The first time I used a blog, the reason was that I enjoy taking photos, even with my mobile. I used to take photos of views that just appeared in front of me, like a night view, or the last sun rays giving a red tone to an emblematic building, or a calm river reflecting a ceiling of clouds…
Then it came to me that just having these photos in my mobile was poor. Spending some time, I found out that blogs let me send images to a secret email direction and automatically publish them. The subject become the title and I can add text and say whatever I want. The idea of having a blog with my photos is something that thrilled me, and the possibility of getting some feedback of anyone seemed me to be great. I think that publishing personal knowledge is something appealing. More or less, all the people has thoughts, ideas, impressions… and people usually want express them. In fact, how many people have ever thought about writing a book, a story, or publish his/er drawings, reviews…? The possibility of taking a piece created by oneself and put it to the test would enthusiasms to any writer, composer, etc. This is what authors seek after publishing.
These ideas are perfectly addressed by S. Paquet in his article about Personal Knowledge Publishing. Having written it some more than ten years ago, is quite impressive.
Furthermore, Paquet addresses the use of blogs in research. As I see, he mainly focuses on one concept: knowledge. Knowledge has different forms, and blog is one. Knowledge is incomplete if we only access to research papers. Knowledge is interdisciplinary, open, and can be anywhere. Knowledge needs reflection to be deeper. Interconnecting ideas from different sources of knowledge brings a growth of knowledge. These ideas explain why blogs enrich research.
Concepts like Personal Knowledge Publishing, Social Networking and Connections, Selection of material, Quality, Diversity, etc. play an important role. All this arises with blogs. Also, with blogs disappear some of the barriers that knowledge had, like an editor filter or academic formalities.
– Weblogs provide a quick-and-dirty way to keep tabs on one’s reading and thinking.
– Weblogs serve as a good vehicle for establishing meaningful collaboration relationships.
And what about content quality? Even though there is no pre-publishing control like in scientific magazines and, consequently, anything can be published, quality may not be a problem at all. Links, followers and search engines are useful tools to find and select.
In addition, people usually spend time in doing what they like. For instance, I’m really trying to do my best, because while I am writing this very words, I am keeping in mind who is going to read it. It is my hope that s/he likes it. And I wish someone put my ideas to the test. To conclude, the act of publishing and the pursuit of feedback encourage authors to take care of every detail.
The role of blogs for learning as integrated in formal learning environments
I really would like my students doing what I am doing right now, and enjoying it. I am sure they would come up with lots of good ideas if I could succeed in planning an engaging activity with blogs. It would be worthy if they become “individuals with a desire to communicate their view” (Blogging to Learn, Barlett-Bragg) This is what I have found at Mr Borges’ -with teenagers- and at Cornell -some more than teenagers. (I cannot help recommending this blog. It has been a surprise to me).
As I see, the learning scheme given by Barlett-Bragg also explain the different meanings of blogging from teenagers to university students. For the youngsters, blogging is a world of possibilities to communicate and a useful tool. I think they are mainly tied to the 1st stage, establishment. As they grow up -and read and write-, reflection and deep learning gain importance.
Another use of blogs that I have seen in my school is providing content for students. Though it’s not in English, let me show you a blog about Art History made by a peer who is close to be retired. He publishes art work images there, and students have to write commentaries and reviews.
The role of blogs when self-initiated and informal
More or less, teachers and schools has always encouraged students to write stories, songs, poems, reviews… Nowadays, such encouraged aspirations are as beneficial as always have been, but now they can go further with tools like blogs.
In addition, It would be an error if such aspirations were just bounded into school. At this point, I see a parallelism with learning. They are not only for school years, but for a lifetime. Thus, self-learning and any self-initiated activity related with learning, is more and more necessary. Consequently, it is natural that self-initiated blogs become more personal and less formal. Probably, it is the best indicator for a deep and reflective learning.
One last point: if I don’t develop a skill like blogging, instead of manage my ideas, thoughts, reflections and experiences, I will lose most of them. I see it clearly in My summer of confusion at Will Richardson’s blog. His thoughts remain there and can be useful for further reflection. Also, it was exciting to read things that I had thought before.
The most important aspects to consider in using blogs for learning
I think that this question has been already addressed. Let me only enumerate some points: Publishing act (itself), quality fostering, the pursuit of feedback and dialogue, reflection (particularly with mature authors), connections…
Anyway, even if I have not succeed in composing an acceptable entry, hope you have liked the photo!