The effective use of blogs in education and the classroom should deal with; the why, what and how of the technology, as indicated by Dr. Beaudin.
Why Blogs are useful in education is because they are readily available, free, and easy to use.
What a Blog can do in education may be summarized as:
- Sharing materials
- For discussions
- To support both individual and group work
- Blog technology supports multimedia materials to facilitate learning.
How to use Blogs in education is a function of the students/participants being taught.
If one is teaching in the K-12 grades, then there are many specific resources that provide examples and case studies of using Blogs in the classroom.
As I am interested in adult education I researched and found these concepts of how to use a Blog:
- Adults are practical
- Adults are goal oriented
- Adults are self-paced
- Adults have life experience and prior knowledge
- Adults learn by doing
From my experience, adults like young people need to have success in their learning endeavors and interacting with adults through a Blog supports a quick and convenient way for an instructor to provide positive and encouraging reinforcement.
One concern I have in looking at several Blogs is that Blogs, and websites in general, can be poorly designed. They can contain too much material, be too busy, and generally set up so that it is not easy for users to find what they want in a reasonable period of time.
My favorite Blog engine is WordPress as the “dot-com” version is free, it can be downloaded and installed on a paid for shared domain host site, there are many free themes, the code can be easily customized with HTML, CSS, and PHP modifications, it is not easily broken and can be fixed if it is. It is also the most popular Blog engine in the world.