A Real Life Example: Types of Blogs used in a English as Foreign Language Classroom
The Tutor Blog This type of Blog is run by the tutor for the learner. It’s benefits include daily reading practice, exploration of English language websites, and with the use of comment buttons you can have online verbal exchanges.
The Learner Blog This Blog is run by the students themselves. Can be you used as journals or for writing practice. The actual construction of the Blog encourages English use.
The Class Blog This is a collaboration of the entire class. Can be used as a bulletin board or for students to post suggestions and helpful links. Can also be used to facilitate project-based learning.
Positive vs. Negative
For teachers Blogs: a teacher can control how often the Blogs are being used (ex: once a semester to submit a paper or weekly for assignments and notes
Affordability: computers at home are more common as well as internet and computer access at libraries, schools, and universities
Valuable learning assistant: students can have access to teachers notes online
also available via the internet would be online English dictionaries, this convenience could really help a students struggling with word meanings.
Reading Skills: students could struggle from the reading skills developed from accessing the web and Blog. Sure they could learn at an accelerated rate but at the cost of taking in so much information from sources that are not professional which could cause misunderstanding
Internet Etiquette: Unfortunately this is the beauty of the freedom of the web. This could become a distraction for students when posting their ideas they open the door for critics
Security issues: Language teachers using Blogs should take in account that sites could be hacked into and sites could be temporarily out of service
Wu, C. (2006).Blogs in TEFL: A new promising vehicle. US-China Education Review . 3 , 69-73.
Overall I feel Blogs can be a learning tool for English language learners because:
1. Access outside of class that could work with other internet source like online dictionaries
2. Open communication with fellow students and teachers to help in learning
3. Teachers still are able to keep control outside of the classroom while providing an optimal learning tool
4. Our society is moving into a more technological fashion so providing an alternate source outside the classroom can help students in the future to think outside the box
Why use Blogs to communicate?
- fast and efficient
- easy way to communicate class announcements to parents or school reminders
How can Blogs be an instructional resource?
- when used Blogs can help not just students but also teachers and parents
- teachers could use the Blogs to provide extra help to students outside of class (ex: hyperlinks to websites to help on assignments, or post tips on class or homework)
How can Blogs be used as a collaborative tool?
- students could be taught to create their own Blogs that journal group projects
- students could collaborate with other classrooms within the school or from another school creating an interactive project
- Collaborative work is not limited to just among students but teachers could work with other teachers in their subject or grade area to design or share lesson plans
What’s the downside to Blogs?
- While most students today have access to computers at school at home is a different story. Census research done recently shows that while almost 70% of white students have access to a computer and have internet access only 40% of American Indian, Hispanic and black students have access to this at home
Student safety issues
- When it comes to student safety it is crucial that pictures and personal information should be excluded because of the danger of predators and or harassment
Kappa Delta Pi. (2006). Welcome to the Blogosphere -The educational use of Blogs (aka Edublogs) Jan Ray.
Overall I feel Blogs can still be beneficial in the classroom but before implementing its use a teacher would need to consider:
- Do all of my students have access to a computer and internet at home?
- Do all of my students know how to use computers well enough to benefit from this tool and if so do their parents know as well?
- How can I assure myself as the teacher and parents that my students and their children are safe in the cyber world?
Blog use for instruction and social interaction
Why use it?
- easy to create, update and edit even without formal training
- Students that participate in creating the Blogs learn to take ownership of it and will work harder and produce better work
What are the instructional benefits?
- with the use of a Blog a teacher can give constant feedback
- some students who might be hesitant or shy to participate in a classroom setting may be more comfortable via the internet
How can this help social interaction?
- According to cognitive learning theorists interaction among individuals increases the student to add meaning to what he or she is learning
- Collaborative work via Blogs help to close gaps in learning while learning from each other and not just between students but also between students and teachers
Kuzu, A. (2007).Views of pre-service teachers on Blog use for instruction and social interaction. Turkish Online Journal of Distance Education . 8 , 34-51.
Research from this article shows that instruction and social interaction can benefit with the use of Blogs. Most interesting to me was the students that can fall through the cracks in the classroom and are not comfortable speaking out in class in front of the big group. While on the Blog that same student could have time to put his thoughts together and add their input on activities done collaboratively.