This is my first entry in fulfillment of an assignment for our class entitled, “Technology in Distance Education and e-learning.” I figured a good place to start was to look at the use of blogging to the educational process. One of my favorite bloggers to follow, educational researcher Stephen Downes, just happened to have the perfect article to start the ball rolling! One reason he started his blog was an effort to organize his bookmarks of important material. This was my thinking as well, as someone who often finds articles worthy of saving for another day. In the attached article, he explains the benefits of educational blogging. Teachers use it as a class webpage, as a link to material relevant to course material, to organize in-class discussions and readings, and to encourage students to write and think critically. Downes sums it up by explaining that blogging “…is about engaging with the content and with the authors of what you have read—reflecting, criticizing, questioning, reacting” and doing so in a way that connects with others on the topic – with the outside community. This is what makes it different from simply keeping a journal.
These are all excellent reasons to blog. Another good reason is that you can easily map out, in real time, the evolution of your thought on an issue. It is no longer a question of, “how did I get here?” Through the blog, you can see how your thoughts progressed. That is a nice aspect of learning that typically gets lost in our attempts to understand the world.
One more point that I found interesting – in the comments section of Downes’ blog, one poster states that blogging has become another form of spamming. It’s an interesting idea in that I can see how it could be used that way and I am sure it sometimes is. At the same time, I think there is great utility in linking to quality content and critically analyzing the material. I think it is an additive process.