A blog is a short term of “web log”—an online chronological collection of personal thoughts and links.
A blog can be regarded as an online journal, and it is very easy to start a blog. Its easy to start but not so easy to maintain. It takes motivation to regularly maintain it .Blogging does not require programming languages or server knowledge from bloggers. The content is available online and users who have subscribed to the blog will be alerted about the new posts. Visitors can read the posts and submit the comments.
There are both advantages and disadvantages of blogs. Blogs engage people in knowledge sharing and reflection, and they often attract a large readership. Instead of providing static information, blogs allow users and readers to respond, to create, and to connect. It is also simple to create and maintain blogs. Compared with discussion board, blogs have greater sense of permanence. After a course is over, the discussion board is no longer accessible to the students. When a student creates a blog, he or she also has a sense of ownership. Library bloggers have much to say about the value of blogs.
There are also some problems of blogs such as inaccuracy of the information, intellectual property issues, and the volatile nature. Blogs are often produced and maintained by individuals, so they may include biased or inaccurate information. Intellectual property is another area of concerning for higher education since the blogs may include content that has been used without proper attribution. Blogs are highly volatile. Bloggers can edit and delete posts. This transient nature makes blogs difficult to archive or index.
There are many blog platforms like Blogger (http://www.blogger.com) and Live Journal (http://www.livejounrnal.com). The most well-known installation applications are WordPress (http://www.wordpress.org) and Six Apart’s Movable Type (http://www.moveabletype.org). WordPress is a free installation resource which has many useful plug-ins, comment spam-fighting features, and user-friendly interface. It requires more technology knowledge.
How can a blog be used in education? A blogs in education or EduBlogs can be used to communicate, as instructional resources, as collaborative tools, and showcases for student projects. As an electronic bulletin board, an EduBlog provides a fast, efficient means of communication. It can be used to post class announcements for parents or providing schedule reminders for students. EduBlogs can be used as instructional resources, in which teachers can post tips, explanations, or samples to help students learn. Instructors can post hyperlinks to websites that provide assignment-related homework helpers and resources. EduBlogs can also be used as collaborative tools for student projects.
The blog can be used to help students in assignments. they can be use for collaborative learning also.Feedback can also be facilitated through blogs.Some professors use blogs in instructions, from using a blog as a teaching and learning resource to asking students to create a blog on their own.Students can develop and express their ideas and receive feedback from others. Students’s Blogs can be aggregated for creating better and specialised learning networks. Blogs can be used used for book reviews.These review can help students and fellow educators to reach and read new books.Class Assignments can be published on blog to enhance Learning.
The posts and comments on a blog can be updated easily and promptly . Blogs also provide instructors an opportunity to extend learning and engage students beyond the classrooms. Blogs can potentially enhance analytic and critical thinking skills because the critical skill of writing is central to the act of blogging. The participatory and decentralized nature of blogging discourages the traditional “sage on the stage” approach to teaching and enhances the knowledge sharing between students as well as between the instructor and the students. The ability to express oneself on blogs also enhances the development of digital literacy. Additionally, incorporating blogs into curricula also has the potential to shift learning from a time- and space-bound activity that occurs only in the classroom to an activity that is ubiquitous and embedded in real world issues and events.
Richardson in 2006 listed four things that blogging allows students to do:
(1) reflect on what they are writing and thinking as they write and think it;
(2) carry on writing about a topic over a sustained period of time;
(3) engage readers and audience in a sustained conversation that leads to further thinking and writing; and
(4) synthesize disparate learning experiences and understand their collective relationship and relevance.
The Blogs can engage students also when the teacher is away. Teacher can share his thoughts and learnings. When on an educational tours the class blog can work as a travel blog.
Quible in 2005 summarized the advantages of using blogs in written business communication courses: (
1) students can become familiar with another Internet application that has powerful communication capabilities;
(2) information is shared with students electronically, which makes it available to them more readily and easily compared with hard-copy format;
(3) the class administration cost is reduced with the use of the electronic format; and
(4) examples of students’ writing are easily and readily shared with others.
Some researches have also been done regarding the use of blogs in education. Wassell and Crouch (2008) incorporated blogs into an undergraduate preservice teacher education course that addressed diversity and multicultural education. This qualitative action research investigated the preservice teachers’ engagement with the blog project and evaluated its effectiveness as a teaching strategy. Four sets of data were collected from 24 students: the materials published on the blog or the textual artifacts, the anonymous survey of the preservice teachers at the end of the semester, the instructor’s reflections, and the personal communication between the instructor and the participants, including email messages and face-to-face conversations. This study found that the benefits of using blogs in a multicultural education course include fostering students’ critical thinking about important issues, connecting theoretical and popular texts and practice, encouraging dialogue among the class community, and using a form of instructional technology that can be adapted to students’ teaching in the future.
Rather than an information resource, blogging has changed the role of readers. Readers are no longer passive recipients of the information from the web but become creators of the content by either posting entries on the blog or making comments on the entries posted by others. As a powerful tool that enhances communication, foster critical thinking, and encourages collaborative learning, blogs have great potential in education. it can works as supportive tool in a big way.
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