Monday, June 13, 2011
WEEK 4: Blogs
WEEK 4: Blogs
1. What is a blog?
According to Erben, Ban and Castañeda (2009), “Blogs are web logs or journals, posted to a website where they can be seen by anyone. Unlike a wiki, they cannot be edited, unless the owner activates the “comment” feature inviting responses from lectors.” So a blog is a web page that works as a public personal journal that can be used for people or company. The main idea of a blog is to share information to users. Blogs are not very interactive. In the quote above, it is clearly stated that blogs can not be edited by the users. It can only be edited by the owner of the page. Blogs are normally organized in a chronological way.
Blogs are important because you can show and share information about a specific topic. For example, I have two blogs. One of them shows my curriculum vitae and the other one my personal information. People from different places in Venezuela and even from other countries can know about my personal experience, my professional work and my research projects through these web pages. They can also comment them and we may be in contact in that way.
2. Different Kinds of blogs
2.1. Tutor blog: It is run only by the teacher of a class. All the content and the syllabuses are focused on information about the course, homework, assignment, lesson plans and extra activities, among others. In the tutor blog the teacher can add her/his personal information, reflections and work experience. The idea of this kind of blog is to stimulate language on-line and then to have discussion in-class about what they learn with the blog. It must be highlighted that tutor blog is about what the teacher wants to do with her/his course. That is to say, that this kind of blog is not interactive.
2.2. Class blog: This kind of blog is more interactive than tutor blogs because students and teachers are considered participants in that web page. They have collaborative discussions using the blog. It can be an extra-curricular extension of the classroom for the students because they can play, interact and modify a lot of things. They are like owners of the web page and they can not only receive information, but also add it. Some restrictions may be put by the owner about what kind of information they can upload in the blog. According to Erben, Ban and Castañeda (2009), “After drafting, editing, and peer-reviewing, groups present their findings on the class blog site. They can upload the pictures, video files, or audio files they have found. However, be cautious about copyright issues. If students are using their own family pictures, ask for parental approval.”
2.3. The Learner Blog: This kind of blog requires more time and effort from the teachers to run, but it is very rewarding for both the students and the teacher because you can record what you taught every day including homework and assignments that students must do. This is very beneficial for students because they can know exactly what to do (specially if they miss a class). And the teacher can use the blog as a course plan and the blog becomes a good summary of the course.
3. Other Educational Blogs used in ELT
Here we have some educational blogs that can improve classes:
1. www.livejournal.com: Live journal is a social media where people can interact with other people by offering a customizable journal. Here you can publish yourself as a community.
2. http://wordpress.com: Wordpress is a blog where you can start a blog in seconds without any technical knowledge and you can write your personal information, experience, and work there. You can evern write your own e-portfolio.
3. http://blogsome.com: This is another web page where you can create a blog.
4. http://spaces.msn.com: It is a collection of Internet sites and services provided by Microsoft. It is very used for internet users nowadays. It is specially useful for students and workers in order to be updated with their personal obligations.
5. http://360.yahoo.com: It is a web page similar to msn.
6. http://blog.ning.com: Another web page to create social websites.
4. Why blogging?
Blogging is a good way to write and share experiences comments and ideas about a specific topic. Blogging is important for educational purposes because it provides students extra reading practice outside classes. They not only practice their reading skill, but also writing and they do not even realize that. I have asked my students at The CVA if they read in their free time and they normally answer no. But when I asked them, “don’t you use web pages such as facebook or twitter?” They answer, “Oh well in that way yes I read and write a lot then.” So in that way they have fun and learn at the same time.
Blogging can be very useful because you can write on-line portfolios and this is really important because you can create a global link and people around the world can know who you are and what kind or research you are doing.
Erben, T, Ban R, Castañeda, M. (2009). Teaching English Language Learners through Technology. Routledge. New York and London. (136, 137).