Blogging in the Classroom: A Preliminary Exploration of Student Attitudes and Impact on Comprehension
Ellison and WU investigation on the advantages of blogging in the classroom comes to show that students between the age of “8 to 18 spend an equivalent of more than 8.5 hours of media daily”. This comes to show us that millennia’s are exposed to the technology so much more that this new way of learning can bring better outcomes. Some of the benefits mentioned by Ellison and WU are
- “Blogging can enhance analytic and critical thinking skills”
- In other words students have a tendency to engage more and write much better when their papers are not only read by the professor. Students get interested on the idea that different people will read their posts such as peers and other followers. Also students are more carefully when writing online since their audience is no longer just the professor.
- “ The ability to express oneself in a digital environment”
- Having a virtual profile online allows many students that are shy to express themselves when it comes to their writing and the comments they leave for their friends. In addition, students can customize their own blogs to fit their preferences and their personality.
During this Ellison and WU states that “Reading other students’ work exposed them to different perspectives and that, they were surprised at the range of responses.” She even writes that students said that
- A student from the research wrote a post on his blog and questioning the author of the book and the student reported that he had received a comment on his blog from the author of the book
- “I think it is more effective using the WWW because anyone can view it and we saw that when Ryan’s blog was commented by the actual author of the piece we read.”
“Internet-based communication, technologies allow students to create and share their writing, as opposed to merely consuming texts selected by the instructor, these tools are inherently well-suited to support these kinds of constructivist, peer-focused experiences”
To end this great article Allison and WU stated “these findings suggest that students need explicit guidance in regards to defining their positions and reflecting on their ideas in the context of others’ writing. Only then can the pedagogical promise of blogging be met”. In other words, a teacher can’t simply just require students to crate blogs and comment on each other blogs because the effectiveness of the blogging tool will not flourish in the classroom. Instead, teachers need to create guidelines, requirements and instructions about blogging in order to see students engaging, learning and sharing their own ideas.
Ellison, Nicole B., and Yuehua Wu. “Blogging In The Classroom: A Preliminary Exploration Of Student Attitudes And Impact On Comprehension.” Journal Of Educational Multimedia & Hypermedia 17.1 (2008): 99-122. OmniFile Full Text Mega (H.W. Wilson). Web. 2 Oct. 2013.
Sue Walters who develops workshops on E-learning and web 2.0 and is also a Support Manager for Edublogs conducted a research study of 259 educators such as middle school teachers (72%), students (12%), professors (5%), librarians (4%), trainee teacher (4%) & other (5%) were interviewed on various topics about blogging in the classroom such how blogs are been used & different platforms that they used. The results of this research came to show 50% of the educators believes that using Edublogs is the best platform to interact, create and use blogs in the classroom. The second best platform would be WordPress with 21% of the votes.
Both websites are great for blogging; however, they both have very different approaches and different tools that allows the users to do different things depending what are they priorities and what are they looking for. One hand you Edublogs, which is a great, easy and convenient tool that is used in many schools. An educator who prefers Edublogs over WordPress states that it has an “Excellent and fantastic support. The support given is wonderful when you are in a jam. Support is reliable and prompt, it is reasonably priced and specifically focused supporting students and teachers. Lots of help and support material available as well as the incredible support team which are only a tweet or email away”. As a WordPress user, the support that is offered by Edublog is not found at WordPress and it may take sometime until you can get a response from someone of their team in case an educator is having technical difficulties. Having always someone to help is a priority for an educator there is no doubt that Edublogs would be a better fit for their classroom then WordPress. In addition, Edublogs allows many features to be added to students or educator blogs such as “widgets, online tools and different types of media into posts, pages and text widgets”, which can all enhance and create a better communication platform between students and teacher. But, the price for this great platform is not free! Edublogs is a paid platform that needs a payment in order for a school or for a classroom to have access to it. The fee starts as low as $500 a year, but it depends how many access codes will be needed. If money is an issue around a school, Edublogs would not be the best decision since it requires a fee payment in order to use the service.
On the other hand, WordPress with 21% of the educators using it becomes the second most used platform in the classroom. As a WordPress user I find it very user friendly, but the user will need to play around with it a little bit in order to understand its full functions and what you can and can not do with WordPress. An educator best described WordPress as a “powerful, easy to learn, easy to use, mobile device friendly” account that can be used in the classroom. One concept of WordPress that is very important to take into consideration when deciding which blog would be the best for your own classroom is how the platform chosen can be integrated with other technologies. The technology world is constantly changing and it is very hard to keep up with it. WordPress is very phone friendly. It allows students and educators to post through their phones and their emails at their own convenient time without the need to sit in front of a computer or laptop in order to post or create something. Another positive attribute of WordPress is the fact that is free of charge. Teachers can create countless amount of profiles for their students or request them to make it their own, the only requirement of creating your blog at WordPress is that it only needs unique email for each blog that is created new. The downfall of WordPress is the limitations of interaction that an educator can have with a students in terms of posting and controlling comments on the webpage. In addition, widgets and really customizing WordPress is not the best since it requires an upgrade and that is paid.
Finally, this study comes shows that choosing a platform really depends on what type of tools an educator is looking for and what is their priories when it comes to the blogs that they want create. Both tools Edublogs and WordPress are great tools for teachers to start improving their classroom and adapting to the 2.0 Elearning system.
Waters, Sue, and Ronnie Burt. “The State of Educational Blogging in 2012.” Web log post. The Edublogger. N.p., 26 July 2012. Web. 26 Sept. 2013. <http://theedublogger.com/2012/07/26/the-state-of-educational-blogging-in-2012/#respondents>.