It is important to recognize the negative effects that could arise from blogging to gain a full understanding on whether or not blogging has a permanent place in our curriculum. The benefits have become clear, but do the negatives outweigh these positives?
For blogging to work well in the classroom it requires a lot of time, while David Mitchell’s QuadBlogging does indeed show benefits, many teachers do not have time within their curriculum to allow for this form of activity. A blog which has been set up by students outside of the QuadBlogging group could have the opposite effect – when little or no comments are left on a student’s blog, a student may become disheartened and less motivated to continue with their writing. Equally outside of a carefully monitored group set up such as QuadBlogging students may get carried away with their comments or receive comments from unwanted visitors to blogs (Coffey, 2010).
McKenzie (2006) made points against Mitchell and Bachenheimer’s work. He suggests that creativity and poetry maybe lost as a result of modern day abbreviations. McKenzie is afraid that students will just ramble in their blogs (McKenzie, 2006). The use of this technology could be a student’s downfall in literacy. The technology use for blogging could also prove a problem for teachers, taking another look at Prensky’s digital natives, digital immigrants theory (2001) the use of blogging may cause teacher’s to struggle. Most teachers according to Prensky are digital immigrants and may struggle to get their heads around the deepened use of technology in the classroom (Prensky, 2001). For blogs to work correctly, teachers need to have the right skills to make them work, everyone in a classroom needs to participate to make them happen, without the participation a blog can easily be abandoned and die (Glogoff, 2005).
Blogs are a public forum; one major factor in blogging is the online safety of children. Educators are charged with keeping their children safe and distilling ethics within them (Deubel, 2007). Educators need to come up with a valid code of blogging ethics. The debate that continues is whether negative comments should be deleted or left to allow freedom for speech (Kuhn, 2005). The blogosphere is filled with dangers–“misrepresenting opinion as fact, plagiarism, conflicts of interest, and newer trends, such as word of mouth marketing” (Kuhn, 2005). Educational blogging will not be immune to the dangers of social networking.
Overall, it is clear that blogging can have an important place in education. The positive influences that blogging can bring are seen to be highly beneficial to a student’s literacy, writing skills and global awareness. Like most educational tools, blogging does come with negatives. It is important, that for blogging to be successful teachers and educators need to be made fully aware of the technology and have a familiarity of how to use it as a successful learning platform. It is imperative for teachers to develop their own tech skills so they can bring technology’s academic benefits to the classroom (Ramaswami, 2008).
Students need to have an understanding of online-safety; teachers can teach students skills for moderating their own online behaviour to ensure a safe online environment is created (Deubel, 2007). The way that blogs are used in the classroom need to have an emphasis of its importance, with carefully strategized plans should anything go wrong (Burns, 2010). It is ok to have these technologies in the classroom but they need to be used for a purpose, the extent of the purpose has been laid out by researchers such as Mitchell and Bachenheimer. Once a vital understanding of the use of this social media platform has been laid out to educators, blogging could have a very important future in the classroom.
Burns, M. (2010, September). How To Help Teachers Use Technology In The Classroom. Retrieved December 08, 2013, from eLearn Magazine: http://elearnmag.acm.org/featured.cfm?aid=1865476
Coffey, B. (2010, May 24). Blogging in Education. Retrieved December 08, 2013, from slideshare: http://www.slideshare.net/guestfb1cc458/blogging-in-education
Deubel, P. (2007). Moderating and Ethics for the Classroom Instructional Blog. The Journal, 1-2.
Glogoff, S. (2005). Instrcuctional Blogging. Promoting Interactivity, student centred learning and peer input. Retrieved December 08, 2013, from Innovate Online: http://www.innovateonline.info/index.php?view=article&id=126
Kuhn, M. (2005). A Propsed Code of Blogging Ethics. Retrieved December 08, 2013, from Conversation Blogs: http://rconversation.blogs.com/COBE-Blog%20Ethics.pdf
McKenzie, J. (2006). One Liners, Bloggerry and Tomfoolery. Educational Technology Journal, 15.
Prensky, M. (2001). Digital Natives, Digital Immigrants. On the Horizon, 1-6.
Ramaswami, R. (2008). The Prose (and a few cons, too) of Blogging. THE Journal, 21-25.