blogging about blogging



Benefits of Blogs in Education

This is the author-version of article published as: Duffy, Peter and Bruns, Axel (2006) The Use of Blogs, Wikis and RSS in Education: A Conversation of Possibilities. In Proceedings Online Learning and Teaching Conference 2006, pages pp. 31-38, Brisbane. Accessed from http://eprints.qut.edu.au

This article looks at three newer technologies: blogs, wikis and RSS feeds. For each, they explore what the technology is, its benefits to education and the uses of this technology in education. I did find it interesting that this is the third article that groups blogs, wikis and RSS feeds together. RSS feeds is important part of both of these technologies as it allows the sites to come to the individual versus having to visit each site. With this particular articles description of how blogs are most beneficial  (as an individual focused tool) the combination with wikis suggests the use of the two tolls to fit the different foci of the activity. Although this does make sense, there is an aspect to blogs that this article is not seeming to acknowledge. It seems to miss that aspect in which individual blogs do connect with other blogs within the blogosphere. This article does a good job of discussing the use of the tools in isolation, however.

Potential benefits as identified by learning specialists Fernette and Brock Eide and cited by Will Richardson (2006) in Blogs, wikis, podcasts, and other powerful webtools for classrooms include the following:

  • Can promote critical and analytical thinking.
  • Can promote creative, intuitive and associational thinking (creative and associational thinking in relation to blogs being used as brainstorming tool and also as a resource for interlinking, commenting on interlinked ideas).
  • Can promote analogical thinking.
  • Potential for increased access and exposure to quality information.
  • Combination of solitary and social interaction.

Also provides examples of the uses of blogs in education. This is a fairly long list and so won’t publish that here, however, there is a one aspect that I think is fairly important in looking at blogs as it comes up in some of the articles and conversations I have had around educational uses of blogs: What is the difference between blogs and discussion forums. This is what this article suggests: “While similar in some respects, however, there remain substantial differences in user experience in both spaces. Discussion fora are predominantly shared community spaces in which individual voices may make themselves heard but are afforded no specific space of their own. First and foremost, blogs provide a platform for individual expression and also support reader commentary, critique, and interlinkage as subsequent steps. In other words, blogs foreground the individual, while discussion forum foreground the group. The suggestion here is that this makes blogs the more useful tool, especially in cases where there is no strong sense of group belonging or loyalty, or there is a lack of group turn-taking and communication skills.” (3rd page on the web print out)

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