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Using Blogs as a Teaching and Learning Tool Nada Dabbagh School of Education.

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1 Using Blogs as a Teaching and Learning Tool Nada Dabbagh School of Education

2 What is a Blog or Weblog? Blog is short for Web log and is described as: A form of micro-publishing or documenting your thoughts about an issue on the Web Spontaneous journaling An online personal diary (date/time stamped) A frequent chronological publication of personal thoughts and Web links (Lane Education Service District) The act of blogging is based on the reverse chronological posting of news items and the opportunity for readers to enter personal responses to articles (Jacobs, 2003)

3 Features of Blogs or Weblogs Weblogs are websites that are automatically : Archived, Searchable, Time stamped, Formatted into headlines and entries (Wiley & Martindale, AECT 2003) Weblogs rely on RSS technology – really simple syndication or Rich Site Summary XML (HTML-like tags) representation of blog content and is used to support the automatic retrieval and display of that content (e.g., sharing headlines) An Intro to RSS for educational designers To see the potential for weblogs and RSS working in combination, visit Stephen Downes Edu_RSS site

4 Additional Characteristics and Terminology A basic blog is pretty one-sided, it's just you posting your thoughts on the Web using a blogging tool (e.g., Blogger.com) Web-based communication tool Personal news space – online organized personal newspaper Theater of interpersonal communication Blogging community - blogosphere

5 Types of Blogs Personal blogs Corporate blogs Educational blogs Use of blogs at Harvard to create an online/offline community (show aggregator) Use of blogs in GMU’s Townhall (GMU’s townhall)

6 Potential of Blogs as an Educational Tool “Serves as an online journal encouraging personal reflection, and as a means of encouraging collaboration through the sharing of links to resources and up-to-date information (Oravec, 2002)." “Offers a unique voice for students, empowering them, and encouraging them to become more critically analytical in their thinking because others can critique, comment, and interpret a blog (if it is public) and therefore a student has to stand by one's opinions“ (Oravec, 2002).

7 How I Used Blogs A journaling tool to encourage articulation and reflection on course readings EDIT 704 – Instructional Technology Foundations and Learning Theory Journaling questions to guide postings Time stamp, easy of use, and ability to post frequently were attractive features Blogs were embedded in WebCT

8 Would I Use Blogs Again? Not sure – students reactions were mixed (did not conduct formal research) Perhaps when blogs become integrated in a CMS Perhaps when I learn how to group or cluster blogs so that students can easily visit each others’ blogs and comment on them Perhaps when I figure out what is the difference between blogs, a discussion forum, or presentation areas in WebCT Perhaps when I learn what a WIKI is …

9 What is a Wiki? A wiki is an extremely flexible kind of blog that supports collaborative web-editing or editing by anyone, at any time, from anywhere (open editing) A wiki is a piece of server software that allows users to freely create and edit Web page content using any Web browser (from wiki.org) A wiki can also be used as a discussion medium, a repository, a mail system, and a chat room For further information, see


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