Our group explored how blogs can be used within the educational context, in particular in distance education. We decided to use WordPress as the platform to talk about how blogs can be used for teaching and learning. Our blog has been organized around eight objectives, each accessible from the navigation bar at the top of the page. Each objective has an initial post from one of our group members, followed by additional posts on the same topic from other group members, thus displaying the power of “discussion” of blogging. As you are reading each post, we encourage you to provide feedback by liking a post or leaving a comment under “Group 1 Feedback.” Hopefully our presentation will inspire you to think about how you can incorporate blogs into you own teaching and learning context.
There are several references available on the Internet that discuss the benefits of using blogs for teaching. According to The Educators Technology and Mobile Learning (http://www.educatorstechnology.com/2012/06/ultimate-guide-to-use-of-blogs-in.html), students enjoy blogging for the following reasons:
- “Blogging enhances literacy skills
- Using a blog makes learning independent of time and place
- It gets students engaged and boost their motivation
- It promotes their communication skill
- Just like other asynchronous media, blogs give time to students to reflect
- It makes teaching students oriented
- It emphasizes the ” test and learn” and ” learning by doing” strategies instead of ” plan and execute ” ones
- It fosters the learning bonds between teachers and students
- It gives a chance to shy students to participate with their peers and get their voice heard
- It keeps parents updated about their kids progress
- It enhances home-school links
- It gives students a genuine and potentially worldwide audience for their work.
- Blogging gives students ownership over their own learning and an authentic voice allowing them to articulate their needs and inform their learning.
- It contributes to identity-formation in students
- Blogging helps teachers develop professionally
- It fosters the development of writing and research skills as well as digital skills”.
The Educators Technology and Mobile Learning (http://www.educatorstechnology.com/2012/06/ultimate-guide-to-use-of-blogs-in.html), retrieved on March 28, 2014.
– James Cantafio
Some challenges to consider when using blogs include:
- Ineffective contextualization: Students are unsure of the relevance of using technology to learn the course content.
- Unclear learning outcomes: Students are unclear as to what they are supposed to be learning in the blog.
- Misuse of the environment: Blogs are used as syllabi or a collection of links rather than as an introspective, individual reflective writing activity.
- Illusive grading practices: Students contributions improve with clear and transparent grading
- Inadequate time allocation: Expectations of student’s blog contributions exceed reasonable expectations for out of class learning.
Reynard, R. (2008). Avoiding the 5 most common mistakes in using blogs with students. Campus Technology. Retrieved on Mar, 2014 from http://campustechnology.com/articles/2008/10/avoiding-the-5-most-common-mistakes-in-using-blogs-with-students.aspx
– Jennifer Rausch