I really enjoyed Lisa’s screencast on blogs. Although some of it I already knew, I especially liked the strong suggestion to visit other blogs which I have begun to do but without much direction until now.
I am using a blog for the first time ever this semester for some of my F2F classes more as a place for those students to access class information. They are free to comment, but their blog participation is not required at this point. I intended though to integrate participation into my courses for the Spring semester just a little bit at a time and see how well it works. This is my first time creating a blog for something other than travel, so I don’t want my students to suffer through my bumbles and have any trouble succeeding in the course, so I am still taking baby steps at this point.
I absolutely see the benefits of blogging for educational purposes and am an avid convert now. It is a world most of the students are used to as evidenced by a conversation I overheard in the hallways of one of the colleges where I work: STUDENT: “Oh Twitter is really only an aggregated blog anyway. I don’t know what all the fuss is.” OK, so they are waaaaaay ahead of me already especially since I have chosen not to dive into the Twitter deep end.
I think the disadvantage of using blogs for educational purposes would stem from having a poor blog. If it is unorganized then it will just cause confusion for students. Some of the best tools I am learning in this course are organizational tools. A messy blog with hard to find links makes me impatient, so I can only imagine the swift clicks away from these types of blogs by students. Also, with the rise of smart phones and similar devices, the accessibility of blogs for educational purposes comes to mind. I have not tried to access my blog on my smart phone, but now I will and see how it translates there.
I did start a Google Site and would really like to use it for my online course especially since those students have to connect to a remote Moodle site in order to participate in the course. I have somewhat of a learning curve though so I would like to investigate other possibilities for simple web sites for this purpose.