In thinking about things to post, I remembered something I read on the Moodle Background site written by Martin Dougiamas that gave me incite as to why blogging has value in education. In describing why he developed Moodle for educators, Dougiamas explained:
“I am particularly influenced by the epistemology of social constructionism – which not only treats learning as a social activity, but focuses attention on the learning that occurs while actively constructing artifacts (such as texts) for others to see or use... I have a deeply-held belief in the importance of unrestricted education and empowered teaching, and Moodle is the main way I can contribute to the realization of these ideals.”
Like moodle, blogging allows students to construct various social “artifacts” (textual, pictorial, video, etc.) that help them learn and influence culture, both in- and outside of the classroom. In addition, the social nature of blogging is constructivist in approach, meaning that, as students interact, they are influenced by their interactions, with and without the teacher. Since Moodle activities like social forums and chats allow for students to create and discuss social/virtual “artifacts” they are similar to blogs, which allow for creative social learning via posting and commenting. I have been a strong Moodle supporter since I started managing and using the tool in 2005. The philosophy and open access to this tool has remained impressive to me. I can see similar qualities in blogging activities for students, which a teacher could easily use in conjunction with Moodle. I enjoy considering not only what tools work in education, but also why they work. Which online teaching tools work best for you and what is it about them that help students learn? What added value do the tools you use bring to the classroom and what philosophy or research supports their use? Having faced such questions from teachers and administrators who are slow to take on technology projects, I have found that having a solid pedagogical response can help when promoting technology integration in the classroom. Concerning Moodle, I also enjoyed reading Social Constructivism as a Referent. My two favorite lines from this reference are the first two points:
- “All of us are potential teachers as well as learners – in a true collaborative environment we are both”; and,
- “We learn particularly well from the act of creating or expressing something for others to see.“
Moodle and blogging activities are similar in that they allow for students to be teachers and learners by sharing their own thoughts and creations.
Note that logo images at the top of this post come from the moodle website at https://moodle.org/ and the wordpress website at https://wordpress.com/.