Tuesday, August 17, 2004

BlogEducating (blogs place in education)

While they have been around for a while, blogs are just now reaching an awareness level with educators, and we are just beginning to see a wide range of potential uses for blogs in the teaching and learning process.

Specific uses may include student publishing tools, electronic portfolios, class resources, project journaling, communication for organizations / committees / teams, alternatives to course management tools, knowledge management, assessment, just to name a few.

As part of British Columbia's BlogTalk- Discussion on the use of blogs in educcation, Scott Leslie provided an excellent "matrix" of potential uses of weblogs in education. The matrix features a coordinate system with dimensions of Student Blogs vs Faculty Blogs and actions of Reading Blogs vs Writing Blogs. Within each quadrant, he outlines examples on a continuium defined by the audience "For the Internet - For other students - for instructors - for self". View image of matrix or a MS Word version.

Blogs as Student Publishing Tools

Weblogs provide an interface for students to create web sites for project assignments, journaling, writing, problem-solving, that avoid having them to learn HTML, web publishing software, or waste time creating yet another overloaded PowerPoint. Blogs provide a way to extend their work to an audience not limited to their instructor or who was present in class that day. Blogs provide a built-in system for students to give and receive feedback from not only their teachers, but their peers.

Blogs as Electronic Portfolios

The original version of this BlogShop was for a group of faculty at Chandler-Gilbert Community College interested in systems for electronic portfolios. This was presented not necessarily to say that blogs were ideal as an eportfolio platform, more to say it was possible and to look carefully at the communication and publishing tools built in to web logs. We had a section of the blogshop that expounded (or at least tried to) on An Idea: Blogfolios.

In fact, Chandler-Gilbert has created their own eportfolio system that iincludes a blogging tool, and you should be able to find examples of both student (example) and faculty (example) use.

A number of teacher education students have taken to using blogs as a portfolio or as a journaling tool of their experience, such as Ryna Eby, Dialectic Journal, Lee Smith's Me v2.0, and Mrs Taylor's Weblog.

In the hands of a talented graphic designer, a blog can produce a stunning electronic portfolio.

Class/Course/Discipline Resources

As you look at more blog examples, hopefully you can see how a blog is a great tool for assembling internet resources for a speciific course or subject area. First of all, it provides the means not only to link to other sites, but to annotate them as to what is relevant about those sites.

But a blog has the capabilty of organizing resources into different categories, and it can add the use of a search tool.

Now isn't that better than just providing a static list of links?

See Bruce Landon's Weblog for Students (Psychology) or Archaeology Online. Also note that the subject oriented collection of websites at About.com is actually run completely with weblog technology. Citizen Scientist is a "clearinghouse of ideas for bringing science into the classroom." Mrs Counter's Fourth Grade Class Weblog provides resources for this school in Maineville, Ohio. Tim Merritt's DV for Teachers provides a wealth of resources.

More examples to come...