Blogs: essential for education?

Blogging has become a popular and exciting activity in education. Teachers encourage students to write blogs or assignments, read and post comments on each others postings. It is a good way for communication and sharing ideas. Students will improve their writing and narrative skills with this activity. For seminar courses or courses in humanities and social science, blogging, instead of other traditional ways, may enhance students’ learning. However, for courses in natural science such as math or lab courses, I don’t think blogging is necessary or even useful. When teachers consider to use blogging for education purpose, they should think about the reason to use it, not just because it is popular and fancy. W. Gardner Campbell, Scott Rosenberg,  Tim Hitchcock, Seth Godin and Tom Peters who only emphasize on the goodness of blogging are all from humanities and social science, I think people from natural science probably have different voices.

Blogs are also used in middle and high school. Middle and high school blogging is like a web-based course site (blackboard, scholar, instructure canvas, etc) to provide information to students, parents, administration, or other teachers. Their blogs may include announcements, assignments, and discussion forum. Students can use blogs to discuss various topics and to interact with their teachers. Parents can use blogs to understand what is occurring in the class. The idea sounds great but I am not sure whether effective or not. Because the publicity of blogs may contain information from wrong points of view or extreme points of view which are harmful to young learners.

In order to keep pace with the times, teachers should improve their teaching strategies with new technologies, but they need to be careful, especially for teachers of young learners.

4 thoughts on “Blogs: essential for education?”

  1. You raise a valid concern about blogs which I can relate to. I was skeptic about blogs, and to some extent still am. Being a student of computer science, I felt that our code (for example through Github) and the corresponding code gist should be the way to express our opinion.
    Later on, I realized that blogs have a far bigger potential (even for natural science students). Blogs allow a writer to address a wider audience and allow more casual discussion. More importantly, I felt, blogs forced me to express myself in a simpler way. To make my ideas simple for others to understand, I had to learn in greater depth and consequently got greater clarity. I also had to reflect on my ideas which helped me learn better.
    I stopped writing because of personal issues (and hence my current skepticism) but I still do write articles/ideas on paper so that I can reflect and think clearly.
    When properly guided and supported by teachers, students could make good use of blogs. I am not certain if it would help but Terrence Tao, the “Mozart of Mathematics” frequently writes his math-sonatas in his blog (https://terrytao.wordpress.com/).

    1. Thanks for sharing Tao’s blog. It is a good example of using blogs in natural science. This kind of blogs will benefit authors and the public, but may not useful to young learners.

  2. As someone from a pretty math-based field (operations research in industrial engineering), I agree. I think that in a lot of social science and humanities courses, people blog about their opinions on the course material and current events. In most of the natural sciences, math, and engineering, the material is usually much more objective. The algorithm is the algorithm, calculus is calculus – no one has opinions about these things (well, people may not like them, but that’s different). I do think these courses could benefit from connected learning in other ways, but blogging really isn’t it.

  3. I totally agree. “The idea sounds great but I am not sure whether effective or not. Because the publicity of blogs may contain information from wrong points of view or extreme points of view which are harmful to young learners.”

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