EduBlog – an effective tool for transforming pedagogy practice
EduBlogs can be used to communicate efficiently or as digitized instructional resources, collaborative tools, and to present learner’s educational activities like write up, assignment and projects.
In the light of need of engaging twenty first century learners in online learning environments (OLEs), Educational Blogs (EduBlog) was found to offer new avenues in development of social and cognitive aspects of learners. EduBlogs are simple web publishing technique that doesn’t require expertise in programming language. These online applications enable educators and learners to document data, post multimedia items like text, photos, audios, videos, etc. Additionally, Edublog offers networking features with readers and allow readers to submit comments, feedbacks or suggestions. Furthermore, EduBlogs foster collaborative teaching-learning space by offering hyperlink facility and provide scope for adding web feed like Rich Site Summary (RSS) and Atom.
EduBlogs can be used to communicate efficiently or as digitized instructional resources, collaborative tools, and to present learner’s educational activities like write up, assignment and projects. Moreover, Edublogs can be used to post announcements notifications, suggested reading, classroom instructions or schedules, home assignment related hyperlinks or samples for scaffolding learners.
In view of EduBlog as effective and transformative tool, my journey of using EduBlogs in teaching learning process was started in year 2012. Currently, I use EduBlogs for different e-learning practices, instructional purposes, assessment of overall development of students (as assessment tool for assessing academic performance, career plan evaluation, etc) and teacher evaluation, as electronic portfolio and as a platform for lifelong networking with students. EduBlogs can be used as an economical, easy to use, dynamic and a potential technology by integration of emerging web tools like Rich Site Summary (RSS), Atom, blog gadgets, blogospheres, web links, iframe (embed), issue, sound cloud, google map, google calendar, google drive and its applications like google form, google sheets, google documents, etc. Additionally, EduBlogs can be transformed into a domain attached educational web portal by using basic coding languages like Hypertext Markup Language (HTML) and Cascading Style Sheets (CSS), without paying charges for hosting data published in the blog.
EduBlogs for effective teaching-learning process
In the era of information technology with emphasis of ICT and digital media in education, facilitators and learners are exposed to cyber cultures. In their routine life, majority of them proactively engage in internet and its applications to learn and gain knowledge. Many teaching strategies that were used earlier are not applicable anymore. To supplement the need of 21 century techno savvy learners and educators, EduBlog is an effective tool for archiving class handouts, posting assignments or projects and classroom instructions, offering online discussion forum, and organising course content. Some educationist explored the application of EduBlogs for academic needs for knowledge and interests such as need to gain expert advice and mutual understanding, sharing information, to inform news and updates. Furthermore, Edublog can be used as a quick and efficient means for mass communication, as an educational resource, as a collaborative tool, and as a showcase for student’s projects.
EduBlogs can be also used for practicing creative or reflective writing, enhancing knowledge dissemination and submission of assignment with scope of accessing archived information 24 X 7, anywhere in the world. With efficient integration of EduBlogs in education system under constant scaffolding and supervision would make EduBlog an essential communicative tool for effective teaching and learning processes.
The essence of educational is to equip educators in formative and summative assessment with option for self-assessment of teachers. Self-reflection and assessment are key to professional growth of any professional, especially teachers. In addition to professional development, EduBlog as a second generation web service (i.e. web 2.0 based communicative technique) facilitate learners to directly access digital resources while developing the skill of using information technology.
EduBlogs as a killer app in e-learning
Active participation in cyber cultures using personal computer, smart phone, internet or wireless network for web surfing, email and googling has been part of everyone’s routine life. Likewise, application of Information Communication Technology (ICT) and e-learning are now becoming integral part of education system. Among various techniques of digital media, EduBlog is one of the most preferred and practiced techniques for educators. To many educators, EduBlog was found to develop habit of scouring, filtering, and posting information by students. These activities facilitate students to familiarise subject matters with exposure to diverse perspectives -both in class and outside the classroom. In that way, e-learning experiences widen the scope of motivating and developing interest in curriculum among learners in due of reason of provision of accountability to ownership of their learning by searching for information.
As both education and EduBlogging are processes of communication and construction of knowledge in an interactive manner, EduBlogs managed by learners allow learners to achieve various objectives of education constructively by receiving feedbacks in the form of comments from teachers, their peers and other readers all over the world with creation of big community of learners. With such social interaction, students are found motivated to use of EduBlog for learning rather than use of traditional learning resources.
As majority of educators and learners prefer use of EduBlog in education other than other web 2.0 services, EduBlog is now becoming a killer app in e-learning. Effective use of EduBlogs in e-learning opens gateway to knowledge and construction of new knowledge in an economical and fast way through web of blogosphere without bound by space and time.
EduBlog for reflective activity
Reading, writing and use of languages are foundation for success in school and in life. These skills can be enhanced with support of web based technology like EduBlogs. Successful use of EduBlogs for practicing English language skills in community learning was researched by some educators and it was found as a potential social media tool that motivates students to learn language like English by practicing creative or reflective writing in the community of learners connected by blogospheres. Similarly, studies were conducted on blog Assisted Language Learning that gives the learners a platform to enjoy reading and writing. With this new channel for learning non-native language, there is wide scope of building community of learners and to learn collaboratively.
Edublog allows learners to update and post their own ideas and reflective thoughts. It also enables learners to exchange ideas with others by commenting on other blog post. These activities lead to enhanced social construction of knowledge. Social interactions mediated by language helps learner to learn language efficiently. Use of EduBlogs as computer assisted communicative and collaborative technology for training professional teachers in 21 century of digital media was found to offer teacher trainees a better reflective practice, and better understanding of the pedagogical and learning benefits offered. Likewise, Edublogging and scaffolding found to improved pupil’s narrative writing skills better as compared to pen and paper based narrative writing. Hence, unlike conventional pen and paper based reflective writing, use of easily editable, free and dynamic EduBlog is found a better and life changing experiences for learner and educators.
Limitations of EduBlogs
For effective use of EduBlogs, educators have to challenge few solvable limitations associated with it. Even though twenty first century education has strong emphasis on integration of ICT in education, some learners and educators are not able to use it. Inability to use ICT and internet are key hindrance to integrate EduBlogging in education. Blogging require easy and fundamental knowledge of using computer application like simple dragging and drop, multimedia posting and use of applications associated with EduBlogs. In contrast to EduBlogs as simple, easy to use and a potential educational tool, its accessibility and student safety are two major challenge.
Many educational researches proved blogging as a potential transformational technology for teaching and learning. Many literatures suggest that EduBlogs are a powerful tool to enhance communication, foster critical thinking, and encourage collaborative learning automatically. These studies also recommend instructors, facilitators or teachers, educators, students or any other professionals to utilize education blogs in technically sound way for achieving the goals of education.
Many educational researches proved blogging as a potential transformational technology for teaching and learning. Many literatures suggest that EduBlogs are a powerful tool to enhance communication, foster critical thinking, and encourage collaborative learning automatically.
Wangyal Lhakpa, B.Sc, B.Ed, M.Sc, and M.Phil, is PGT Biology at Social Baluni Public School, Dehradun, Uttrakhand, India. In 2012, he started using EduBlogs in the teaching learning process. He has experience of using EduBlogs for various e-learning practices, instructional purposes, as an assessment tool, electronic portfolios, and platform for lifelong networking with students. He strongly believes that EduBlog is an exciting new approach of ICT with simple push button based web publishing technology for transformative education.