Similar to the wiki, the blog is also a collaborative tool (Avci & Askar, 2012). The differences are that the identified user, such as the instructor, may have more ownership and stronger authorship of the blog, whereas the wiki allows ongoing social interaction and widespread participation (Avci & Askar, 2012). The blog is an effective tool to showcase, present, and share information, as well as provide guidance and suggestions to participants (Avci & Askar, 2012). In addition, the blog is very suitable for helping participants follow and react to incidents, events, and adventures.
One important instructional purpose of the blog is to provide opportunities for students to engage in deep reflection about a particular issue (Ciampa & Gallagher, 2015). As stated by Yang (2009 in Avci & Askar, 2012), the blog can be used for students to “critically reflect on their learning processes and help their professional growth” (p. 196). Specifically, the blog might be used as a tool to support participants to think about and follow a historical event, reflect on the factors surrounding the event, as well as engage in introspection about how this event has shaped one's values, beliefs, and perceptions. As part of this work, participants can engage in deeper introspection and information sharing by taking “time to plan, act, gather evidence, reflect and share” (Ciampa & Gallagher, 2015, p. 909).
Since the blog does not have to be used in the traditional classroom setting, it can easily meet the needs of the 21st century learner. That is, the blog can be accessed in a time and space that is convenient for the learner (Avci & Askar, 2012). Although the real-time use of blogs may not be equivalent with the wiki, where multiple users have access to the tool at all times, blogging can still address the needs of the 21st century learning environment in many ways. For example, blogging could be blended with instant messaging (Ciampa & Gallagher, 2015), and as a result, users could exchange ideas in immediate and real time.
One way to get started with the use of the blog is to assign coaches to the participants. Assigning coaches to participants can help users with the learning curve associated with blogging (Ciampa & Gallagher, 2015). Coaches with subject matter expertise could also help facilitate meaningful and reflective dialogue and learning.
Side note: The picture (shown above) is of my son in the early stages of our garden last summer. It meant a lot to my son to nurture the plants, pay attention to them on a daily basis, and watch them grow. To my mind, the picture represents self-reflection, nurturing, and evolution. To me, this is very connected to the blogging experience. Do you have a picture, illustration, or short video that represents your ideas about learning and growth, as they relate to blogging? Please feel free to share.
Additional Sources for Learning about the Wiki
GCFLearnfree.org (2015). Blog Basics. Retrieved from http://www.gcflearnfree.org/blogbasics/
Pearson (2017) Teaching and Learning Blog. Retrieved from http://www.pearsoned.com/blog/
Avci, U., & Askar, P. (2012). The Comparison of the Opinions of the University Students on the Usage of Blog and Wiki for Their Courses. Educational Technology & Society, 15-2, 194–205.
Ciampa, K. & Gallagher, T. L. (2015). Blogging to enhance in-service teachers’ professional learning and development during collaborative inquiry. Educational Technology Research & Development. 63, 883-913.