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    Blogging Blogging Document Transcript

    • Pratiwi Wini Artati EDRE 501 Introduction What are Blogs or weblogs? Within a basic manner, there are three important terms related to blogs: blogs itself, blogging, bloggers, and blogosphere. Blogs are Internet-based journals. These journals are different from traditional journals in several ways by means that they are set for publicly. By blogging, people place their ideas out in public for the world to see and react to and are able to reflect their ideas and make them available for public effortlessly. In the same way, others are invited to look at the blogger's thoughts and opinions on a regular basis. As an illustration, a teacher may discuss the planning and execution of a particular lesson on her blog. She records the steps involved and the choices of materials and strategies on a regular basis. Readers of the blog may follow the development of the lesson as it takes place, and then the readers will wait with some expectation to see if the lesson was a success. According to Huffaker (2004), Blogs or weblogs are the latest development of CMC (Computer Mediated Communication) in the form of personal web diary, filled with ideas, news, opinion and are most often attached with audio or video files in order to make it more engaging and interesting. Blogging is simply the activity of creating and managing blogs. Blogging also recognized as the technology of reading and writing in the 21st century – the elevated dimension for reading and writing in the digital world. While blogs are the material, blogger refers to the doer - people who maintain a blog (Richardson, 2006). Because blogs are like diaries or journals they are organized according to time. The most recent postings are at the top of the page. Often postings refer to an earlier discussion that may be found by scrolling down or following a link to an archive. Adding a new posting to a blog is easily accomplished with the use of specialized software programs for maintaining blogs. Blogs often list links to other blogs. These links 1
    • Pratiwi Wini Artati EDRE 501 organized collectively where one particular interest might have collective links related to it. This creates what is called as blogosphere - the collective world of blogging. Furthermore, the new dimension offered by has enabled people around the globe to communicate and express their mind. With blogging, reading and writing are no longer two dimensional but more to three dimensional or hyper dimensional activities because they can be enriched and linked with more sophisticated features such as pictures, animation/flash, audio, and video where they can communicate and visualize the ideas in a more sophisticated way. The idea of blogging is combining the power of self-journalism, communication and personal publication that in such a way creates unique sense of sharing and collaborating through reinventing writing as a dynamic, active method of communicating ideas (Richardson, 2006). Resembling such characteristics, there are two prominent features of blogs that differentiate them from other kinds of media: hyperactivity and interactivity. First, blogs are hyperactive. This means that blogs can link to other Web sites. If a blogger has read an article on the Internet that he thinks others should read, the blogger can make a comment on the article and link readers directly to it. This allows the blogger and readers to have access to the same materials on the Internet and enter into a discussion about them. Second, blogs are also interactive. To illustrate, as the lesson plan is being developed readers are also allowed to make comments. The blogger may post a decision to introduce material using a small group activity. The readers now switch roles and become participants. They can post comments offering support or suggesting alternative ways to handle the same material. Therefore, it is important to consider that the power of blogging lies in words and how they are created, arranged, modified, and developed in a way that they are able to be communicative, reflective, and collaborative. 2
    • Pratiwi Wini Artati EDRE 501 The dimension of blogging has changed the face of various fields such as advertising, communication, journalism, broadcasting, and now is reaching out the area of education. Research in education has brought up this breakthrough into education field where blogging is used by teacher, students, administrators, or even faculty members for both educational and administration purposes. Concerning the use of weblogs in the educational setting, this paper is focused on themes about how weblogs can be used in educational setting along with the notion of their effectiveness and significant implication towards educational practices. For that reason, there will be one research question as the main framework of this paper: what are the potentials of weblogs that can be explored and implemented as tools for effective learning in the educational setting? To answer such question, this paper will employ, generate, and synthesize three different perspectives taken from two different studies and one journal article. The first study takes blogging and its behavior and characteristics in educational setting from the perspective of the students, while the second study takes blogging and its practices from the perspective of preservice teachers. To cohesively enrich the discussion, one journal article is taken as a reference in this paper in which it pinpoints the use of weblogs to promote literacy in the classroom level. After elaborating and highlighting important points, ideas, and concept from every study and article used as main references in this paper, the next part of this paper will be about synthesizing all of the elaborated and highlighted ideas to answer research questions that have been introduced earlier in the beginning part of this paper. Finally, this paper will formulate the whole ideas into a firm and concise conclusion as the final part of the discussion. Blogging and blogspots: an alternative format for encouraging reflective practice among preservice teachers. 3
    • Pratiwi Wini Artati EDRE 501 This research focuses on the use of weblogs as a web-based journaling tool to increase reflective practice of preservice teachers and it is clearly stated in the research purpose. As in the introduction part, this research uses good description from the review of the literature by introducing two different models of journaling activities – traditional and online journals - and how they differ from each other in terms of giving students of preservice teacher the awareness of teaching and learning dynamics in their most reflective manner. What is more, the introduction provides a framework for the exploring further about the hypothesis in this study, stating that “journaling enhances preservice students’ awareness of the complexity of the teaching and learning continuum” (Stiler, 2003, p. 789). The concern of this research is also stated concisely that fewer studies had been conducted to explore and observe more about deeper, actions and processes of reflective activities at personal level where it is considered as missing pieces. Therefore, the good use of review of the literature in this research functions as a good base– finding the missing pieces as it is indicated in the level of awareness of reflective activities conducted among preservice teachers. Moreover, this research clearly describes parameters used to define reflective teacher: “Examines, frames, and attempts to solve the dilemmas of classroom practice; is aware of and questions the assumptions and values he or she brings to the classroom; is attentive to the institutional and cultural contexts in which he or she teaches; takes part in curriculum development and is involved in school change efforts, and take s the responsibility for his or her own professional development” (Stiler, 2003, p. 789 – 790). 4
    • Pratiwi Wini Artati EDRE 501 Mindful of these characteristics, this research explains accordingly about the advantages from further exploration with online journal as a state of the art to reach the following prospective goals: “Increasing student enthusiasm in journal writing, increasing both the quality and quantity of students output, increasing potential for teacher-mediated input, and increasing the potential for future extensions to include the addition of links to illustrative websites and other options offered by web-based learning” (Stiler, 2003, p. 790). By properly presenting a correlation between parameters of reflective teacher and experimenting the benefits of exploring online journals as a means of reflective activity to reach prospective goals, this study builds better understanding towards its hypothesis – strengthening its notion in this research. As in the last part of the introduction, the objectives of this study are clearly delineated: “describing background and approach used in the initiative of this study, a student evaluation of Blogger, an assessment of student outcomes, and suggestions on how these experiences may benefit students and preservice educators” (Stiler, 2003, p. 790). Adding to that, this study breaks down its part of discussion in a well-arranged manner. There are three major divisions in this study. The first part is the discussion about the reflective teacher model. The second part is about discovering and using weblogs and other journaling options. The third part is about blogger as a tool for online journaling and how it is implemented for preservice teacher training. The fourth part is about the discussion and findings of the study, mainly about using, assessing blogger and the quality of reflection by using blogger. The last part is the conclusion, mainly focused on the implications for preservice educators. The good organization in this research enables the reader to have better understanding about the overall information. 5
    • Pratiwi Wini Artati EDRE 501 The components in the discussion of the methods and procedures about how blogger as an online journaling tool is implemented in two classes (EDUC 302 and EDUC 214) are comprehensibly explained as each of the class are given the same treatment and procedures: the instructional guidance and surveys for responses. However, the use of only one table (table 1) to describe the result of the percentage responses is less highly likely to give less elaboration and less representation from the overall procedure conducted in this research. There could have been one more table to present and clearly display the result from class EDUC 214 as opposed to only the table for class EDUC 302. Apart from that, the findings are not over-generalized by means that the findings are reported appropriately based on their actuality as in the comparative form between each class and they correspond to the research objectives and statement of the hypothesis. In this section as well, the issues and problems related to the experimentation of Blogger in two classes also well - stated in order to provide the ground for problem solving in the further research. Finally, the conclusion enfolds the whole discussion into an appropriate way where it comes directly from results as they relate to research purpose – describing implications and suggestions for preservice educators related to blogging as a reflective tool to enhance student reflectivity by using Blogger as in online journaling activity. Characterizing the different blogging behaviors of students on an online distance learning course This research focuses on the importance of blogging activity that suits to the individual needs of the students in UK Open University by adopting a learner-centered perspective and 6
    • Pratiwi Wini Artati EDRE 501 exploring students’ understanding of how blogs and blogging can support distance learning in higher education. The introduction part in this research clearly states research purpose and questions, statement of problems and also a glance to the methods of the research. The purpose of this research is to report the important factors that students encounter when they are blogging and discuss five distinct types of blogging behaviors developed by students on a postgraduate online distance education course at UK Open University. There are two research questions addressed: (1) what challenges do students face when they are trying to blog? (2) How do their perceptions of these challenges impact upon the ways in which they use their blogs? Within this section as well, the method is preliminary introduced to give a glance for the reader on how to answer such questions, that is by reporting findings from interviews with 15 students enrolled on a postgraduate online distance education at UK Open University. There are five major parts which are well-organized: background/review of literature, methodology, reports/findings, discussion, and conclusion. Every part consists of subtheme that really provides further description and detailed explanation that correspond to each other. As it is described in the background, the author uses good references for its review of the literature – providing basic framework of understanding towards the research questions, objectives and purposes. In this section, the author appropriately present findings from previous studies to strengthen the notions of the statement of the problems as they are displayed in the research questions. The findings of the previous studies are clearly stated that students are often task- focused and outcome-oriented; that they can find it difficult to understand the rationale of blogging, and that they may be unable to recognize how blogging could enhance pre-existing learning activities. Therefore, it gives a strong reason for this study to be conducted as it suggests 7
    • Pratiwi Wini Artati EDRE 501 that “we need better understanding, from the students’ perspective, of why so many experiments with blogs have not produced the desired results” (Kerawalla, et al, 2008, p. 2). In the part of methodology, the procedure is very clearly stated with good reliability of observation. Within this section, there are three subsections that explain everything more detail: participants and their course, data collection, data analysis (analysis of the interviews and analysis of the blog content). In the first part of the subsection, it is clearly described how this research incorporates and implements the method used for obtaining participants and the designated tasks required for the participants. 108 students from online distance learning course (The eLearning Professional) at UK Open University. The ratio is 36.4% male and 63.6% female with most between 30 and 60 years of age. Two recruitment notices were posted on the course website for voluntarily participants of the research, 15 positive replies from 13 females and 2 males in the UK (10), Philippines (1), Canada (1), Spain (1), Cyprus (1), and USA (1) with mean age 47.7 years, range 29-55 years. The mean number of participant blog posts over the whole course was 14 and the mean number for non participant blog posts was 11 by means that the participants were representative as a whole (Kerawalla, et al, 2008). In data collection, it is clearly presented about how the data was collected, that is through the observation of blog content with students’ consent and a semi-structured interview with personalized interview schedule using a conference telephone (teleconference). In the same fashion, there is good description of data analysis and process where the information provided in 8
    • Pratiwi Wini Artati EDRE 501 the section of data analysis gives a clear overview about the analysis of interview and the analysis of the blog content. The interviews were audio-recorded and then transcribed. As an explanatory study, the research adopts a grounded theory approach which focused on the identification of emergent themes in the data. The next step was the grouping of individual responses from the data. From this grouping of individual responses, there are five different characteristics of blogging behaviors identified: blogging avoidance, resource network building, support network building, self sufficient blogging, anxious, self conscious blogging. As to continue, the blog content was then analyzed by conducting re-analyzed version to explore the ways in which the four groups of students addressing and revealing personal details about themselves and their lives (Kerawalla, et al, 2008). The discussions and conclusion are clear and come directly from the results as they relate to research questions. The findings in the discussion also deliberately explained in correspond to what have been described in the data analysis. In this section, the excerpts from the blogs and transcriptions from students’ interview responses are also attached to give illustrative description in order to strengthen the inclination towards the themes in the findings – audience, community, comments, and presentation. As a result, the findings in this section are not over-generalized but clearly fulfill research purpose and objective as well as answer the research questions as in the following: Many students enjoy blogging and found it to be beneficial from both educational and social perspectives. Blogs are used in several ways, including community building, resource consolidation, sharing ideas, catharsis and emotional support, or as a personal journal. Blogging can be problematic in terms of revealing their personally perceived academic inadequacies to others. The blogging behaviors emerged through the interaction of four main factors (audience, community, 9
    • Pratiwi Wini Artati EDRE 501 comments, and presentations), there are five distinct blogging behavior (blogging avoidance, resource network building, support network building, self-sufficient blogging, and anxious, self conscious blogging). However, all of the results and findings are described without using tables or any numerical representation such art charts or graphics. This research could have used tables or any numerical representation such as charts or graphics to present the descriptive data in order to provide stronger emphasis on the clearer grasp and readability of the data used in this research. As the conclusion plays important role in compacting the whole points into a clear and concise points designated to give good grasp about the whole situated ideas presented in this research, the author has been able to provide a clear and appropriate value of the conclusion so that the reader will be able to grasp the whole points and ideas effectively as it is described below: Blogging was successful as most students tried it out and devised their own (individual) ways in which it could support their learning. Whereas the range of behaviors demonstrates the flexibility of blogging which may pose a challenge for educators who are designing courses with prescribed activities. Therefore, it may be appropriate to make blogging activities flexible, voluntary or loosely prescribed to give students the opportunity to adapt blogging to meet their own needs without leaving their required activities abandoned. The Educated Blogger: Using Weblogs to Promote Literacy in the Classroom This journal article focuses on the role of weblogs or blogs and their features in the classroom setting which places as an excellent opportunity for educators to advance literacy through storytelling and dialogue. This journal articles has good way in organizing the contents: 10
    • Pratiwi Wini Artati EDRE 501 introduction, the importance of literacy, the art of storytelling, blogs in the classroom, examples of blogs in practice, and conclusion. The exploration about blogs is enriched by providing examples or best practices of blogs mostly in the classroom setting. The author of this articles argued whether weblogs are excellent tool for promoting literacy, especially in the classroom setting. This notion of argument is clearly presented in the introduction part within the hypothesis stating that “blogs can be an important addition to educational technology initiatives because they promote literacy through storytelling, allow collaborative learning, provide anytime-anywhere access, and remain fungible across academic discipline” (Huffaker, 2004, p. 2). To elaborate the discussion, this article addresses two major questions: (1) Can blogs enhance learning environments? (2) Can they be used in classroom settings? In order to answer these questions, this article generates clear and concise procedure and process that allows the reader to have better mapping of understanding about the whole ideas presented in the article as it is stated in the last part of the introduction: First it will look at the importance of literacy in children and adolescent development. Next it will juxtapose storytelling as a catalyst for advancing literacy. Third, it will explore ways in which blogs can be used in the classroom for both individuals and groups. Next, it will also demonstrate some examples of blogs used in classroom settings. The last part is the conclusion that conveys recommendations and also future research implications (Huffaker, 2004, p. 2). The review of the literature is comprehensive and related to both thesis statement/purposes and research questions. Within this section, the strong notion is clearly presented by the author stating that “blogs represent a perfect medium for literacy, equitable for all age groups and both genders, and still provide a medium for learning programmatic skills” 11
    • Pratiwi Wini Artati EDRE 501 (Huffaker, 2004, p. 3). The juxtaposition about the art of storytelling is well placed as to support the strength of blogs introduced earlier in the review of literature clearly stating that the implementation of blogs for storytelling in educational settings is an important consideration because it is a self-initiating and self-sustaining way to advance literacy (Huffaker, 2004). The discussion about the importance of storytelling with blogs as a perfect medium to develop literacy skills is sufficiently incorporated by elaborating the use of blogs in the classroom and their examples in practice, such as writing comments, and critiques for journalism or literature class, creating a portal for all classrooms, promoting research, reading, and writing by using blog software, integrating blogs for teachers in documenting, reflecting, mentoring, analyzing, and communicating. Furthermore, within the discussion, it can be noted that creativity is significant element to online content creation (Huffaker, 2004). However, the article is less likely to explore more detailed description about how blogs are implemented in such a way where literacy is promoted at its best, for example, describing and explaining more about what kind of features and how are they utilized effectively in term of developing literacy in the classroom. Apart from that, the article is able to provide briefly summarizing the whole ideas, accompanying by future research implications regarding language acquisition or learning comprehension and retention by using weblogs. Synthesis of the Studies As it is mentioned earlier in the earlier part of this paper, the three studies used as major references will be elaborated and synthesized with the research questions of this paper. Accordingly, the result/findings from these three studies will be used to answer the following 12
    • Pratiwi Wini Artati EDRE 501 research questions that serve as framework of this paper: what are the potentials of weblogs that can be explored and implemented as tools for effective learning in the educational setting? To answer the question, it is important to observe the highlighted ideas from every study that correspond to the potentials of weblogs that can be explored and implemented as tools for effective learning in the educational setting. As the first study focuses on the use of blogs to encourage reflective practice among preservice teachers, the potentials of weblogs that can be explored and implemented as tools for effective learning in educational setting are related to the prospective accounts of the depth and breadth of students reflectivity appeared to be positively affected by the use of blogs based on a relatively high indication of blogger as a learning tool. Therefore, as a learning tool, blogs are potentials to help students overcome the fear of writing because once the initial fear is reduced, blogs can be further explored and implemented to enhance student ability to reflect critically on teaching and learning and to promote journaling as routine reflective practice (Stiler, 2003). Different from the first study in answering research question of this paper about the potentials of weblogs that can be explored and implemented as tools for effective learning in educational setting, the second study focuses on the importance of blogging activity that suits to the individual needs of the students in UK Open University by adopting a learner-centered perspective and exploring students’ understanding of how blogs and blogging can support distance learning in higher education. Therefore, the potentials of weblogs are explored from the perspective of MA students in online distance learning course where they are beneficial for community building, resource-consolidation, sharing ideas, catharsis and emotional support, or as personal journal to meet their own learning and personal education needs based upon the observation from students blogging behaviors (Kerawalla, et al, 2008). 13
    • Pratiwi Wini Artati EDRE 501 The third study is more to descriptive study about literature review and best practices about the use of blogs to promote literacy skill. Therefore, to answer the research question in this paper about the potentials of weblogs that can be explored and implemented as tools for effective learning in educational setting, it explores more about the role of blogs in providing opportunity to advance literacy through storytelling and dialogue, providing linkage with an online community to create an excellent computer mediated communication context for individual expressions and collaborative interaction with personalized approaches to classroom implementation and enhance the applicability of weblogs in educational setting (Huffaker, 2004). Conclusion By observing and exploring deeper the three studies used as references in this paper, elaborating, and synthesizing the results/findings in every study, the research question in this paper about the potentials of weblogs that can be explored and implemented as tools for effective learning in educational setting can be answered thoroughly by accommodating and correlating the discussion in every study. As every study has its own characteristics in giving various perspective about blogs and its implications in educational setting, the answers for the research questions in this paper is enriched by the diversity and wider variety of how blogs can be variously applied and utilized to support learning in educational setting. Therefore, the potentials of weblogs that can be explored and implemented as tools for effective learning in educational setting are described at their best as in the following: (1) Helping students overcome the fear of writing because once the initial fear is reduced, blogs can be further explored and implemented to enhance student ability to reflect 14
    • Pratiwi Wini Artati EDRE 501 critically on teaching and learning and to promote journaling as routine reflective practice (Stiler, 2003). (2) Providing beneficial prospects for community building, resource-consolidation, sharing ideas, catharsis and emotional support, or as personal journal to meet their own learning and personal education needs based upon the observation from students blogging behaviors (Kerawalla, et al, 2008). (3) Providing opportunity to advance literacy through storytelling and dialogue, providing linkage with an online community to create an excellent computer mediated communication context for individual expressions and collaborative interaction with personalized approaches to classroom implementation and enhance the applicability of weblogs in educational setting (Huffaker, 2004). Reflection and Overall Value of the Assignment Completing this assignment has given me valuable opportunity to understand about the power of research in providing framework for problem solving and reviewing issues. This has been very important for me since I have had a chance to learn about research background, methodology, data analysis, and findings where they are formulated in such a way to build understanding in the most respectable manner. This assignment has given me further ideas about what I am going to write for my thesis, serving as a practical ground to start exercising and 15
    • Pratiwi Wini Artati EDRE 501 experimenting in writing and building ideas, argument, and concepts as well as learning to design research methods and data collection. As I have explored more about blogs and their potentials that can be explored and implemented as tools for effective learning in educational setting, I have experienced valuable process in conducting library research in finding related articles and journals that correspond to my research question – maximizing library research tools as ERIC, Google Search or PsyInfo to find the best references for my papers. In the similar fashion, I have come to learn and to know more about research terms usages that are very valuable for my further experience in conducting research because by being familiar with at least the terms covered in research, it will be less complicated for me to learn about research at ease. Furthermore, I have also learned how to practice, develop and improve my analytical building and perspective in which it is very crucial especially when it is related to observational skills. References Stiler, GM. (2003). Blogging and blogspots: an alternative format for encouraging reflective practice among preservice teachers. Education, 123, 789-797. Richardson, Will. (2006). Blogs, wikis, podcasts, and other powerful web tools for classrooms. California: Sage Publications Ltd. 16
    • Pratiwi Wini Artati EDRE 501 Kerawalla, L. (2008). Characterizing the different blogging behaviors of students on an online distance learning course. Learning, Media and Technology. 33, 1-13. Huffaker, D. (2004). The educated blogger: using weblogs to promote literacy in the classroom. First Monday, 9, 1-8. 17