What is a blog?
According to Piers Evans, the web log or blog, “where internet pioneers first recorded their daily lives in on-line diaries, has been a significant part of the internet since 1999, when software from blogger.com put blogging within the reach of all web-users” (p. 32). There are now more than a million blogs out there in cyberspace.
Types of blogsAccording to Douglas Jasch, blogs come in two forms. The first is an “internet diary” blog in which people write what happen to them on a daily, weekly or monthly basis and others can read it. The second is a “notice board” blog; this is an internet site “where people surfing the net can write something on a particular theme, such as football, and other people can respond to their comments” (p. 12).
Blogs are great if someone is passionate about a particular interest, and there are blogs on almost every topic from parkour to bouldering.
Edu-bloggingAccording to Professor Carla Arena (2008), blogging is really about learning how to enhance and develop communication among people. Edu-blogging is a reflecting process, that is to say, it takes time. For instance, students write about topics (e.g. freewriting), teachers check their blogs and comment about them, and then students add more or change the information they wrote before.
Edu-blogging at different ages
According to Professor Carla Arena (2008), teenagers do not have problems with technology. They blog swiftly about what they have in mind. Adults, on the other hand, will only start blogging if they really see that they are going to gain something from the experience. However, once they see they can profit from it, they are eager learners and bloggers. For learners, in general, it is a chance to have a real audience and to express their own voice; they can share things on a blog that otherwise they would never share in the classroom.
My first experience with blogging: Blogger versus WordpressAlthough I had read and followed some blogs before taking this course, I had never had the experience of creating and having my own blog :-) Prof. Izquierdo taught us how to open accounts and feed two different kinds of blogs: One in wordpress.com (you may visit it on http://jackelinemelendez.wordpress.com/) and another on this website. The experience I have had on each blog has been very different; the blog on wordpress.com was aimed at putting ourselves on the market and telling about our studies, professional experience and teaching interests. The blog you are reading now is aimed at reflecting on our experience and learning process during our ICT in ELT course, as it is well explained in my welcome post.
Goals and expectations in the blogging worldPersonal goals
When I finish this course I would like to create a personal blog where I could publish about my interests, such as the teaching of idiomatic expressions, which is the topic that calls my attention the most in the field of ELT, and about my cultural interchange experiences when I lived in Germany and in Saint Kitts and Nevis.
Following the advice of Prof. Arena, I would like to experience edu-blogging with my students. I teach American and British history and Caribbean culture in English to second- and third-year students in the School of Modern Languages at the Universidad Central de Venezuela in Caracas, and I am looking forward to apply this tool with my students.
A good question to start blogging could be: What are the best things about your country that you would recommend to others? This question offers many topics that could be mentioned by them from the weather to geographical descriptions. After blogging about different topics related to this question, students could share their blogs with other students of other universities around the world, this way, students would not only profit from the experience of expressing themselves and learning how to write about their country and culture in English, but they can also learn about cultural differences reading similar blogs from people of other cultures.
- Arena, C. About Edublogging. Retrieved on November 20, 2009 from http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DyMPLAurOGs
- Jasch, D. Blogs, jobs & meditation. Think in English magazine. No. 72. Year VI. Madrid: Ediciones Mejora, S.L.
- Piers, E. Web diaries: To blog or not to blog? Speak up magazine. No. 230. Year XX. Madrid: RBA Revistas, S.A.