Blogs As ALearning Space: Creating Text of Talks Amold Nicholas E. Santos University of the East Manila Philippines E-Mail: firstname.lastname@example.org Abstract This paper explored the pedagogical preparations taken by the researcher in integrating blogs to the traditional classroom experience as well as its use in online classes as a tool for students to write about what they have learned in class and relate it to everyday life. The researcher utilized web blog, combined Facebook and Multiply blogsites, in the online teaching. Utilization of blogsites to supplement the traditional method of teaching was a welcome innovation for most students. The study involved thirty-eight (38) enrolled students of the course English 111. The familiarity and convenience of facebook and multiply blogsites makes learning and complying to requirements an enjoyable task. Blogs as a learning space for English 111 was an effective teaching methodology appreciated by the students. However, the integration of blogs in the traditional teaching learning process requires preparation and planning on the part of the teacher so that applicable and timely activities could be given to the students. Introduction One of the most popular embodiments of freedom of speech in the internet is the web The increasing prevalence of the use of the log, or, as most commonly called, a blog. internet in virtually every aspect of life has This is akin to an online diary or journal, led everyone to gravitate towards it as the where users are allowed to upload texts universal medium of communication or containing their opinions, viewpoints, or medium of expression. The freedom that the even narrations of their experiences. A lot of internet grants its users is unheard of in the internet sites have already accepted blogs as old world of written, spoken and broadcasted the medium of expression for the majority of media, as less and less scrutiny, bias and internet users, supplanting messaging pressure to conform is experienced. Freedom services and even e-mail, and are now of expression is uncurtailed, therefore providing more and more services catering to allowing people to be more expressive and the whims of the online blogger. As a result, creative in voicing out their opinions or more and more communities are adopting points of view. Not to mention the ease of blogs as their way to communicate to the use, its accessibility and availability all outside world, be it corporations, small around the world, and endless possibilities business, celebrity personalities, athletes, or for media, limited only by the technology of even students and educators alike. However, its time and the availability of the hardware the use of blogs so far has been mainly for and/or human resource. promotion, or informational, or even vanity. The practical use of blogs as a tool in, for instance, education, has not yet been widely and blog entries. The website was launched explored or utilized to its full extent. in March 2004 and is privately held with backing by VantagePoint Venture Partners, In education, the most widely used form of Point Judith Capital, Transcosmos, and instruction has been the traditional classroom private investors headquartered in Boca delivery. This has been the norm for Raton, Florida.7 Multiply has over 11 thousands of years, and its effectiveness million registered users.8 cannot be understated. However, in this modern day and age, technological advances Allowing a similar approach as one would have allowed us to use certain facilities and with an online community, but only offering services that will not replace, but rather the necessary feature of communication and augment, the traditional classroom back-and-forth discussion, it enables students experience. This allows the educator to teach and instructors to optimize the flow of outside the box, to approach the art of discussion through both channels. instruction from different angles, and to give Knowledge is not anymore spoon-fed to a refreshing new image to the role of students, but rather it is now students and instructor in the process of learning for the instructors collaborating, with the student student. The use of multimedia, online receiving the traditional learning content, communities, distance learning, and online and the instructors receiving feedback on the courses are just some examples of how the learning experience in real-time, allowing modern instructor has leveraged technology them to adjust and/or conform to his/her to enhance the learning experience. audience in the shortest amount of time. And now with the advent of blogging as the But as in any integration process, there are main medium of instruction for this obviously things to consider in using blogs generation of students, with sites such as as a medium for instruction. It is important to Facebook and Multiply getting headway in determine at what level or part of the the preference of the majority of the educational process should blogs be blogging community, we are now inclined to integrated so as to use them properly, and look at blogging as an advantage and further also for it to not interfere with the existing increasing the capability of the instructor. standard and become a hindrance rather than a facilitator of learning. Facebook1, founded by Mark Zuckerbergis and fellow computer science students This paper explored the pedagogical Eduardo Saverin, Dustin Moskovitz and preparations taken by the researcher in Chris Hughes2, is a social networking integrating blogs to the traditional classroom website launched in February 2004 that is experience as well as its use in online classes operated and privately owned by Facebook, as a tool for students to write about what Inc.,3 with more than 500 million4 active they have learned in class and relate it to users in July 2010.5 Users can add people as everyday life. It involved thirty-eight (38) friends and send them messages, and update enrolled students of English 111 section their personal profiles to notify friends about BHA handled by the researcher during the themselves. Additionally, users can join first semester of 2010 – 2011. The researcher networks organized by workplace, school, or utilized web blog in online teaching. The college, as in this case, a facebook account topics covered were the following: 1). of the course English 111. Simple Present Tense, 2). Simple Past Tense, 3). Future tense, 4). Present Perfect Tense, Multiply6, the same with facebook, is also a 5). Past Participle of Regular and Irregular social networking website which allows Verbs, and Past Perfect Tense. users to share media - such as photos, videos Theoretical Framework credibly, accurately, and carefully. Blogging represent a democratization of information The researcher is guided by the Engagement dissemination providing each student with Theory9 advocated by Greg Kearsley and the opportunity to publicly present their Ben Shneiderman in the conduct of this thoughts. Seeing their work published on the study. web is a great motivator for them. The learning environment increases students’ Engagement theory was developed intended motivation and satisfaction. This component to be a conceptual framework, a model, for is consistent with the objective of the technology based teaching and learning. The College of Arts and Sciences in instilling in theory posits that students must be the students the desire for precise thinking as meaningfully engaged in learning activities well as correct and appropriate means of through interaction with others and expression. worthwhile tasks for learning to occur. The researcher believes that engagement The role of technology in this theory is to theory represents a new paradigm for facilitate all aspects of engagement, the use teaching and learning in the digital age of web log in this case, increase and improve where blogging may play a positive role in students’ participation in the required course student participation, expression and activity. Technology provides an electronic interaction. learning mileux that fosters the kind of creativity & communication needed to Methodology nourish engagement.10 The researcher employed a descriptive Engagement theory is based upon three (3) method combining the qualitative and concepts: Relate-Create-Donate. quantitative types of research. Descriptive research endeavors to describe Relate. Through time, students have been systematically, functionally, accurately and taught and trained to learn and work in their objectively a situation, problem or own. However, through blogs, students have phenomena (Garcia, 2003). Qualitative is the chance to relate and collaborate with used to discuss the pedagogical preparation their classmates’ expressed/posted opinions. done by the research to integrate blogs to the The learning environment could increase traditional classroom experience. While, students motivation to learn by participation quantitative is used to describe the students’ and collaboration with fellow students of the view of blogging. course. After the integration of the blogs in the Create. This second component makes traditional classroom method, the students learning creative, purposeful activity. were given the survey questionnaire. The Students will focus their efforts on creation questionnaire is consisted of four (4) of ideas in answering a specific questions that tackled the following students’ assignment/activities posted on the blog view: 1) reasons for participating in the blog, website. This would be more interesting to 2) blog as a medium for facilitating learning, students than answering their traditional 3) blog as a medium for student textbook activity. interactivity, 4) blog as a medium for reflection, and 5) transferability of blogging Donate. This third component stresses the as a learning tool. value of making a useful contribution while learning. Students who know they have an Pedagogical Preparation audience other than their teacher write more At the initial stage, The researcher created an Different activities were posted in the online learning environment that integrates blogsite, namely: 1). Topics, BLOG blogging as part of the teaching-learning assignments (1-8) using different strategies process in the course English 111 like plain texts entries, pictures, and linked encouraged students to write about what they videos for students’ learning experience. The have learned in class and relate it to topics covered for this study were the everyday life. Two (2) blog sites were following: 1). Simple Present Tense, 2). utilized: the multiply.com and the Simple Past Tense, 3). Future tense, 4). facebook.com. Present Perfect Tense, 5). Past Participle of Regular and Irregular Verbs, and Past Perfect The facebook.com blog site is currently the Tense. most popular among students. The account created for the online course was named 1. Students’ View of Blogs as Part of the ENGLISH COURSE. However, facebook Learning Experience. could only handle up to 160 characters during the time of the blog integration in For reasons of participating in the blog English 111. With this limitation, it was activities, majority (54%) of the students difficult to use it as a blog space. The realized the importance of participating in researcher used facebook as announcement blogging activities as part of the learning dissemination board utilizing its “status process and that they have to perform update” feature which surely reached its excellently in all activities. target studentry due to its popularity. Perceiving blog as a medium for facilitating A second blog site was created to combine learning, majority of the students agree to with facebook, the multiply.com. It was strongly agree that blogging assisted them in named ENGLISH 111 BHA. The best learning lessons in English 111. feature of multiply is that it can hold large amount of files be it photos, videos, blogs, Of the thirty-eight (38) students, 55 percent links, etc. Each entry are arrange revealed that blogging in the course English chronologically. For this study this blog site 111 increased the meaningful intellectual holds the main online classroom of English exchange more broadly. Blogs offer an 111. This is where the activities, innovative way for students to engage in announcements, and information were reflective writing on classroom topics in a posted. This is also where the students post familiar medium. their blogs in compliance to the teacher’s posted requirement. Given the choice of participating again in a blog activity without grades equivalent, The integration of blogs to the traditional twenty-six (26) or 68% agreed, while 20 classroom teaching-learning was initiated by percent strongly agreed. This is consistent requiring students to have themselves with Lorrie Jackson’s online article that become members of the English Course students loved to blog. Seeing their words facebook Account. This initial step is very published on the Web is a great student well known to the students as facebook is motivator. Students who know they have an very popular and that most of the students audience other than their teacher write more have their own facebook blogsite. credibly, accurately, and carefully. Entries are posted in the English Course When asked if they would like to see facebook and multiply blogsite to keep blogging used more widely in English students informed on what to expect from the courses as a learning/assessment tool, 12 course for the preliminary grading period. percent opined that it should be used in all subject, while, a equal percentage of 39% 5 said that it should used in most and in some "Facebook Statistics". of English subjects/courses. This shows that http://www.facebook.com/press/info.php? 100% of the students are agreeable that statistics. Retrieved July 21, 2010. 6 blogging should be used in English courses wikipedia.org 7 as a learning/assessment tool. Red Herring, "VCs Count on Multiply.com. Conclusions http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Multiply.com . Retrieved 8-18-2010. 8 Utilization of blogsites as a supplement to Multiply is Multiplying: Page Views the traditional method of teaching is a Double to 600MM Year-over-Year. welcome innovation for most students. The http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Multiply.com use of popular blogsite like the facebook is . Retrieved 8-18-2010. 9 familiar and very convenient for them such Kearsley, G, and Shneiderman, B. 1999, that it makes learning and complying to Engagement Theory: A Framework for requirements an enjoyable task. Students’ Technologybased Teaching and Learning, learning need not be confined to the four 1-6. walls of the classroom but can be achieved http://home.sprynet.com/~gkearsley/enga anywhere, anytime. Blogs as a learning ge.htm. Retrieved 15 August 2010. 10 space for English 111 is an effective teaching Ibid. methodology appreciated by the students. The integration of blogs in the traditional teaching learning process requires preparation and planning on the part of the teacher so that applicable and timely activities could be given to the students. References 1 wikipedia.org 2 Carlson, Nicholas (2010-03-05). "At Last – The Full Story Of How Facebook Was Founded". Business Insider. http://www.businessinsider.com/how- facebook-was-founded-2010-3#we-can- talk-about-that-after-i-get-all-the-basic- functionality-up-tomorrow-night-1. 3 Eldon, Eric. (2008-12-18). "2008 Growth Puts Facebook In Better Position to Make Money". VentureBeat. http://venturebeat.com/2008/12/18/2008- growth-puts-facebook-in-better-position- to-make-money/. Retrieved 08-18-2010. 4 Zuckerberg, Mark (2010-07-21). "500 Million Stories". Facebook. http://blog.facebook.com/blog.php?post=4 09753352130. Retrieved 2010-07-21.