The Importance of Being a Blogger

As a person living in the 21st Century, the internet and social media cannot be ignored. Toddlers are playing with smartphones, using apps… and learning how to play Flappy Bird is quickly becoming a natural skill that goes along with learning how to walk and talk.

However, what may NOT be seen as second nature to tech users is the importance of digital citizenship and how to use technology in a smart, innovation and useful way.

Sure, we all have our guilty pleasures of Facebooking and Tweeting pictures of meaningless desserts or asking for a ‘tbh’ – but let’s explore ways in which the internet can offer us more than guilty pleasures. Let’s be smart about it.

It’s widely accepted that reflection is key to learning. Repetition and practice can only get you so far. It is the art of connecting with what you have learnt that is the fundamental basis for deep understanding and engagement. In order to connect, one can ask themselves questions such as:

“What do I know about this?”
“What do I need to know more about?”
“How well and how much do I know now?”
“What was the most interesting part?”
“What would I like to know more about?”
“How does that apply to me/others/society?”
“What examples in my life can I think of that relates to this?”

Sure, students can easily reflect in their own books and keep it private – so why blog about it?

Below is a summary table of the benefits and purposes of blogging backed by research, to highlight some of the reasons why I find it valuable.

Purposes

Author

  • supports group interaction

Anderson, 2005

  • indicates user on-line presence; notification of new content; filtering of content; cooperative learning support; referring; modeling of interaction; help features; and documenting, storing and sharing of content
  • may facilitate social presence
  • offers a means to share knowledge and help others
  • can potentially facilitate social interactions
  • facilitates group communication

Grant, 2006

  • enables simple interaction, feedback and networking

Boyd, 2003

  • enables document sharing, control of communications, and limits access to the shared site.
  • transforms the learning process from a “personal activity to a social activity”

Anderson & Kanuka, 1998

  • can potentially expose learners’ ideas and opinions more readily to an audience
  • can more readily expose learners to audience’s ideas
  • can record experiences for reflection

Xie & Sharma, 2005

  • supports learning by providing different viewpoints
  • allows students to get to know each other

Downes, 2004

  • allows social learning experience to flow from learner to group and from group to learner.
  • acts as a replacement for regular class web pages; links page; discussion forum; seminar hosting forum; forum for student writing; personal publishing tool for educators
  • can create an on-line community with a common focus
  • transforms the individual learning process into a social learning experience

Garrison, 1995

  • supports community-centered instruction

Gergen, 2002

  • can foster group learning situations where each individual contributes knowledge to the group

Anderson & Kanuka, 1998

  • increases opportunities for social interaction

Grant, 2006; Gergen, 2001

  • allows collaborative activities

Du & Wagner, 2005

  • can provide a source of motivation through the “immediacy and frequency” of feedback
  • supports casual socialization

Dickey, 2004

  • may help ease feelings of isolation and alienation
  • facilitates distinguishing between differing viewpoints, accepting different interpretations

Jonassen, Carr & Hsiu-Ping, 1998

  • can provide a forum for knowledge-building activities

Scardamalia & Bereiter 1999

  • can foster collaborative learning within an organized community

Hakkinen & Jarvela, 2006

  • affords the chance to put thoughts “in the context of others’”

Oravec, 2002

  • allows students to outline their own perspectives
  • provides a sense of development over time
  • shifts the onus from the teacher to the educational group

Educause Horizon Report,2005

  • allows students to share a wide range of generic knowledge

Brooks, Nichols, & Priebe, 2004; Oravec, 2002

  • acknowledges the attributes of learners as individuals and as a group

Glogoff, 2005

  • expresses the importance of social and peer interaction
  • highlights the importance of individual contributions
  • gives learners an opportunity to make themselves heard
  • enables students to assert their own perspectives and so make a greater effort
  • helps to motivate students

Wang, Fix & Bock, 2004

  • provides a certain sense of empowerment

Huffaker & Calvert, 2005

  • can provide a catalyst to face-to-face interactions

Seitzinger, 2006

Let’s face it – not everybody feels comfortable speaking up in class with all eyes on them! It can be nerve-racking and that’s okay! Hopefully, my students know that they are in a supportive learning environment where all opinions, no matter how great or small, are valued in whatever form (writing or verbal). The most crucial thing to understand is that you have a voice and it’s just as important as everyone else’s. I, for one, cannot wait to hear yours.

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3 thoughts on “The Importance of Being a Blogger

    1. Absolutely!
      My plan is that once EVERYONE has set up their blogs and have emailed me the link, I will put a post on Edmodo with the list of links and instructions on how to follow in case people have trouble working it out!
      I’m just waiting on two links and need to troubleshoot one, then we are all set!

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