Fr. Jacob Dankasa – My Blog

Archive for September 2011

Blogs and Wikis are very important additions to the learning process. Although people have different purposes for operating a blog or Wiki, one single uniting factor is for the purpose of sharing information. Duffy and Bruns (2006) opine that blogs and wikis explore flexible and mobile technologies for collaborative and (co)creative purposes, as well as for the critical assessment and evaluation of information. Blogging as a versatile phenomenon catering for variety of people “has evolved from its early origin as a medium for the publication of simple, online personal diaries, to the latest disruptive technology, the ‘killer app’ that has the capacity to engage people in collaborative activity, knowledge sharing, reflection and debate” (Williams & Jacobs, 2004; citing Hiler, 2003).

I explored some blogs. Among them are two for educational purposes and one religious. I looked at a blog called Education Next (http://educationnext.org//). It is a journal for opinion and research. Another blog is This Week in Education (www.scholasticadminstrator.typepad/thisweekineducation). Here students give updates about their readings for the previous week. It has a link for teachers, parents, kids and administrators. One religious blog I looked at is the blog for the Catholic Bishop of Dallas (http://bishopfarrell.blogspot.com). The bishop as the chief shepherd of his diocese uses this blog to communicate and to teach his faithful.

In most of these blogs I observed that people comment on issues that are particularly interesting to them. There are a lot of postings that go without a single comment which shows that there is selective interest on the topics posted.

I explored wikis such as Sugar River HOSA (http://sugarriverhosa.wetpaint.com/). This wiki is specially made for grades 10-12, a high school course, two college courses and a licensing program. It is for Health Occupations Student Association. Students get information on events that are related to the local health. It contains students’ homework and schedules of activities.

Another Wiki is the Microbiowiki (http://microbiowiki.wetpaint.com). It is a wiki site for students, teachers, and those interested in learning about the human anatomy, mainly for undergraduates, but high school students may participate.
Using blogs and wikis for instructional purpose are beneficial for a lot of reasons. Few of these benefits include:
1. Blogs can be student-centered offering the learner the opportunity to get involved beyond a discussion forum.
2. One needs little or no technical background to make updates to blog, as Duffy and Bruns (2006) calls it the “novice’s web authoring tool.”
3. Contents can easily be filtered by entries and information shared can be retrieved easily in the future.
4. Wikis are capable of offering the summary of one’s contribution and progress so far which is important for one’s assessment.
5. Wikis offer opportunity for students to share their knowledge and make updates where necessary when something that is hitherto not known is learnt.

The drawbacks I see in blogs and wikis are the fact that extra care has to be made in postings within blogs. Long and boring postings are mostly not read in entirety. Research has shown that most people gloss through online reading when it is poorly organized or too long (Sri & Panayiotis,2001). In addition, younger people in most cases don’t visit blogs. They prefer the social networks (Dankasa, 2010). So some interesting features that include visual presentation and pictures may invite them to the blogs.

References

Dankasa, J. (2010). New Media as tools for Evangelization: Towards Developing Effective Communication Strategy in the Catholic Church. Unpublished Master’s Thesis. St. Cloud State University, Minnesota.

Duffy, P. D., & Bruns, A. (2006). The Use of Blogs, Wikis and RSS in Education: A Conversation of Possibilities. In Online Learning and Teaching Conference 2006, 26 Sep. 2006, Brisbane.

Sri H. K., & Panayiotis Z. Reading Online or on Paper: Which is Faster? http://citeseerx.ist.psu.edu/viewdoc/download?doi=10.1.1.12.2890&rep=rep1&type=pdf.

Williams, J. B., & Jacobs, J. S., (2004). Exploring the use of blogs as learning spaces in the higher education sector. Australasian Journal of Educational Technology, 20(2), pp. 232-247.

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