From Ula at Blog blog comes this link to an article Across the blogosphere from Anne Bartlett-Bragg, Lecturer, Faculty of Education at the University of Technology in Sydney, on her PhD on the use of weblogs for developing knowledge and collaborative learning networks from a students’ perspective.
Some extracts from the article by Anne:
My PhD looks at the weblog phenomena for developing knowledge and collaborative learning networks, from the students' perspective. When I first introduced blogs in teaching and learning (in 2001), I was astounded by the enthusiastic uptake….
A weblog can develop into a series of conversations across the internet through the use of links created by the author. The linking structure makes it possible for the author to be notified when a reader has commented on their writing, creating an opening for dialogue….
Using a weblog is a dynamic and immediate process - as one student wrote, "...I was so impressed because [xxx] replied to my comment and gave me another link to look up. It was all very exciting!" The intimidation that many students feel about participating in classroom discussion evaporates in the blog domain as attention is shifted to writing in a dynamic internet context. Many students find this empowering - "...collaborative learning is so effective because it brings about confidence and helps to reflect upon issues in a different way. It opens up a dialogue and prevents isolation."…
It is also a good introduction to the real world as the responsibilities of publishing publicly apply - plagiarism, copyright, privacy, ethics and defamation must all be considered. My research shows that students feel their writing has visibly improved as a result…..
Blogging provides new ways for knowledge to be expressed and distributed, and as a personal learning or knowledge management tool, it assists in shaping the structure of cognitive processing. Students have indicated that it enables them to make connections between subject topics and content…..
Used appropriately, weblogs in teaching and learning encourage students to write regularly. This in turn assists in developing competencies in critical thinking and in making connections between theory and practice. The use of weblogs switches the focus from a single end-product such as an exam or essay, transforming learning into an ongoing process…..
While Anne is referring to tertiary students, I think that these extracts reflect the experiences of the students in the secondary classroom. This student blog entry by Katrina shows what I mean.