Using blogs to enhance learning.

Using Blogs to Enhance Learning – Some Helpful Tips – , puts forward some useful points.
In particular,

teachers need to be clear that a blog is an individualized tool for one learner. Yes, students can leave comments on a colleague’s blog that represent a reflection of the material presented. But if a teacher is seeking reactions from a collective group the tool to use would be a wiki or a discussion forum. In essence, teachers must select the proper tool for the task.

(“Open Education”, 2008)

This is something that I’ve had a number of conversations with others about – when they ask about creating a “class blog”. In part, we have to decide what the purpose of the blog is; is it for reflection, (in which case, I’m not sure that anyone would argue against individual blogs), or is it for news sharing, in which case, a group blog (as is the way that WebCT Vista blogs are set up) works.

Many of the ideas in the blog post are linked back to some work that Reynard, from the Career Education Corporation did. The blog links to her “Avoiding the 5 most Common Mistakes in Using Blogs with Students” , and I think it’s this that the ideas in “Open Education”‘s post are based on. I’m sometimes sceptical of agencies with words like “Career” in the title, as I’ve sometimes found that they tend to concentrate more on the “training” aspects of learning, rather than the more “educational” aspects – those things that it’s actually far harder to measure, yet are vital. However, her points seem to concur pretty closely with my ideas.

The idea of assessment is mentioned, and I think that she is looking at Blogging for grades, as well as blogging for learning. A blog does have the opportunity, I believe, to offer value for students without necessarily having to be graded. The student, however, has to come to that realisation, and, for many, an initial “graded” introduction may be of use, so she can decide whether or not it’s for her. Blogs aren’t for everyone, and that’s something we, as blogging enthusiasts, have to remember!

I’m still not quite sure about the diagram used in the article

, as I can’t quite work out who owns which blog. Ownership of blogs is something that “Open Education”, Reynard and I all feel is vital …

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