Last modified on 3 December 2012, at 02:08

User-Generated Content in Education/Blogging In The Classroom


What is a Blog?Edit

A Weblog, commonly referred to as a blog, is "an easily created, easily updateable Web site that allows an author (or authors) to publish instantly to the Internet from any Internet connection" [1]. A blog provides an easy way to share ideas and resources on the web. Publishing material on a blog becomes as easy as setting up an account, writing what you want to say, and then posting it for others to see. In many cases, blogs are updated every day allowing followers to access up-to-date information quickly. Bloggers usually have a core group of followers who are looking for updated information on a topic or subject. Traditional websites are often criticized due to their lack of updates. It is not uncommon for blogs to be updated three or four times a day. One unique part of a blog is that it is interactive and people will not only post on the blog subject, but make comments on the comments. This often generates much more information on the subject than what was originally posted by the blogger. Being able to connect with others via links and resources is one of the great strengths that blogs provide to their users. Blogs are not limiting. They can be very much like a Web site. You can add videos, photographs, audio files, or other media of your choice. Many blog sites even offer the blogger a personalized site that can be created in a matter of minutes. This makes it easy for the novice blogger to start a professional and personalized blog quickly.


Classroom UseEdit

There are numerous educational benefits to using blogs as part of the overall classroom experience. One educational benefit to students is that blogs can motivate students to participate in discussions. Many students do not feel comfortable speaking up while in a live classroom setting. The use of a blog gives such students a better forum for their voices to be heard. As students are more motivated to participate with the use of blogs, they will increase their writing skills. Blogging can help students better articulate their ideas [2]Knowing that their words become part of a permanent record in the internet, students put greater thought and organization into writing their posts. Blogging provides opportunities to read and write as well as providing excellent forums for collaboration and discussion [3]. Blogs also can be used as submissions for student portfolios. Student work is digitally archived which allows for the analysis of the progression of skills.


The use of blogs also aids in classroom management for teachers. They can be used to post assignments and for other class announcements [4]. Additionally, blogs can serve as discussion boards for topics related to the class. Another positive aspect of using blogs in the classroom is the convenience for collaborative work. With Internet access from home, students have greater flexibility in participating in group that time may not permit in the physical classroom.

Things to Consider When BloggingEdit

To use blogs effectively in the classroom, teachers need to take great care in clearly defining objectives [5] and structuring activities that area age appropriate. Until a relationship of trust has been established, an educator may opt to preview a student’s post for appropriate content before it is published. Educators also must keep in mind the usefulness of a secure site that requires a password for entry. This security feature will reduce the risk of outsiders damaging the forums. Clearly communicated guidelines will also aid in a positive blogging experience for a class.

Blog SafetyEdit

Freedom to choose the content to be portrayed on a blog is an advantage to most users; however, it can pose safety hazards to those who become reckless. When working with students in the educational setting, it is important to set up guidelines and be clear about expectations. First, teachers need to make sure that they have obtained proper permissions for using online media as outlined by the district and school site. In the elementary school setting, it is recommended that students use only first names or initials. It is important to teach children that they should never publish personal information about themselves or anyone else that they know. It would be wise to do some lessons on cyber safety with the class prior to starting to use the blog. Talking to parents and other educators about the safety of using weblogs can also increase knowledge and enable everyone involved to participate in monitoring content on students sites. It is also important for students to know how to obtain help from their teacher or other leaders when they encounter a problem online.


ReferencesEdit

  1. Richardson, Will. (2010). Blogs, Wikis, Podcasts, and Other Powerful Web Tools for Classrooms. Corwin Press
  2. Howland, J., Jonassen, D., & Marra, R. (2012). Meaningful learning with technology. (4th ed.). Boston: Pearson Education, Inc.
  3. Education up close. (2006, October). Retrieved from http://www.glencoe.com/sec/teachingtoday/educationupclose.phtml/print/47
  4. Education up close. (2006, October). Retrieved from http://www.glencoe.com/sec/teachingtoday/educationupclose.phtml/print/47
  5. Howland, J., Jonassen, D., & Marra, R. (2012). Meaningful learning with technology. (4th ed.). Boston: Pearson Education, Inc.