Blogs in Education

Pedagogical practices are obviously transformed by new technology options. Educational blogging could be an opportunity to make deep learning to students, and this makes children seek out connections between concepts, and contextualise meaning (Rosie, 2000, in Barlett-Bragg, 2004: 3). The functions that Ann Bartlett-Bragg (2004) points out might work in educational field. For example, the use of group blogs may encourage students’ discussion by providing discussion forums or bulletin boards. Moreover, posting/sharing ideas on blogs and gathering others’ responses as an informal way could enhance a range of research questions for individual academic papers. Indeed, this is what I have been doing on this blog, and I believe it works so far.

Thus, Bartlett-Bragg’s claim of interactivity might be an opportunity to encourage students’ ability to contextualise and deep learning. He goes on to state that ‘the students may start to read each others’ blogs and make comments in construct or agreement- intentionally providing their experience and opinions as an opportunity for others to learn, so creating knowledge artefacts. The students are […] not only as authors but also as readers. Their writing can be strongly opinionated, however, it may also display critical thinking and deep reflective qualities of learning’ (ibid.: 8).

However, Bartlett-Bragg’s argument which is typically claimed as in favour of web2.0 seems too idealistic, and as Neil Selwyn (2009: 80) claims ‘the educational application of the social web is rather more complex, constrained and compromised than prevailing description of “education 2.0” and “school 2.0” would suggest’.

The criticism of expectations of the social web that Selwyn points out in his paper characterise essential features of web2.0 in education. This is because, in terms of participation, the reality on the web is inequity as he describes ’90-9-1 rule’ (ibid.: 75). The majority of users is passive consumers, and only 1 percent of them are willing to be create original content on a regular basis (Nielsen, 2006, cited in Selwyn, 2009: 76). Likewise, this might relate with twitter phenomenon that I posted on first blog. Although twitter is often described as building twitter-sphere as well as blog-o-sphere, the majority of users are not willing to be pass-along, only tweeting conversational pointless tweets.

In addition, term of ‘second order’ digital divides (Hargittai, 2002, cited in Selwyn, 2009: 77) was new to me, and makes me think that one of the most crucial points. Although enhancing equality of opportunity for young generations is often argued by several theorists such as John Thompson (1995) or Howard Rheingold (2012), there still remain problem of digital divides. It is pointed out that individuals preference for particular web applications is differentiated depends on socio-economic status and social class, as well as race, gender, geography age and educational background.

To conclude, there is a possibility that education 2.0 encourage students to enhance their opportunity for study online as Bartlett-Bragg and Downes point out, and it could be changed and more adopted when young generation that Marc Prensky called ‘digital natives’ are more growing up. Yet, as far as contemporary landscape of web 2.0 in education is concerned, there still remain problems that we need to reconsider, and develop more realistic applications on the web.

  • Bartlett-Bragg Anne (2004) Blogging to Learn Flexible Learning, 2004 edition, University of Technology, Sydney, Australia
  • Downes, S (2004) Educational Blogging, EDUCAUSE Review, vol. 39, no. 5 (September/October 2004): 14–26
  • Selwyn, N (2009) Challenging educational expectations of the social web: a web 2.0 far? Digital Kompetanse Vol 4: 72-85

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