical ways, how to read web materials more efficiently as well as explore other ways to consider pedagogical uses of blogs. Blogging requires us to teach students to critically engage media. Students need instruction on how to become efficient navigators in these digital spaces where they will be obtaining a majority of their information."
And to her long list of pedagogical reasons for incorporating blogs to help our students learn, I add this comment:
"Wow. You can add another item to your list. This conversation has gone on for 2 years! The ability to build a conversation over time — what a remarkable thing! This reminds me of the wonderful way artists, writers, and thinkers have used letter writing in the past to develop, test, and share their ideas. This makes me feel like I’m part of something huge and historic."