Pedro for September 22:Blogging in the classroom

Blogging is more revolutionary then people think.  It’s one of the more popular activities on the web and if you’re not writing one, then you are certainly reading them. Blogging is a new platform for self-expression on the web. Websites such as Blogger and WordPress take all the technical difficulties out of the equation allowing people to focus more on primarily one thing; Content.

A blog is:

(a contraction of the term “weblog“)[1] is a type of website, usually maintained by an individual with regular entries of commentary, descriptions of events, or other material such as graphics or video.


We can derive from the definition above that Blogging (verb) is the act of posting and maintaining a blog. Web 2.0 is a paradigm shift in the way the Internet is used and viewed. In web 1.0, most of the websites were static and only offered information. Forums were used to discuss such content.  Web 2.0 is all about user contributed content and collaboration thought the web. Blogs have really led the way and are the purest incarnation of web 2.0

Having students post on blogs has several implications.  Because blogs were made for sharing and public in nature, students are motivated to produce quality work. They know that anyone can bring up their page and read their writing.  In a traditional classroom, you can just hand in poor work and not care too much because only your professor will read and grade it. With a larger audience such as the web, students are hesitant to post work without thought. It can also scare students into not doing any work because they are afraid of having their worked scrutinized. If a student lacks confidence in their writing, they become paralyzed as a result.

Another aspect to consider is the permanency of the Internet. Once something is online, it’s there forever. Almost everything on the web is crawled by web engines and archived for research and other use. One example of this process is the waybackmachine website which makes complete copies of certain websites. People can jump online and look at older versions of certain websites. Things like the ‘waybackmachine’ may increase the anxiety of students who know their work is out there forever. I feel blogging is suited for more advance courses.

The immediacy of information at our fingertips makes the internet  a great resource. Students will look for their answers on the Internet regardless so why not bring it into the classroom.  I notice students have difficulty separating their online habits.  Personally, when I chat with friends,  I am using abbreviations and other jargon because I want to get my point across and I have another five blinking windows open. Students have to be careful and not allow their casual online presence to spill when they write academically. Hopefully, students can stay away from Facebook and other websites and get their work up.

Students are becoming part of the blogopshere, a community of contributors about various topics of the world. Students may not want to be in the public eye for various reasons.  Employers are known to search for your name and should some questionable content come up as a result of that search, you may not get a job. A person’s online presence is very important and people don’t understand how to manage it. I tell people to assume their is no privacy on the Internet. Anything you post is open to questions by various parties, even if you toggle the privacy button.

I follow many blogs myself and find them to be valuable resource of information. Blogging is the new way companies provide their customers with updates (I didn’t forget about Twitter but I will get to that one day). Students are learning how to contribute to the online community, thank goodness there is an edit button while they do it. Students get to state their opinions and become independent thinkers. When they leave class, they may start a blog of their own on a particular topic they have a passion for. More importantly, they are become independent publishers of their own work… like Whitman.

4 Comments so far

  1. Chase Lysias on September 21st, 2009

    Wow! you definitely know quite a bit about blogging. Unlike me who’s a complete virgin to this “world”. This post makes me feel left out of the loop almost because I never really read or wrote a blog prior to taking this course. Hopefully by the end of the semester I’ll be an expert at blogging!

  2. techwhit on September 21st, 2009

    I am by no means an expert on blogging. These are just some observations I made over time when I was working in instructional technology in the past. Chase, you are already part of the loop because you are contributing to an online community through your blog. Your comment is now creating a conversation and connection between my content and your thoughts. Blogging and other forms of new media are not necessarily difficult to understand. The use of these technologies are rooted in our deep human need to share with others. I view this course as an experiment in the collaboration of some of these tools in the classroom.

  3. Claire Fontaine on October 12th, 2009

    So, it’s not about *knowing* per se, so much as *thinking*…

  4. techwhit on October 12th, 2009

    With all the easy access to information (regardless of the quality), people are able to find information themselves. I don’t have to remember the capital of XYZ because it’s so accessible.The critical skill is synthesis of this information to draw conclusions and make decisions. Knowledge is still a base for analysis but I think separating the acquisition of knowledge and then analyzing it is not productive anymore in my opinion. I would prefer to ask what is the difference between an apple and an orange and hope that someone answering it would identify the characteristics of each through research and observation and then give me a response. The following article from Education Week sheds some light to the knowledge vs analysis argument:

    I don’t agree with all the points but it leads to more discussion.

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