These new generations of high school and university students spend most of their time online. They are used to this type of communication. Finding ways to meet their interests and expectations is essential if we want to bring education closer to them. A study that researched the use of social media in education in 2011 showed that all of the studied colleges and universities are using some form of social media, with Facebook dominating the higher education, followed by Twitter, Blogging and LinkedIn. Social media is very useful for the education. It can make information more available to students, engage them and keep updated, and give them access to knowledge other educational tools can’t promise.
Blogging is an effective learning tool and a creative platform that continues to be recognized and embraced by many colleges and universities. Blogs give opportunity to students to record their experiences, stories, projects, share their opinions and collaborate with one another, continuing their conversations out of their classrooms, and wherever they have access to their student or individual blogs. What’s even greater, they can interactively collaborate and exchange ideas with peers and their teachers, give and get a feedback fast, open up discussions, and showcase their own digital art, whatever its type.
How to Integrate Blogging into the Existing Curriculum?
Blogging can encourage collaboration and inspire creativity, critical thinking and desire for knowledge. Isn’t this what we want the next generations to learn? In a Reading Workshop interdisciplinary project for social studies and language arts, the students were asked to write a story about a place they’ve visited before, research about it and list 5 interesting facts, describe their own trip and experiences and publish it on their blog, together with an introduction, relevant links and pictures to support the story. The blog posts were later graded by how well the project requirements were met.
Blogging is an educational tool that can enrich and supplement the existing curriculum. Its uses in the learning process can only be limited by our narrow imagination and creativity. In a program of the New Learning Institute and the San Francisco Metropolitan Arts & Tech High School the students, who worked real jobs and had real problems to solve while mentoring under a career professional, were asked to write on blogs, individual and group ones, answer questions about their experiences, comment, respond to posts, solve challenges and join discussions. This way they could instantly share all the knowledge they gain, freeing the educational process of its bounds of a particular classroom or workplace.
Other project included students writing and discussing on individual and group blogs on a certain topic given by their teachers. The blogs were used as platforms where the students published their video and audio records from the researches they’ve done on the subject in their own communities. Their work could then be viewed and responded to by their teachers and other students. This is just one way of using blogging as an effective tool for learning that brings school closer to students’ homes, and stimulates group discussions and exchanging opinions, instead of having simple individual assignments.
Blogging can also be used as an effective creative tool in education. A group of Chicago high school students, members of the graphic design workshop department, were asked to create text panels for an exhibition in the Field Museum in Chicago. They captured images and uploaded them on their blog site, and then learned how to use online graphics tools to combine those images with their own text. The teachers and other students could also review and comment their published finished panels, which were later also printed and displayed in the museum.
These are only some of the ways blogging and social media platforms can be integrated in the educational process to make it more interesting for today’s young and use all the possibilities it provides for creative and intelligent learning. Other schools have started to recognize their value for education and slowly begun accepting this new technology in their classrooms, but still have challenges to face.
Sarah Stone is a freelance writer who enjoys writing about education, career, motivation and resume writing. http://www.best-cv-templates.com/ is where she collects best CV writing practices and templates.
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