Downes, Stephen (2004, September/October). Educational blogging, EDUCAUSE Review, 39(5), 14–26. Retrieved on June 25, 2010.
Although it has been 7 years since Downes wrote the above article, many of the viewpoints in this article are still relevant today, and the questions and issues he pointed out are still worth thinking. Below are some of the viewpoints and questions and issues about Educational Blogging.
5 major uses of blogs in education:
First, teachers use blogs to replace the standard class web page. They post class times and rules, assignment notifications, suggested readings, and exercises on such blogs.
Second, teachers link course blogs to Internet items that relate to their courses.
Third, blogs are used to organize in-class discussions.
Fourth, some instructors are using blogs to organize class seminars and to provide summaries of readings.
Finally, students may be asked to write their own blogs as part of their course grade.
Blogs and student writing:
Blogs encourage students to write. It offers students a chance to a) reflect on what they are writing and thinking as they write and think it, b) carry on writing about a topic over a sustained period of time, maybe a lifetime, and c) engage readers and audience in a sustained conversation that then leads to further writing and thinking. But in order to help students write blogs, some educators suggest students starting with reading blogs of others.
Students should write blogs with passion. If they are not willing to write but required to do so, they can never be bloggers, since they write just for their teachers.
Questions and issues about educational blogging:
What happens when a free-flowing medium such as blogging interacts with the more restrictive domains of the educational system? What happens when the necessary rules and boundaries of the system are imposed on students who are writing blogs, when grades are assigned in order to get students to write at all, and when posts are monitored to ensure that students and teachers don’t say the wrong things?
Success factor of educational blogging:
If a student has nothing to blog about, it is not because he or she has nothing to write about or has a boring life. It is because the student has not yet stretched out to the larger world, has not yet learned to meaningfully engage in a community. For blogging in education to be a success, this first must be embraced and encouraged.