One of the most substantial gains that classroom blogging can contribute to an academic class is that blogging is a forum through which students are encouraged to actively participate consistently. On a blog, there is no privacy to keep ones rambling thoughts and ideas from being shared with the greater part of the class. Therefore, the peer-reviewing pressure encourages students to bring their “A-game” for each post that they publish to a class blog. Furthermore, this type of classroom communication allows others to critically evaluate others work by commenting underneath each post. Such a technique enables students to be actively engaged in others contributions to the class, ultimately forcing students to read other individuals’ thoughts as well as critically evaluate these posts. Students are also able to receive immediate feedback from comments from fellow classmates.
The theory behind “two heads is better than one” has shown to be true. We are all indelibly ingrained with unique ways of perceiving and processing information, thus our different neural networks allow us to take differing perspectives on the same issues. Through blogging, students are able to learn from others’ posts and work off of these ideas to produce a better end-product. Even better, all of these ideas are captured on one forum, as opposed to spread out in individual papers. All students have access to all ideas, whether recent or old.
Teachers are introducing students to blogging as early as elementary school. Some educators who advocate for blogging as a learning tool suggest that it motivates students to want to write. At an early age, students feel less pressure in blogging and it is an outlet for brainstorming ideas before writing a formal paper. In addition, students take their blogging assignments more seriously. They are more apt to use correct grammar and express their ideas in a logical way because they know that other people are going to read and assess their writing style and ideas.
At a later stage in education, blogging presents an outlet to collaborate with others about new ideas. Students are able to both give and receive feedback on their writing and ideas. This presents students with the opportunity to gain the opinions of others and focus their thoughts before engaging in a formal writing assignment. It also gives the writer new knowledge about the aspects of their writing that may be unclear to the reader and ideas that could be explained in a different way.
Blogging is also helpful for students to practice expressing their ideas through writing. We are all accustomed to voicing our opinions in class. Blogging forces us to articulate our ideas in a new way and back up our arguments with solid evidence. Another aspect of blogging is knowing your audience. Audience awareness is an important aspect of writing and blogs allow students to experiment and learn about the appropriate writing style for different audiences.
The lack of confidentiality in blogging may cause students to hold back their opinions. Students may fear criticism from classmates or other outside people. It may also cause tension instead of collaboration if students begin competing for blog posts. Some educators have also stayed away from blogging in a classroom setting because they feel students are less likely to use proper grammar and punctuation and this may cause poor writing habits. Although these concerns about blogging in education may be true for some students, I believe the positive aspects of blogging far outweigh the negatives. Blogging is new to education and as it matures, I believe we will see it more and more from educators and students.
The new wave of fast-paced technology has allowed more information to be shared publicly. Blogging, brought on by this new culture of innovation, has become increasingly popular. Bloggers write about many different issues, from politics to fashion, and may allow others to comment on their posts in order to foster a sense of community and the spread of information globally. While some people see blogging as a useful tool, others view it as taking away from the way they were taught to write, and a mere means of providing opinions rather than facts.
Supporters of blogging say that it is a powerful tool to express an idea and receive feedback from many different people with varying backgrounds. At the Institute St. Joseph, the Principal calls blogging “a virtual extension of the classroom”.Blogging has been used for educational purposes, such as teachers posting assignments, receiving assignments, and responding. Also, teachers are able to open the realm of communication further since members of the community can react to current issues that may be discussed in class. Therefore, students are able to learn how to express themselves through writing and can also learn more through their conversations with members of the community.
A quote from the movie Contagion that struck me is, “Blogging is not writing, it’s just graffiti with punctuation.” I remember this from the movie because it made me think about what kind of impact the new wave of blogging may have on the development of writing skills and education. Indeed, critics of blogging believe that it is not real writing, it is teaching kids to write poorly, and it provides little insight. While I believe there are people out there who do not write blogs as eloquently as others, I believe the majority of people who really spend the time blogging are doing it well, and for a good cause.
I learned through my research that many people believe bloggers began receiving recognition only after September 11th occurred. News casters reviewed many blogs during this time to gain more information and have access to video recordings that they otherwise would not have found. Commentator Catherine Seipp recalls, “But after September 11, a slew of new or refocused media junkie/political sites reshaped the entire Internet media landscape. Blog now refers to a Web journal that comments on the news—often by criticizing the media and usually in rudely clever tones—with links to stories that back up the commentary with evidence.” I thought it was really interesting that this tragedy brought so many people together in this way, and was a huge contributor to the development of blogging.
With the advent of technology and the large audience one can gain by sharing their thoughts on the Internet, it’s no wonder there are millions of blogs in cyberspace on any subject one could be interested in. Blogging has given people a voice who may have not had an audience to share their voice with before. Blogging also allows gifted writers and storytellers, as well as those with certain media connections, to provide unadulterated information to the public. In fact, blogging has become so popular, and more importantly influential, that blogs with large audiences (high traffic volume) stand to make money through advertisements, and partnerships, among other things. Blogging has given a voice to everyone who desires one, and with technology transforming the way we communicate (e.g. iPhone, cloud computing, etc.), blogs can be maintained and altered in seconds from a mobile device or tablet. Because education is such a hot topic in today’s society, its no wonder blogging, among many other technologies, has invaded the classroom. Continue reading