The effective use of blogs in economics education

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Workshop given at the Developments in Economics Education conference about using blogs in economics teaching and research

Workshop given at the Developments in Economics Education conference about using blogs in economics teaching and research

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  • 1. The effective use of blogs in economics education Developments in Economics Education (DEE) Conference Paul Ayres and Bhagesh Sachania http://del. icio .us/ cfbloke / dee
  • 2. Aims of this session
    • In the next hour, we hope that you will
    • have answered the following questions:
    • What are the possibilities for using blogs in economics teaching?
    • How can they be harnessed to disseminate research?
    • What are the opportunities and risks of blogging?
  • 3. How will we do this
    • Experiential learning approach
    • Small group work
    • Examining best practice
    • Discussions and brainstorms
    • … facilitated by us,
    • but with active input from you
  • 4. Who are we to tell you this …
    • Paul Ayres, Economics Editor, Intute: Social Sciences, paul . ayres @ bristol .ac. uk
    • Experienced blogger and podcaster at: http://www.intute.ac.uk/socialsciences/blog/
    • Collaborated on the Economics in Action blog, part of the Why Study Economics initiative http://whystudyeconomics.ac.uk/blog/
    • Written and presented about these issues to a number of Social Science organisations
  • 5. Who are we to tell you this …
    • Bhagesh Sachania, Information Officer, Economics Network, b.m. sachania @ bristol .ac. uk
    • Has run a series of workshops on the effective use of educational technology at economics departments round the UK
    • Authors of the “Guide to Using Blogs in Economics” available from: http://www. economicsnetwork .ac. uk /showcase/ ayres _ blogs . htm
  • 6. About you
    • A quick show of hands:
    • How many of you know what a blog is?
    • How many of you read blogs about economics?
    • How many of you have commented on a blog written by someone else?
    • How many of you have written a blog post already?
  • 7. What is a blog?
    • “ Blog (short for Weblog): a Web site that contains an online personal journal with reflections, comments, and often hyperlinks provided by the writer.”
    • ( Merriam-Webster’s Words of the Year 2004)
    • Try “Writing and managing content” section 3 of
    • the Guide to Using Blogs in Economics
  • 8. Characteristics of blogs
    • Quick and easy web publishing
    • Offer instant communication
    • Regularly updated
    • Require little technical knowledge
    • A social / networking activity
    • Link to other online resources
  • 9. Rise of the bloggers
    • Over 70 million blogs online
    • 120,000 new blogs every day
    • 1.5 million blog posts a day
    • 87% of UK online adults have heard about blogs
    • 40% of US online adults read blogs for political news
    • Sources: technorati.com, Harris Poll, Nielsen/NetRatings
  • 10. Activity 1: Learning from other people and their blogs
    • Tell your colleagues about your favourite economics blog and why you like it
    • If you can’t think of one go to: http://www.intute.ac.uk/socialsciences/economics/
    • Search for blog* to bring up a list of blogs and blogging related sites
    • We will collate the suggestions and come up with an economics blog reading list
  • 11. Activity 2: How might you use a blog for economics education?
    • Potential teaching and learning uses of blogs:
    • Replacing standard class web pages
    • Professor-written blogs which cover interesting developments that relate to the theme of the course
    • Organization of in-class discussion
    • Organization of intensive seminars where students have to provide weekly summaries of the readings
    • Requiring students to write their own blogs as part of their grade
    • Henry Farrell, Crooked Timber blog
  • 12. Activity 2: How might you use a blog for economics education?
    • Potential research uses of blogs:
    • Writing up as you go along
    • Floating new or embryonic ideas
    • Dissemination of research results
    • Take advantage of the “invisible college” of fellow economists
    • Engaging with the public to raise the level of debate on economic issues
    • Sidestepping the mainstream media for publicity
  • 13. Activity 2: How might you use a blog for economics education?
    • In your groups, come up with a 30 word statement on how you could use a blog in your economics education
    • What are the characteristics of a blog that would make it appropriate over another form of technology / teaching?
    • Try “Uses in Economics” section 5 of the Guide to using Blogs in Economics
    • Try Scott Leslie’s matrix of blog uses: http://www. edtechpost .ca/gems/matrix2.gif
  • 14.  
  • 15. Activity 3: What issues are associated with blogging?
    • “… blogs are great as they let anyone say anything they want about any subject”
    • … blogs present many opportunities
  • 16. Activity 3: What issues are associated with blogging?
    • “… blogs are rubbish as they let anyone say anything they want about any subject”
    • … blogs also have their risks
  • 17. Activity 3: What issues are associated with blogging?
    • In your groups, examine your 30 word statements about your use of a blog in economics education
    • Come up with a list of potential risk factors and opportunities of using a blog in this fashion
    • Try section 4 “Risks” of the Guide to Using Blogs in Economics
  • 18. Activity 3: What issues are associated with blogging?
    • Some questions you may wish to consider:
    • Will your blog be publicly available?
    • Will you allow comments?
    • Does your institution know you are blogging?
    • Are your ideas “safe” or could they be stolen?
    • Who is in “control” of a student written class blog?
    • What resources do you have available – time, computing, subject expertise?
  • 19. Finally … a note of caution
    • “ The roof of the classroom has been
    • blown off and the walls have been
    • set on the circumference of the
    • globe."
    • Ben Darrow talking about the educational potential of radio in … 1932
  • 20. What’s next?
    • Read the “Guide to Using Blogs in Economics” online at the Economics Network website
    • Look at related websites from: http://del.icio.us/cfbloke/econblog
    • Look out for the Economics Network technology workshop in Bristol next year
    • Read 100s of economics blogs at the Economics Roundtable http://www. rtable .net/
    • Find more economics blogs via Intute: Social Sciences and suggest some new ones