Blogs in Education
Weblogs in Education - Edublogs
Blog from the top of the world
Students get iPods as study aids
A frequent, chronological publication of personal thoughts and Web links.
A blog is often a mixture of what is happening in a person's
A blog is a Website with dated entries, usually
by a single author,
A repository for one's ideas and opinions.
The power of Weblogs is their ability to immediately put form to thought. I can get an idea in my head--however [half] baked it might be--and, in seconds, share it with the world. Immediately, I get feedback, refinement, stories, and so forth spurred by my little idea. Never before was this possible.Blogging pioneer Peter Merholz
A professor reads an article, published in a (free online) journal, and reacts: this reaction is typically the source of valuable insight. Combined with some sort of knowledge management and discussion, a personal blog is probably more useful to researchers than a slew of academic papersStephen Downes
Blogs In Education ~ SchoolBlogs
Ref: SchoolBlogs Site
Weblogs are fully functional web-sites that are updated directly in the internet browser. Their emergence as a component in the two-way flow of information on the web has opened up exciting new avenues for the educational community. SchoolBlogs are weblogs for education.
Often dismissed as merely 'vanity' websites, critics slate their simplicity. Yet it is precisely these two factors that are the keys to their potential. Children are vain, just like adults. They desire and require an audience for their thoughts and achievements. Every teaching college in the world extols the virtues of providing students with an audience.
The simple intuitive nature of SchoolBlogs is precisely what is required to allow students to express themselves on their own terms. Children's involvement with web-sites has to more than a posting of a few pieces of their work on a third person's static web-site for a non-existent world to see. There is no ownership in that. SchoolBlogs can give children their own soapbox, their own voice. They become habitual writers. They are in control.
SchoolBlogs are also a great collaborative tool. Working projects between schools across the globe can be provided with an online platform in a matter of seconds. SchoolBlogs can also produce discussion and information flows within an individual educational establishment, that are far more dynamic and effective than a traditional 'intranet'. Teachers and students are motivated to share informationbecause they have ownership of it.
In short, the potential of weblogs in education is almost limitless. Educators around the globe are using their imagination to produce new ways of using SchoolBlogs to enhance their own teaching and their student's learning.
SchoolBlogs was set up by Peter Ford, a teacher at the British School of Amsterdam, and Adam Curry, ex MTV-vj and co-founder of the United Resources of Jamby. The aim is to make available the potential of weblogs to the educational world. To that end, anyone involved in education can create and maintain an individual SchoolBlog here free of charge. The process is simple, taking a matter of seconds to create an online writing space with its own 'look and feel'.
Weblogs in Education - Edublogs
For people at groundlevel in education, the Weblog is becoming the Web-presence of choice; educators and students alike are taken by the blog's advantages over the traditional Website - without being radically different, the date-stamped blog structure lends itself to regularly updated personal records and comments on current Web-based resources, with quick and visible responses from other bloggers; this easy interaction facilitates the development of learning communities. Although the blog may be simply presented as 'a place to write, nothing fancy', early-adopters are beginning to explore the use of the genre as a teaching/learning tool in educational environments around the world.
Overviews from Early Adopters
In Blogs; Learn to Blog, Blog to Learn Jay Cross introduces some of the ways in which teachers are using blogs to support learning; in the process he refers us to Chris Ashley's Weblogs: A Swiss Army Website , which identifies areas in education best placed to exploit developments in Weblog software content, information, and knowledge management; course management systems; teaching/learning and collaboration; community building; and publishing and journalism. For educational purposes, he sees the Weblog's defining role as a personal writing space immediately accessible to others and amenable to feedback - see for example: Peter Merholz in Our Blogs, Ourselves (Jan 5, 2002).
Peter Ford and Adam Curry have set up a free facility for the creation and maintenance of individual SchoolBlogs - see What are SchoolBlogs? for their rationale; see also the School Blogs article from the Sydney Morning Herald (May 16 2002), and Denise Wood's Creating a new Schoolblogs Site .
In his OLDaily (July 24, 2002), Stephen Downes refers us to John Foley's Are You Blogging Yet and comments that maybe researchers should blog in lieu of publishing academic papers - a theme that has been carried to some degree by other bloggers.
From Australia, a TAFE project entitled Educational Applications of Weblogs presents the topic and practical problems from a student's point of view.
Edublogs and EdubloggersEdublogs for Courses
Stephen Downes' claim to creating the first weblog used in education drew several interesting counterclaims and comments, including one from Ken Tompkins on the use of blogs in Literature Program classrooms at Richard Stockton College; he cites use as student portfolios, and in class group projects, as well as proposals for textual presentations. His samples of student work are striking illustrations of such applications - see for example Lady Geraldine's Courtship: a Romance of the Age Jay Cross maintains a sort of personal clipping service on elearning/training topics in his Research on Learning and Performance blog - it comprises a large collection of small items in reverse chronological order, presenting a cross-section of current references across the field; fortunately, there's a Google search facility at the top. Maish Nichani's elearningpost provides continually updated current awareness across all things elearning - see or hear the interview at the LearnScope site; see also comments and responses arising from his current Expert Spruik residency at LearnScope, on the role of blogs in education. Weblogs in Education (Peter Ford/Adam Curry) carries a steady stream of extensively annotated links to substantial articles on our topic, together constituting a large and constantly growing resource. The sidebar links to Peter Ford's Class Blogs , an interactive Best Practice directory , a collection of other edublogs, and a selection of Writing Projects. Will Richardson's Weblogged-Ed; Using Weblogs in Education provides an ideal entry to the world of teacher-weblogging, featuring: personal postings on professional and technical issues; links to Other Will Weblogs, Archives, Featured Posts, Weblog Resources, Weblogs I Read, Weblogs in Schools/Best Practices, Weblogs/Journalism, Weblogs/Teaching, Weblogs/Literature, and Manila Related items. Joe Luft's Brooklyn BloggEd has a similar feel - carries a current emphasis on access, equity, community and advocacy issues; he has a strong interest in comparative evaluation of blogging software, and also shares ideas on classroom uses for Weblogs (July 25, 2002). Sebastian Fiedler's Dynamic Webpublishing, CMS and Weblogs in Education has a useful 3-columned structure presenting his core theme of dynamic Webpublishing learning environments, posts from leading edubloggers, and links back to their blogsites - any of which will lead you to too much fascinating reading and discussion. Sarah Lohnes' alterego provides an edublog starter kit and introduces her Edublog WebRing .
Some courses maintain a Weblog for internal management and communication purposes - for example:Weblogging may be part of course content, as in:
The EdGames Blog at SDSU's Exploratory Learning Through Simulation and Games course. LBST 499 at IUP - a blog to support Distance Learning courses at Indiana University of Pennsylvania. Middlebury College's September 11: Causes and Consequences course.The maintenance of Weblogs may also be required as classwork for assessment, as in: Medill School of Journalism's News and New Media course. University of Iceland courses The Internet for Library and Information Science and The Internet for Research.Weblogs in Classrooms Saginaw Valley State University's Writing Interpretive Papers course. Centenary College of Louisiana's Seminar in the Novel course. The University of Iowa's Electronic Publishing course. Maui Community College's Web Publishing course (Project 4).
Teachers', classes' and students' Weblogs are interesting for what they say about how teaching/learning strategies are using the genre. They are often intertwined through mutual linking, making navigation definitely nonlinear...Learning to Blog
Terry Elliott's blog reflects the issues encountered by early-adopting teachers (the weblog has become the classroom) - he also has links to students' Weblogs and other teachers' blogs, and a handy Knowledge Toolbox page. From Art Criticism to Art Play is Barbara Ganley's blog for her Writing Across the Arts course at Middlebury College; active use of both the class weblog and individual student blogs are compulsory elements of the course. Sidebar links give access to essential information and advice, and to many useful resources. See especially her comments on the role of the Weblog in the learning experience. In their Cooperative Reading Program Jessica White and Gretchen Stuppy used blogs as reflective journals in a reading enhancement program; follow the links to examples of student reading conversations. For many other examples of reflective learning journals and hints on using them, see the Electronic Learning Journal site. Shoreham Elementary School's 5th Graders' SchoolBlogs: Projects and More presents examples of the use of blogs with younger students.
Blogging is now considered to be a subject worth learning about:Further Reading and Reference
Noah Shachtman's article Blogging Goes Legit, Sort Of Wired News/June 6, 2002) outlines plans by UC Berkeley's Graduate School of Journalism to run a course, with links to other movements in this direction. Dan Mitchell's site Weblogs at De Anza College offers help to students wanting to set up their own blog. Kathleen Robbins' Treasure Chest of Resources contains a rich compilation on Journals/Blogs/Diaries Serious Instructional Technology: In Search of Quality - a very serious edublog. The First Annual Weblog Awards - another search for quality. Scholarly Electronic Publishing Weblog The Holy Grail - on the over-emphasis on software Blogs as Disruptive Tech John Hiler/June 20, 2002) - how weblogs are flying under the radar of the Content Management giants.
by Bill Thompson ~ BBC NEWSBlogs are everywhere and governments are beginning to sit up and take notice, says technology analyst Bill Thompson. You cannot move online these days without falling over a weblog or 10. All the people who, five years ago, were proudly showing off the shiny new e-mail address on their business cards, are now polishing up their weblogs and hoping they have something interesting to say to the world. In principle blogging promises us something close to Tim Berners-Lee's original vision of a writeable web because anyone can create their own constantly-updated site.
Linking to other sites, tracking links made to one's own entries and posting comments or opinions creates a seamless and rich web of information, accessible to all
- or at least, to everyone with a net connection.
Anything which allows more people to share their points of view,
record their experiences
and reach out to other people is to be welcomed.
Of course, the reality is somewhat different, with the complex thread of interconnected diary entries, reviews, comments and cross-references making it incredibly difficult to get a real sense of what is happening. But sometimes it works, and generally anything which allows more people to share their points of view, record their experiences and reach out to other people is to be welcomed.
Freedom of expression
There are, of course, many different sorts of blog. I am interested in technology and how it is developing, so I spend a lot of time looking at sites dealing with new ways of using the net, and the whole self-referential area where blogs, culture, the network and programming intersect.
Others see the tools as dull and boring, and are more concerned with using this new web-based publishing medium to make a difference in the real world. And some of these people are now getting into trouble with their governments, especially if they live in countries which do not respect the basic right to freedom of expression.
Blogger comments from around the world
Do blogs matter? How significant is the rise of blogs? What role do they serve?
Blogging in my country has also become a cool thing to do, with more and more registering or setting up new ones sites/accounts everyday. Blogging takes a certain amount of time, creativity and most of all responsibility. Just because you have a blog doesn't mean you can say whatever you want in it. If the stuff posted on a blog does breach treason or national laws of wherever one is from, then the one who uploaded those comments should be ready to face its consequences. Most blogs out there are full of nothing but incoherent, nonsensical babblings of pre-pubescent kids. But it is their own personal space to talk about their views and ideas. You don't have to read it.
As the old saying goes: "Freedom is great but comes at a price". Information is key to educate and freedom of speech is a form of education. Pity some governments don't take heed of what is being said.
Gerald Glover, UK
When it comes to freedom of speech, the internet is of course leading the way, but blogs are only the tip of the iceberg. Netizens have been quietly talking without fear of censorship since the internet was created, by systems such as newsgroups. Blogs are merely the most accessible means. Furthermore, systems such as Publius, though less accessible, allow content to be published online with strong guarantees of anonymity and resistance to censure.
I've blogged on and off for most of my sad little life. Pre-PC it was called a diary and nobody read that either. The point is if you have something interesting and worthwhile to say then a blog should only be the first stop - maybe a forum of like/unlike minded people might benefit from your musings? And of course it doesn't take a genius to work out that despotic governments will frown upon this type of activity. Same way as they stifle free speech of any kind.
Blog from the top of the worldA blog from Everest could prove to be the most remote location for a web diary yet.
Weblogs are becoming increasingly popular as online diaries discuss every topic under the sun, including now one of the world's most ambitious climbs.
Lorenzo Gariano is one of an army of climbers who will be setting out to tackle the world's largest mountain in celebration of the 50th anniversary of Everest's conquest by Sir Edmund Hillary and Tenzing Norgay. He has been recording every stage of his momentous journey via a satellite phone which beams live audio blogs to a website run by the Open University's Knowledge Media Institute, (KMI), based in Milton Keynes.
For when he is not climbing mountains, Mr Gariano has a much more mundane day job - tending the pot plants at the KMI's laboratories. "While he is watering the plants, he tells us about his climbing exploits so we decided to combine it with testing out some technology," explained Dr Peter Scott, head of the KMI. For his practise climb of the Matterhorn in the Alps, Mr Gariano was hooked up with a Nokia picture phone in order to test out an audio and picture blog service developed at the lab.
The blog proved immensely popular with the climbing world and Mr Gariano's latest blog is also attracting interest. "He is sending back some great reports," said Dr Scott. The technology needed for the Everest blog is much more low-tech, despite the fact that physically the journey is far more challenging.
Mr Gariano uses his satellite phone every couple of days to dial into the lab's phone service, logging a live report which is also recorded on the website as a regular blog.
"Everest is harder because he is using a satellite phone which he has to set up. It is important that the technology does not get in the way of the climb," said Dr Scott. Mr Gariano is taking part in the Adventures International expedition to Everest, organised by the experienced climber Scott Woolums. He will not find himself alone on Everest as 20 teams of mountaineers head for the summit to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the conquering of the world's highest mountain. Neither will he be alone in making phone calls from the summit.
Students get iPods as study aidsStory from BBC NEWS:
A US university has given iPod digital music players to its students to help them with their coursework. The students at Georgia College & State University in Milledgeville, Georgia have found that, far from distracting them from their studies, the music players are an integral part of coursework.
Apple donated about 50 iPods as part of an experimental project to illustrate creative uses for the machine. University professors say the gadgets have helped the students think more critically about their course.
Students enrolled on the Gothic Imagination course, which looks at 18th to 20th century art, architecture, literature and music, were given 5GB of music on their iPods. I think they are an excellent learning tool that allows students to learn about music as a form of art instead of just as noise in the background of our lives
Student at Georgia College
Assignments included looking at how the music related to other art forms of the day. A course entitled War, Politics and Shakespeare incorporated war-related music, asking students to make connections between a variety of protest songs and a selection of Shakespeare plays. As well as specific music functions, the iPods also offered a way to share other students' work, with some assignments being downloaded on to everyone's machine. Dr Rob Viau, who teaches the Gothic Imagination course, said he was pleased with the results of the project.
"The iPod has enabled me to require the students to pre-engage the musical materials before class," he said. Already incorporating a sophisticated website as a study aid for the course, Dr Viau found the iPods added an extra dimension.
"I have deliberately not included sound files on my website because of the obvious problems of file size and variable user interface at home. The "take home" iPod solves this problem for me entirely," he said.
The students too have been pleased with their new study aid. "I think they are an excellent learning tool that allows students to learn about music as a form of art instead of just as noise in the background of our lives," commented one. "I am definitely a lover of my iPod. I've been bragging to all of my friends how we get to use this cool little gadget in my class," said another. "I not only use it for class assignments but for personal use as well."
Daniel & Cox: Edublogs
Eatonweb Portal: A Weblog Directory
Weblogs.com: Recently Changed Weblogs
A Web log about Weblogging
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