The Blogs that have been summarized are the followings:
Blogs in formal learning
One of the main benefits that can be mentioned when using blogs for learning purposes is freedom. Sharray develops this idea focusing on three points:
Freedom in regard with classroom guidelines: an “open-ended blog can lead anywhere”
More freedom with time constraints. Dialogue interventions can happen whenever is best for participants
In respect of the target learners: “open-ended blog is open to the community to comment and respond” Here, Sharray also touches the idea of conversation.
This last point is also alluded by Chrystal, who says that “it allows the learning to extend beyond the walls of the classroom and opens up the learning” to others.
Two level of integration are specified by Chrystal when addressing the integration of blogs in classroom.
Using blogs from others in classroom.
It doesn’t consist only on information consumption due to the possibility of participating in a dialogue through comments. (Chrystal. She shares with Sharray the importance of conversation)
Blogging incorporation into the pedagogy of the class.
Another distinction of blogs used in formal learning is those made by teachers and those others maintained by students.
- Teachers can do blogs to provide information to students and engage them into conversation (Josemaria)
- On the other hand, we have student’s blogs. At this point, Devon sees an horizontal role for them. Considering students as a community, they can “construct new learning of their own”, as well as reach “critical thinking and reflection” (Devon). Chrystal adds: “It is a way to reflect on the learning that is taking place.”
Student’s blogs: Updating the concept
Devon proposes a revision of the defining characteristics provided by S. Paquet. As an example of current blogs that should be taken into account, Devon refers to those made by teenagers at tumblr.com
One of the differences in new blogs lies in the type of content. Devon mentions memes and graphics with very little text. In a comment made to Josemaria she rises the question of whether a blog based on media content with little or no text is really a blog. The answer given to her question points out to the amount of work and effort behind the post.
In regard with the quality, students are encouraged by publishing what you produce as well as by the pursuit of feedback. (Josemaria)
Sharray adds her viewpoint about several websites that are quite useful. Related to the content issue can be mentioned piterest.com. However, these viewpoints are referred ahead.
What seems to be characteristic in student’s blogs is freedom, something that is addressed next.
Self-initiated informal blogs
For Chrystal, “when blogs are self-initiated and informal, they can serve many roles”, like personal knowledge publishing, or -in other words- an integration of different sources of knowledge (taken from a comment by Priya Sharma at LT-Thinktank blog). Devon adds another role: they are “places to explore personal identity and one’s role in their community.”
These blogs are also a way to contact, share and communicate with like-minded individuals (both Chrystal and Devon).
Blogs can be used by teachers for doing networking, by sharing experiences, opinions, knowledge related to their work. Sharray develops this point and mention Diigo and TPT as examples. Thus, teachers blogs are characterized as “information routing”, and make us able to collaborate beyond our school or district limits. This will create learning environments rich in diversity. (Sharray)
Sharray’s words are corroborated by Chrystal’s experience: “it would be especially powerful to educators, like myself, that support others in using technology in the K-12 classroom.”
Also to be highlighted…
The reflection on blogging own experience seems to be a good starting point to understand the benefits of blogging in students (Chrystal, Josemaria). “I am welcoming the growth and the opportunity to ‘find my voice’ through this process.” (Chrystal)
Devon makes a three recommendations list for using blogs for learning. As comments show, it has got a great acceptance. The three points focus on purpose, process explanation and engagement.