Blogging is something that I used to consider solely as a hobby. Whenever I was bored or had something of significance to say, I would blog about it. At first, I did it more for myself, as an outlet for me to express my feelings and thoughts in the privacy of my own words. However, random people started finding my blog and commenting on posts I had written about things I didn’t think anyone else cared about but me. Thus, frequent discussion began to occur with these people, and we slowly discovered shared interests that we had.
With that said, I can definitely see the benefits of utilizing blogging in education. First and foremost, it is an effective way of developing and strengthening one’s voice in one’s writing because he/she is able to reflect on his/her thoughts about a certain topic before publishing it. With blogging, a student is never really put “on the spot,” so it really helps with the development of a strong argument, as well as the building of confidence in oneself. Furthermore, as Stuart Glogoff explains in his article “Instructional Blogging: Promoting Interactivity, Student-Centered Learning, and Peer Input,” blogging also lends itself well to what he calls “directive learning” because an instructor or peer can bring up a question that fosters further research and exploration of a topic. This directed feedback not only prolongs the discussion so that the students can garner a better understanding of the topic, but it also exhibits active engagement and participation in the discussion. Moreover, blogging also allows the more introverted students to become willing participants in a class discussion. Some students just aren’t comfortable speaking aloud in class, and blogging allows them to still have a voice in the discussion through a virtual classroom. Essentially, I feel as if blogging really helps to foster a community in which no one is afraid to speak up, almost like an open forum. It allows for an unhindered and continuous exchange, exploration, and discussion of information and ideas among a large group of people, where each individual voice is still heard.
Although the benefits of blogging in education seem to trump the cons, it isn’t a complete argument unless the negative consequences are also discussed. As Sarah stated in her entry, blogging can ultimately have an effect on a student’s ability to interact, discuss, and argue face-to-face. In the “real world,” you don’t always (if ever!) have the luxury of telling your boss to give you an extra five minutes so you can develop an argument or organize your thoughts for a presentation. Whereas in the “blogosphere,” you have an unlimited amount of time to research and essentially create a script of what you want to say. Thus, blogging can potentially be detrimental to students in the development of their social interaction and presentation skills. Moreover, a key complaint from students that Glogoff noted when he asked for feedback on student blogging was that “none of [their] posts were ever commented on, which was a little disappointing.” This lack of feedback could have a psychological impact on some students, making them even less willing to participate in discussion, both in class and in a virtual classroom. Those students probably felt as if what they had to say wasn’t important or “right,” so they would be too embarrassed to want to participate again. Ultimately, however, I feel as if blogging could prove to be an important educational tool, especially with the increasing use of technology in our generation. It adds a different element to a classroom that could potentially make students more eager to learn and participate.