Off Blogging the Examined Life: Expressing, Testing, and Publishing Ideas to Deepen Understanding
The Educated Blogger: Using Weblogs to Promote Literacy in the Classroom
This paper explores the role of weblogs in promoting literacy in classroom settings. Literacy remains paramount in learning, not only for language development, but also as the foundation of all academic disciplines including science and mathematics. Storytelling ignites literacy and remains an important part of life from childhood through adulthood. Weblogs resemble personal journals or diaries and provide an online venue where self-expression and creativity is encouraged and online communities are built. Therefore weblogs provide an excellent tool where storytelling and literacy advance for both individual expressions and collaborative learning. Furthermore, weblogs can be used across academic disciplines, making it a viable tool for educational technologists.
Blogging in the Classroom: A Preliminary Exploration of Student Attitudes and Impact on Comprehension
This exploratory study uses quantitative and qualitative data to explore (1) whether educational blogging is associated with gains in student comprehension, (2) the relationship between writing medium (online or hard copy) and student time on task, and (3) student perceptions of blogging in the classroom. College students (n=52) completed a series of writing assignments, submitted either as traditional, hard copy papers or as blog entries (submitted online and reviewed by peers), and then completed a survey instrument probing comprehension of material and perceptions. Analysis revealed no significant differences in comprehension between blog and paper assignments, although students reported spending less time writing in the blogging condition. Qualitative data revealed a need for more guidance regarding the process of reviewing and critiquing the work of peers. Although specific comprehension gains as measured by exam items was not associated with the blogging medium, student comments suggest that blogging was associated with other specific instructional gains, such as exposure to more diverse viewpoints and increased commitment to writing and thinking. Pragmatic guidelines for instructors wishing to incorporate blogging into their classroom activities are discussed.