Monday, June 29, 2009

Pedagogy of Weblogs – What can they do to improve student learning?

Richardson's book outlined ways in which student learning is improved through there use. These were the 6 key points he made:

1) a truly constructivist tool for learning – the relevance of student work no longer ends at the classroom door
2) blogs truly expand the walls of the classroom – more accessible and diverse forms of collaboration
3) blogs archive the learning that teachers and students do – this facilitates all sorts of reflection
4) a blog is a democratic tool that supports different learning styles – this can lead to a greater sense of participation and ownership
5) the use of blogs can enhance the development of expertise in a particular subject – students who blog in educational settings usually focus their reading and writing on one topic which helps bring about topic-specific expertise
6) blogs can teach students the new literacies they will need to function in an ever expanding information society. According to Olofson (1999), the extent of our collective knowledge doubles every 18 months – we need to give students skills to analyse and manage this information – teaching the skills of blogging can help in this process.

Research on the effects of weblogs on school students is still in its infancy. But anecdotal results give a picture that will soon come into focus. In general, according to Richardson, ‘students at all levels show more interest in their work, and their ability to locate and reflect upon their work is greatly enhanced, as are the opportunities for collaborative learning’.

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