In researching the use of web technologies in classrooms, I was interested in learning about the benefits of blogging in teaching and learning. While I have experience using blogs in my personal life, I have never really had to use them in an academic setting. However, it seemed clear to me that the use of blogging in education would be a really productive and cost-effective tool to use in a classroom. In reading the article “Blogging for Enhanced Teaching and Learning”, I found that my assumptions were supported. Within the article, author Marie Flatley brought up several major benefits of blogging in education. After testing out the use of blogging in her own classroom, she discovered that blogs are free and easily accessible, they facilitate group work and promote collaboration, and they encourage student-centered learning.
Anyone with access to a computer and to the internet can participate in a blog. They are free, relatively easy to sign up for, and they come with user-friendly instructions on how to get started blogging. “Since a basic blog is free and can be set up in less than 5 minutes, using them for both teaching and learning has low cost and high return on investment” (Flatley, 2004, p. 78). In addition to being easy to use, another benefit of blogging is the accessibility. The great thing about utilizing a blog for classwork means that students are not limited to a classroom or a traditional homework or educational setting. Flatley witnessed in her own classroom that students were “using the tool to work on their project together but in anytime and anyplace mode” (2004, p. 78). Students are given the opportunity to work outside of class, while still having access to all of the educational materials needed for a specific project.
As well as being accessible, blogging is a great method of promoting group work and collaboration. Flatley states that blogging is an “excellent tool to support group work” (2004, p. 78). With the implementation of blogging into group work, students can work together, share ideas, and provide feedback inside and outside of the classroom. Blogs “help students share ideas more effectively and manage their time more efficiently” (Flatley, 2004, p. 78). Using this type of web technology allows students to ask questions and provide feedback in a non-threatening manner. Since most of the correspondence and feedback is done through written work on the blog, students also continue to improve their writing skills. In reflection of the use of blogging for group projects in her own class, Flatley found that, “when one member asked for help or suggestions, others readily stepped up in a cooperative rather than antagonistic manner” (2004, p. 79).
Another important benefit of blogging in education is the fact that it encourages student-centered learning. The use of web technologies allows students to learn how to manage their time and to self-motivate. Students in Flatley’s class “reported that the use of the blog enhanced their motivation” (2004, p. 79). The more self-motivated students are, the less time it requires for a teacher to continuously remind students to do their work. This, in turn, frees up time for the teacher to be more accessible to student needs within the classroom.
Flatley, Marie E. (2004). Blogging for Enhanced Teaching and Learning. Business Communication Quarterly, Vol. 68, Issue 1, p 77-80. Retrieve from: http://www.lib.umn.edu