Blogging is increasingly being used in education to encourage participation and engagement outside class and is a great example of how technology is being used in classrooms. Blogging, from personal experience, seems to be a great tool, especially when it used to explain topics outside of class with the concepts discussed and learned in class. One example of this has been the blog in Dr. Edwards’ Ethics class, which I am grading this semester.
I have students blog about a wide range of topics such as parking on campus, politics, corruption in government agencies, ethical dilemmas from their work, sex trafficking etc. The common theme is that they pick a topic and analyze it based on what is discussed in class and what their perceptions are of what is discussed in class. The Ethics class tends to be based heavily on self-learning by asking questions such as “what would I do?”. Students are also encouraged to post thoughtful comments on their classmates’ blog posts. Some weeks, you can tell that the discussions seem a little forced, but other weeks, it leads to thought-provoking discussions where students put forward differing views.
It is hard to imagine this kind of out-of-class engagement in the early 90s, before the invention of the internet and blogging. There are other avenues where blogging has aided education in the form of e-portfolios and research blogs. Lab groups increasingly use blogs as a place to dump their thoughts and discuss and get visibility to their published research.
I understand that technology in the classroom has its disadvantages such as shorter attention spans, but they have also revolutionized how information is disseminated and how learning is done.
Why blog? Because it is fun!