~ Blogging ~
Objective: The theme for our final journal entry is “What made you think”. This prompted me to look through the list of forum topics and then my educational resources until at last I hit on the article, ‘Blogging in the Classroom: A 4-Step guide’ (Dunn, 2012). With further reflection I noticed that there is some aspect of blogging in almost all of the course objectives. Not only that, but it also seems to me that it ‘makes the grade’ as a Student Engagement Technique (I don’t understand why it isn’t mentioned in our text?).
Some of the benefits of blogging that Jeff Dunn list are:
- can be collaborative
- helps teachers and students to articulate learning goals and objectives
- provides an authentic learning opportunity
- promotes computer literacy skills
- An excellent way to start ‘networking’; by linking together, writing and reading to researching and learning.
Some of the connections I found between blogging to course objectives and forum topics are:
- Establishes a climate and environment for learning
- enhances motivation
- increases student participation
- uses direct and indirect instructional practices and methods
- uses active and self-directed learning
As a teacher or a student, what’s not to like? No wonder the creation of a blog was a major assignment for this course! I would like to use this entry to delve a little deeper into the heart of blogs and their merits for learning in the classroom.
*poster retrieved from: Edublogs Teacher Challenge
Reflective: I’m pretty excited about blogging and all its benefits, especially for online learners. Having created two blogs now, I am enjoying the further benefits of a sense of achievement and a profound sense of pride. I can tell you (I probably did already!) that there were times in the making of them that I was totally frustrated and overwhelmed and if it wasn’t for a greedy reliance on extrinsic motivation (insider class joke!) I would have thrown it all out the window…but, I persisted and I am glad for it ~ now. As for the frustrating part, that was almost all due to technical/computer stuff, nothing to do with the blogging process itself. Dunn made a statement that I heartily agree with: ‘It’s important not to get distracted by the technology that powers the blogging platform.’ Since there seems to be a wide distribution on the scale of computer skills in a typical class this would be something I would look into before setting it up in my class. A quick survey of blog platform comparisons (see references for site I used) showed WordPress* as having the most desirable features for what I’m looking for (ease and customization capability). From experience I would strongly caution that their ‘themes’ be examined for the capabilities they offer. *Edublogs offers free sites for classroom blogs and is under the WordPress umbrella.
Interpretive: What makes a good ‘student engagement technique?’To answer that it may be helpful to use Elizabeth Barkley’s (Barkley, 2010) definition: ‘Student engagement is a process and a product that is experienced on a continuum and results from the synergistic interaction between motivation and active learning”. Translation: where the magic happens. That interaction just might be working on a blog project that’s of a high interest to the student. You can have a course blog, like the one we did for this class, focused on course topics. There is also the ‘class blog’ that the instructor sets up and monitors, the students check it for updates, and can add posts and comments. There are also learning logs, which are concise, objective and factual in tone, but could be set up like the ‘minute paper’ or ‘muddiest point’.
Decisional: At this point in time I am planning to enter the field of education in ‘Teaching English as a Second Language’ and I will definitely start off my career with a class blog, one that I can use in a career portfolio as well. This will be a blog set up as a newsletter/resource center. There are so many helpful articles out there; I have listed under ‘references’ the ones I used to write this journal. There are also a lot of ESL blogs in use that will be good examples for setting up my own. Something I read or heard someone say regarding technology and teaching was along the lines of: ‘If you’re not up to date with what’s going on in the world and in particular your student’s life ~ then how do you expect to be relevant and authentic in your teaching.’ I think blogging is definitely in the realm of top skills required in the 21st. century. Thanks to PIDP 3250 I have discovered the world of blogging and now ~ nothing will ever be the same again!
*Poster retrieved from: Blogging in the Classroom: A 4-Step guide
Barkley, Elizabeth F., (2010). Student Engagement Techniques, A Handbook for College Faculty. San Francisco, CA: Jossey-Bass.
Blogging in the Classroom: A 4-Step guide. Retrieved from:
Blogging in the classroom: why your students should write online. Retrieved from: http://www.guardian.co.uk/teacher-network/2012/jul/17/students-should-be-blogging
Blogging Platforms Cross Comparison. Retrieved from:
Check out Class Blogs. Retrieved from:
Edublogs Teacher Challenge. Retrieved from:
Instructional Strategies Online. Retrieved from:
Pros and cons of social media in education. Retrieved from: