Tuesday, 28 April 2009

Blogs in education part 1

Okay, so as promised some more on blogging – their use and assessment of. To help me along I found a very useful resource called ‘Instructional Blogging: Promoting Interactivity, Student-Centred Learning, and Peer Input’ by Stuart Glogoff, (link). There are some very interesting and very useful methods outlined here relating to how he incorporated blogging into the curriculum.

His course assignments requires each student to:

* Post entries to their own personal blog (available in student)
* Read entries on their classmates blog and leave 3 substantive comments per week

Stuart points out that the comments help not only to ensure active participation but also provides feedback and validation of the initial student’s contribution from their peers. It’s worth noting that the student on realizing that their work will be up for public scrutiny may make an extra effort in terms of creativity and recognizing the contribution of others. The outcome of such an exercise is a positive learning community.

A good idea is to extend the exercise bringing in further collaboration. Personal blogging as outlined here is very good for independent learning and building confidence and ownership of the blogged content. What the tutor could now do is exploit these outcomes by having the student post to a communal class blog (also available in StudyNet on the module website) where everyone has equal rights in terms of adding content. So the class could be tasked with coming up with a final solution or argument using the class blog to explore the issues raised in their personal blogs.

Stuart demonstrates this by creating a class blog to act ‘as a common space for students to explore individual findings related to one of the course’s main themes’, in his case ‘recognizing and explaining real-world uses for new technologies’.

The students are required to:

* share new insights with each other
* read each other’s entries
* use the comments feature to add new content.

The key issue here is off course blending this into the course delivery. It wont happen by asking the students to go away and do these things. I know form experience that such activity needs an appropriate face to face element for the tutor to outline the task, Stuart outlines the process of knowledge construction for a blog entry for instance.

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