How Professional Blogger Met Criteria Sought
Jeff is an independent consultant, U.S. based who blogs about informal learning.
Jeff has been blogging since 2000. Posts regularly (41 times over a 4 month period). His comments level averaged 2.24 comments per post. Technorati grants his blog an authority of 113. (number of blogs linking to Jeff’s blog site). Alexa reports that 43 sites link to Jeff’s blog site for a total of 408 links.
Jill is a training and development researcher in the U.S. who blogs about Web based training.
Jill has been blogging since 2007. She blogged 47 times over a 4 months period. She averaged 7.51 comments per post. Technorati grants her blog an Authority of 53. Alexa reports that 149 site link into her blog for a total of 455 links.
Technorati measures a site’s standing and influence in the blogosphere. (Alexa, 2010)
Alexa provides Web site traffic and statistical ranking information.
Table 2: Participants in the Study (2009)
The Networked Student
Figure 3: The Networked Student four primary categories include academic social contacts, synchronous communication, information management, and really simple syndication.
The networked student follows a constructivist approach to learning. He or she constructs knowledge based on experiences and social interactions. Constructivism encourages greater participation by students in their appropriation of scholarly knowledge. (Drexel, 2010).
Blogging is a key component of the personal learning environment through which the network student responds to and collects the opinions of others. Network students identify blogs that target a specific unit of study, and they have the option to respond with opinions of their own. (2010)
Edublogging’s Capabilities as a Distance Learning Platform
Pointing out by case example how West Texas A&M University utilized a pilot study to determine students’ use and perceived value of an edublog designed to support and expand studio art instruction. This pilot study substantiates how distance education in the form of an educational blog enhanced motivation, increased visualization, provided interaction and valued individualization.
Student use and evaluation of an edublog
West Texas A&M University developed an educational blog designed to support and expand studio art instruction. The studio art course was a ceramics class. The edublog contained an initial curriculum for the first three course projects, (slab, pinch and coil). The sample finished projects were available for view. Students commented in their feedback that seeing a project in steps and then being able to view the finished result was a major motivation.
The art instructor was able to use effective written communication and post that information for a student’s review. Each course project, slab, pinch and coil etc. became its own blog page. The student feedback on how the content was structured and delivered via the blog was assessed as being between helpful and very helpful. Video demonstrations allowed students to view, review (pause) and play back the ceramics project’s steps. Students were able to better visualize how to construct a ceramics project. The ability to pose the art instructor questions and offer comments allowed for an additional level of interaction (in addition to art instructor and student art room interaction). While the ceramics course progressed each student had to create and complete 13 ceramic projects. Individualization was achieved and validated further by positive student feedback. There was direct evidence that the edublog helped students become more articulate ceramic artisans. This was primarily due to learn by example blog approach, assisted by video and written instructions. (Jan Ray, 2006)
Edublogging Working Examples
High School Level
The instructor and student edublogs are designed and developed by Paul Turtola, English Teacher. The blogs are hosted and maintained on Edublogs Weblog hosting site. Mr. Turtola’s CyberEnglish Blog is the blog name and reference point for Mr. Turtola’s scholars at Joseph A. Foran High School in Milford, CT. Â Mr. Turtola’s quotes from the Edublogs Web site underscore the effectiveness and student acceptance of edublogging.
“This is my second year using Edublogs as my English class website, and I feel that its importance as a learning tool for my scholars grows in leaps and bounds each month. Each of them now has their own blog so that they may publish work and receive valuable feedback from peers and others that belong to the blog community. Edublogs allows for my scholars to be more careful and deliberate when writing essays and smaller assignments. They tend to take better care of their work because they are more considerate of an unknown audience and it’s not the same old routine between themselves and a single reader, the teacher.” (Edublogs, Paul Turtola, Joseph A. Foran H.S.)
Assistant Professor Charles Blattman has created an educational blog that serves as the main instructional communication source for the course he teaches with Yale University’s Department of Political Science & Economics. The educational blog is very comprehensive in scope and purpose. The Africa Poverty and Western Aid edublog Web site contains 1) Course overview, 2) Requirements, 3) Critical book reviews, 4) Weekly assignments, 5) Instructor/Teaching Fellows contact information, 6) Lecture/section information (grading, registration), 8) The entire lecture slide set and 9) Syllabus. (Yale University, 2010)
Since this is a writing course the dissemination of information for professor-student interaction is outlined on the edublog in a well structured, easy to follow manner.
Professor Chris Blattman is a subject matter expert in public policy, economic development, civil war, and political participation. He utilizes survey and statistical methods to arrive at his results. Professor Blattman isÂ a consultant and adviser to the World Bank (Human Development Group), the UN Peacebuilding Fund, Uganda’s Office of the Prime Minister, and Liberia’s Ministry of Internal Affairs. (Chris Blattman)
Figure 3 African Poverty and Western Aid edublog http://wordpress.commons.yale.edu/plsc170_spring2010/
Summary and Conclusions
The course project provided more than just anecdotal information about the topic of educational blogging and its role in distance education. The significance of the networked teacher, developing a personal development learning plan provided insight into the business and technical justifications for why edublogging is becoming so widely embraced across the training and development spectrum.
The Schneider study analyzed what it means to be a focused professional blogger in the field of training and development. In addition, the credibility of blogs intended for the training community were examined closely for measurable results. The edublogger was further determined to be a person with a stake in education who writes a blog about education-related topics.
Reaching a conclusion on Edublogging and Distance Education is not an easy task. The constant ebb and flow of the blogosphere coupled with major changes in educational directions makes this a formidable decision. Refer to the future study of Edublogging and Distance Education at the end of this course project to get a better idea of how much more effort will be required to effectively measure the present state inexact science of determining the results of educational blogging.