H808: Researching blogs in education


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This post is a response to Core Activity 9.1 Evidencing research based competancies

I like research. I love the way the Internet has it all there. It’s like being a child in a sweet shop. Google and Google Scholar are great starting points to get a handle on a topic and having access to the OU’s online library means most journal articles are readily available. There are moments of total immersion, of skimming search results, looking for keywords, at a blog post or journal article that may be relevant, capturing details, and building a map of the research topic.

However, I am not sure that I am going about it the right way because it seems to take a very long time.  I tend to capture research, readings and links in a mindmap that evolves to create a picture of the topic and gives an idea of scope. Here is the mindmap: 


I seem to need to read quite a lot before I feel comfortable with a topic. And when the topic is about the range of uses of blogs in education and there are so many interesting blogs out there, the temptation is there to keep reading and reading and getting carried away with content rather than sticking to the task at hand. When is a good time to stop research?

Although the topic of blogs in education wasn’t entirely unfamiliar, I still found some great new resources. I’m going to highlight one which was a site showcasing blogging case studies at Warwick University’s Knowledge Centre

I particularly enjoyed listening to bloggers talking about their experiences in short clips and reading the helpful case studies. As a resource for encouraging others in education to blog through sharing good practice, it reflects good practice in elearning. The interviews also focussed on challenges of managing content and marketing of blogs which are vital for keeping momentum going.  Some of the actual  blogs were really good with one or two seeming to have lost momentum and not been updated much – a common enough feature of the blogosphere.

The task required coming up with some core uses of blogs in education and my 6 are:

1) Reflection
2) Skills development
3) Building a community
4) Knowledge creation
5) Collaborating and networking
6) Authentic and situated learning

A fuller account of the desktop research with descriptions and examples for each core use  is  available as a google doc.


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