Using the power of research to inform ICT integration in education

Carla Arena (2008) Blogging in the Language Classroom: It Doesn’t “Simply Happen”, Teaching English as a Second or Foreign Language (2008) Volume: 11, Issue: 3, Pages: 1-7

This paper describes the importance of guiding students to use blogs (Web logs) for educational purposes. While blogs are commonly thought of as simply happening, in fact, educators in a media literate world need to rethink and redefine best practices for using this tool. Introduction Ideally, through blogs, students would create content and construct knowledge using the wonders of these publishing tools that abound online. I definitely believe in the power of blogs to improve students abilities while learning a second language, in my case, in an EFL context. However, blogging doesnt simply happen. The word has been spread about the potential of blogging for the language classroom, but there needs to be more than an idea to convince students that they can really profit from this tool on the read/write Web. There are numerous options for blogs, depending on the goals set for them. In the English as a Foreign Language setting, one can find blogs for professional development, class blogs, and students individual blogs, among others. In this sense, unleashing the potential of blogs for language learning will be directly related to teachers understanding of the pedagogical benefits of such a tool, and the students perception of its value in their learning process. As pointed out by Glogowsky (2008) in his post about blogtalk, Blogging is not about choosing a topic and writing responses for the rest of the term. It is about meaningful, thoughtful engagement with ideas (para. 2). Blogs as Conversations Blogs imply conversations. And, for these conversations to happen, there first needs to be a redefinition of the educators presence and role in the blogging classroom. Educators should be facilitate the process of establishing the online conversations within oneself, among learners, with other teachers, and possibly the world. Students will have to get used to the blogging experience to learn how to properly answer posts, how to cite, and how to establish their own blogging tone through their posts. in such a way that they find their unique channel of communication in the target language.

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