Many know of blogs as a diary or ongoing list of articles written by people on the internet. In fact, blogging.com defines a blog as “a frequently updated online personal journal or diary” (Byrd, 2011).
In an article regarding using blogs in higher education in Taiwan, Sun (2010) defined a blog as having four key characteristics. These four characteristics are “personal editorship, hyperlinked post structure, strong archival features, and public access to the content” (Sun, 2010, p. 369).
Using Blogging in the Learning Process
Both Sun (2010) and Richardson (as cited in McCloskey, 2006) have found success using blogging in a formal classroom learning environment. In Sun’s research, twelve pre-service teachers were asked to blog about their learning in their Teaching English as a Second Language (TESOL) course. The teachers were also required to comment on the blogs posted by their peers.
In Richardon’s case, he had high school student create essays about different aspects of a book, and post these as blogs. These blogs then also had comments and discussion about the literary themes or characters. Eventually, the author herself joined the conversation (McCloskey, 2006).
Both of these studies showed the blogs give students the opportunity to write to a more realistic audience, conversing with peers with different perspectives (Sun, 2010; McCloskey, 2006). Richardson particularly noted how one girl who was afraid to speak up in a classroom setting shared valuable ideas and insights when given this different format (McCloskey, 2006).
Starting a Blog
O’Gara (2013) recommends that a new blogger first choose his or her platform. O’Gara specifically notes that many of these platforms are free and very useful, such as WordPress. After picking the blog’s platform, the writer needs to decide the topic he or she will write about (O’Gara, 2013). The blogger’s theme and style will most likley develop over-time, although this can also be intentional and decided at this point (O’Gara, 2013). Lastly, the blogger simply needs to write (O’Gara, 2013).
Here are three resources, if you are considering creating a blog.
Free blogging platforms: http://www.digitaltrends.com/social-media/best-free-blogging-sites/
Fifteen reasons to blog: http://www.becomingminimalist.com/15-reasons-i-think-you-should-blog/
Getting started with blogging: http://www.socialmediaexaminer.com/getting-started-with-blogging/
Byrd, K. (2011). What is a blog? Retrieved from http://blogbasics.com/what-is-a-blog/#ixzz3bkSuxMRE
O’Gara, J. (2013). How to start a blog. http://www.digitaltrends.com/web/how-to-start-a-blog/
Sun, Y. (2010). Developing reflective cyber communities in the blogosphere: A case study in Taiwan higher education. Teaching in Higher Education, 15(4), 369-381.