2. Blogging in education
Meg’s Blogagogical objectives
- To identify the main pedagogical and practical reasons for the current success of blogging in educaton.
- To analyse how teachers are currently using blogs with and for their students.
- To evaluate others’ use of blogs in the classroom.
Your Blogagogical objectives
What are you hoping to learn from this module? Your objectives can be the same as mine, but is there anything else you are expecting to learn? Write down your thoughts, discuss with a partner or small group in the class, or blog it!
Blogs are really starting to take off in the educational arena, and not just amongst ‘tech-savvy’ teachers. Why? What potential do they have for use in education? This module outlines some of the pedagogical and practical arguments for using blogs in the classroom, as well as providing some links to real-life classroom blogs.
Focus questions: Benefits of blogging
Given that you now know something about the ‘blogging interface’ from the What is a blog module, what do you anticipate the educational benefits of blogging to be in terms of 1) classroom management, 2) teaching, and 3) pedagogy? What does blogging force the student to do in terms of writing? Thinking? Communicating? What is it about blogging that might appeal to students? Can using a blog interface make your life easier in the classroom? How would you use blogs to communicate with parents and students? How would you use a blog to run a class or course? Write down your thoughts, discuss with a partner or small group in the class, or blog it!
Benefits of blogging
With the right educational design, and with good teaching, blogging has many benefits in the educational setting:
Intellectual and writing
- Encourages writing
- Encourages reading
- Encourages diverse perspectives
- Teaches appropriate expression of scholarly opinion
- Improves writing skills
- Promotes interpretation, validation, assessment, analysis, critique, synthesis, evaluation, creativity, imagination
Communication, collaboration, participation, socialisation
- Connection with experts
- Engagement in the community
- Audience — you can have readers in the wider world
- Developing links and networks with others
- Appropriate online behaviour
Motivation and organisation
- Control and ownership on the part of the blogger
- Students who lack routine and order in their study find blogs useful for organising notes, thoughts, information (Armstrong, Berry and Lamshed 2004)
- Students try harder when they know their work is being published to the world
- Ease of feedback from both teacher, other students, and the world in general
- Allows for archiving and searching
- You (and the student) can track learning progress through time
- Easy communication with students and parents
Classroom benefits (Oradini and Saunders 2007)
- Easier for students to submit their work
- Easier for the tutor to view work quickly
- Helps in the monitoring of student progress
- Provides templates to enable scaffolding of student progress
- Facilitates provision of both formative and summative feedback
- Allows students to be more creative
- Saves time when collecting work
- Accessible anywhere
The potential of blogs Tan, Ow and Ho (2005: 4) (pdf)
Exercise: Blogs in the classroom
Search for some (Aussie) edublogs on the web to get a sense of how teachers of your year level are using blogs in their classrooms. Try to identify the purpose of the blog: Is it for communicating with students or parents? Is it posting assignment or class info? Do students have their own blogs for the class? Blog what you find by providing links and observations.
Exercise: Effectiveness of blogging
Next, evaluate the effectiveness of the blogging enterprises you come across: Are the students engaged? Are they responding to others’ blog posts? Are they posting their own material? Are posts focused and on-topic? Are the posts interesting? What is the quality of the writing like? What about the thinking? Is the blog easy to navigate? Blog your evaluations. Have you found any dodgy examples of classroom blogging? What makes them dodgy?
Summing up …
- Community-oriented but learner-centred
Write down your thoughts, discuss with a partner or small group in the class, or blog it!
- What have I learnt?
- What is still unclear?
- What do I need to follow up on?
- Where to from here?
- What other stuff I have read or accessed to help me make sense of it all?
Links and resources
Rationale for educational blogging, Anne Davis
Using ICTs to support higher order thinking (DECS SA, pdf)
Blogs and wikis, Bemidji State University
Sociology with Nath, a forum for students who tend not to contribute much in class. From Nathan at The Canberra College 🙂
Multimedia and Animation, more from Nath at The Canberra College