The Effectiveness of Weblogs in the Classroom
The internet has proven that it can be a very reasonable and valuable tool for research and communication within the classroom setting. Over the past decade, it has redeveloped the way students retrieve and use information, claims Richardson (2004). Richardson continues that until now it was not very clear if the internet provided students with anything more than a vast tool for research. One application that has altered this perception is the “weblog.” The introduction of weblogs within school systems has really made a profound impact on the way children learn. According to Richardson (2004), “Weblogs are redefining the way students and teachers use the internet, turning them from mere readers into writers.”(p.1) Although educators have been slow in adopting weblogs into the classroom, they seem to be quite affective alternatives to traditional education.
According to Wikipedia (2005), a weblog can be defined as “a web application which contains periodic time-stamped posts on a common webpage. These posts are often but not necessarily in reverse chronological order. Such a website would typically be accessible to any internet user. ‘Weblog’ is a portmanteau of ‘web’ and ‘log” (Wikipedia, 2005). Wikipedia (2005) states that the name for this application was created in 1997 by John Barger. During the late 90's the phenomenon of weblogs just started to become ever so popular. Most people used them for personal journal writing, but by 2004 the use of weblogs became mainstream (Wikipedia, 2005). It was estimated that in the fall of 2003 that over 4 million users subscribed and created weblogs over a 6 month period of time, claims Richardson (2004). There are many different types of weblogs that can exist on the internet including: personal, legal, news, corporate, religious, and collaborative (Wikipedia 2005). Some more serious than others, are changing the way we as humans interact and perform tasks.
Weblogs have become easier to use over the past few years. Blogging software has improved immensely and one does not need to know html code to have a weblog on the internet (Australia). There are simple guides and tutorials posted on the internet to help those who lack knowledge in the interactive journal experience. Most of the specialized software is publicly accessible through different servers including Xanga, blogspot, and Schoolblogs. These servers do not require that you download any tools and they are free to the public. Stach (2004) suggests, when registering for a weblog, very little information is required and anonymity is reserved. “Weblogs offer a communication medium that is more structured that an e-mail list and more focused than a discussion board” suggests Kajder (2003). Weblogs are also hyperactive, meaning that the author of a blog has the ability to place links within their writings (Stach 2004). This gives us the...