I was on blogger for my own interests as far back as 2004. And then by about 2008 or so, I started thinking about blogs in the context of teaching and writing. I can’t remember how I found WordPress.com, but in those “dark ages” of social media, it was a life line. See, Bucknell did not offer any good tools. I was told that “Blackboard has a blog tool.” (Now, having nothing to do with me, Bucknell uses the open-source version, wordpres.org).
But I had seen what a good blog can do, both in function and design, and I knew that a tool embedded on a cookie-cutter course management system would not do. It would be like telling students in a driver’s ed class, “we will drive real cars!” and then the first day they show up and see this:
WordPress.com was what I wanted:
So, I started using them. Now, I know anything “free” is not, really. If it is free, usually you can count on the fact that YOU are the product (Facebook anyone? Traditional broadcast TV?). Still, wordpress.com’s revenue model kicks in when you use lots of memory or buy a domain (like myname.com). So, for me, for class, it was great product at zero cost.
So, what kind and kewl nerds made this gift from the cyber-heaven for me?
From an early age, I can remember my English courses preaching on the importance of sticking to MLA format, having a few drafts before turing in a final one, and spending countless hours preparing such a report. But now I keep hearing this blogging word floating around. Do you mean to tell me I can speak my mind without having to follow a set of guidelines? Interesting.
Blogging has become one of the most dominant forces on the Internet since its inception in the late 1990’s. The sky is the limit for self-proclaimed bloggers and blogging as a whole, as this whole new aspect to idea sharing and social-media is still very early in development.
When first hearing about blogging, it never really interested me as I figured it was more geared toward those Geek Squad guys over at Best Buy. Little did I know, blogging is one of the most used tools by intellectuals and students of my age. Now that I am a member of this class, I have to admit, this is my first time as a “blogger”. Now that you know about the relationship between myself and blogging, let’s take a closer look into the role that blogging plays in education.
As I pointed to earlier, blogging is an excellent writing tool that can be utilized essentially at any location with WIFI and a compatible device. This is obviously a major advantage over standard writing methods that require MLA format, as is commonplace. Moreover, blogging creates a port for writers to express their thoughts on a much more frequent and informal basis. In a way, it makes writing not so much a task but rather an engaging experience that taps into a wide variety of audiences rather than just a professor. Finally, blogging can be an excellent tool for tweaking and strengthening one’s writing abilities. Students required to blog every week in addition to formal writing requirements are bound to be ahead of those students who just engage in formal writing requirements.
On the other hand, blogging can inspire one to abandon all those years of English courses and MLA format. It could also be seen as a source of unwanted rebellion and anarchy. Another downside of blogging is the fact that bloggers can potentially defame anyone or anything. Furthermore, because of the massive size of blogging it would seemingly go unnoticed. To be concise, blogging can spread the wrong kind of message about expressing one’s self. But then again that can also be an upside to blogging. All in all, I believe that blogging is a positive writing utensil when utilized correctly and in the right context. Some people are greatly opposed to it. But how could they be when we pride ourselves on being American and “free”.