Blogging and Podcasting


What are Blogging and Podcasting?


Blog or Web log (or Weblog), is a web-based publication created or moderated by an individual, group or corporation. Entries to blogs often chronicle events/activities, thoughts, or beliefs of the moderator and uses a dated log format for building its content (Dennis, 2007; Glossary). Some blogs function mainly as news filters showcasing headlines and news articles of other sites that are of interest to the user andexternal image keyboard_type.jpg sometimes including a commentary on the issues presented and provides a collection of other online sources related to the topic. Often blogs are used as online journals, a space in the web where people can express themselves and have a "freedom of tone" (Glenn, 2003). Moreover, aside from written content, blogs may also be embedded with pictures, audio clips and videos as well. Blogs are the ultimate soapbox for ordinary individuals; it also offers the opportunity for people to create digital identity or personal brand in the web (Dennis, 2007). Moreover, "the development of blogs lowers the cost of publishing" and gives its authors immediacy in being published and read by a number of people of the same interest and of diverse perspectives (Jack M. Balkin , as cited in Glenn 2003).

Another characteristic of many blog platforms is that they provide a space for visitors to leave comments and interact with the author of the page. Blogging "has some of the best aspects of peer review built into it" as blog entries are often monitored and responded almost instantaneously by the various web users (Jacob T. Levy, as cited in Glenn, 2003).

podcast icon
podcast icon
Podcast, is a word derived from the words "iPod" and "broadcasting" (BBN, 2007). Podcasting is basically digital broadcasting -- a "radio show" that is distributed through the use of RSS 2.0 syndication format, made available through audioblogs and downloaded into personal audio players (e.g. iPods, MP3 players, cell phones and PDAS) (PCMag, 2007).

Anyone can podcast or create a podcast for as long as they have a computer, a microphone or even just your phone and an audio editing software (e.g. GarageBand for Mac and Audacity for PC).

Both blogging and podcasting are essentially digital mediums which advocate self expression through the web and offers immediacy of bringing it out into the public.

Learning Theories that Guide the Use of Blogging and Podcasting


The Constructivist learning theory is the major current that flows beneath the concept of blogging. As mentioned earlier, blogs are essentially musings or thoughts of the moderator relating to a certain topic (e.g. commentaries on a book or public speech, etc). Blog entries are the corporeal product of linking previous data into new thoughts. Integration of knowledge is even made more obvious by the various " web links" that are usually embedded in the blog entries. Moreover, building of knowledge is not restricted to the moderator only but also in its audience/readers as they leave comments on the blog page which may later on become a forum if more people participate in it. As Yale Professor, Jack Balkin states: "It [blogging] really does help realize the promise of the Internet as a place for wide-ranging public discussion" (Glenn, 2003). This then connects to the Communities of Practice learning theory, where in the whole blogosphere is essentially a community of people who engage in the process of collective learning as they continually express their thoughts through their own blog entries and comments on other blogs and bloggers.

The theory of Multiple Intelligence also plays a role in both of these digital mediums. Because of the versatility of material that can be used in a blog (e.g. written text, embedded pictures, music, video, etc.) it appeals to the different learning types. It allows the moderator/blogger to express him/herself in the manner that he/she is most comfortable with. Podcasting too is supported by this same theory. As podcasting increases the accessibility to a wide range of audio resources in the Web, it "provides better cognitive-based personalization in learning" (Cebeci & Tekdal, 2006). It is said that "cognitive-based personalization uses information about learning preferences or styles from a primarily cognitive perspective to deliver content specifically targeted to differing learner attributes" (Martinez, 2002, as cited in Cebeci & Tekdal, 2006)


The Benefits of Using Blogging and Podcasting


"Compared to what we are used to in the academia, where you submit something and then maybe when you have grandchildren you'll hear something whether it's going to be published..." states law professor, Eric Muller with regards to blogging. Immediacy in publication is one benefit blogging and podcasting offers. Within a few clicks of the keys information from an individual's computer is disseminated to the rest of the world. On the account of this expeditious and effective means of circulating information, a wide range people are able to respond to it with more actively. Blogging appeals to a number of scholars because of this vast diversity of opinions and new perspective they get from commentaries to their entries. Another benefit that blogging offers is that anyone can avail of it. It brings full professors, adjuncts and students into a level field because of the anonymity, barriers of rank and hierarchy breakdown and everyone can come into an open discussion about a certain topic (Glenn, 2003). Insofar as heterogeneous participants are present, performance of members are inevitably affected. It is likely that the high enders can raise the level of achievement of those in the lower hierarchy of know-how. Brown Seely writes in an article that learners now a days tend to learn in situ. Learning in situ means that individuals learn from watching and observing other people then it leads them to action (2002). Through blogging and podcasting, people inevitably learn from each other and affect each other's understanding of a subject matter.

In the podcasting field, the immediacy and ease of information complements the mobile lifestyle that people nowadays live. Audio/video recordings can easily be accessed and loaded into portable players and brought around with them. People can listen to podcasts at their convenience -- whenever, wherever. The technological advantage of podcasting is that it makes mobile learning applicable, cheaper (as compared to WAP-based or Web-based mobile learning) and popular as most students already have mobile audio players (Cebeci & Tekdal, 2006). Podcasting is especially applicable to distance learning as it offers flexibility. Teachers may podcast their lectures and students download it and listen to it at their convenience.
AG00280_.gif
Both blogging and podcasting offer means for self expression and creativity. Blogging automatically gives individuals a real audience to write to and, when optimized, a collaborative environment where they can give and receive feedback (Kennedy, 2003). There is a conscious effort from the blogger to make better in the craft of writing, furthermore, so as make his/her blog interesting and appealing to a certain type of audience, the blogger embeds different kinds of dynamic media into the page (e.g. videos, pictures, slide shows, music, etc) and also design/choose different backgrounds or wallpapers for the blog page itself.

Podcasting provides a means for creative expression as well. It offers a new way for individuals to share their ideas by adding voice recordings, photos, movies, and sound effects similar to that of blogging. In the realm of the academe, students can draft and perform scripts as a writing assignment, create a visual progress report for an ongoing project, or submit a recorded version of a science presentation (Podcasting, 2007). Active revision of broadcast scripts also enhances a student's writing skills and the actual recording itself helps boost the student's confidence in verbal communication. Patricia Deubel writes: "students write storyboards, conference about the content, edit, perform, analyze the raw footage, combine the spoken word with photos or video, work in teams...They develop higher-order thinking skills, their ability to write, select facts, develop and organize ideas and content, and communicate orally" (2007). Also quoting seventh grade teacher, Jim Moulton: " [students are] spending significant amounts of time reading, understanding, rereading, reflecting on, and ultimately recording the words of Mahatma Gandhi, Winston Churchill, Eleanor Roosevelt, and others, along with a pithy moral. They are thinking about how to modulate and pace their voices, how to read in tune with the words so as to make their recording engaging and meaningful, entertaining and instructive, popular and purposeful" (as cited in Deubel, 2007).

The Challenges of Using Blogging and Podcasting


A primary benefit of Blogging and Podcasting is the relative ease with which anyone can partake. With just a bit of computer and internet knowledge, anyone can create and broadcast their thoughts, ideas, activities, or just anything they like, to the rest of the world. That having been said, there are some more basic challenges that might be overlooked. First, this general knowledge of computer and internet technology has to come from somewhere, and the feeling that the basic knowledge is missing often intimidates users from ever attempting to acquire it. For many people then, owning basic technology knowledge is too high a hurdle to pass, and they choose not to participate in blogging and podcasting.

A more common challenge to blogging and podcasting is not the mental capital of how to do it, but the fiscal capital of owning the physical resources to do it. Owning a computer, webcam, or microphone is something that tens of thousands of American families and millions of global families simply cannot afford. For 850 million people worldwide, fighting the hunger they experience every day is a bit more important than broadcasting their thoughts regarding their love life to thousands of anonymous online users. Although blogging and podcasting are typically free, the resources to prepare a blog or podcast cost on average between $500 and $2,000. This high cost of the physical resources is quite often much too high to participate in an activity that holds little value beyond entertainment.

Once the necessary knowledge and physical resources for Blogging and Podcasting are acquired, the only true remaining challenge is choosing to what to say. With such a rapid proliferation of the internet, millions of people, including your neighbors, students, employers, family, and priests all might read, watch or hear what you have to say in your Blog or Podcast; so watch what you say.

Special Guidance for Using Blogging and Podcasting


Link, lurk, and observe how other blogs and podcasts are designed -- how the content is presented, hyperlinks, embedded media, background, etc. It is important to get a feel of how some of the more "successful sounding blogs and podcasts read and feel before deciding to create one (Colgan, 2005).

Craig Colgan, former Associate Editor of the American School Board Journal, cautions blog users (and podcast users as well) to check school and district policies before implementing the said media in class. Though policies may not address blogs specifically, but but acceptable-use policies generally specify how school computers can be used for a class.

If a teacher decides to use the web blog as a tool for teaching he/she at the onset must have at hand pre-planned provocative questions that can be a basis for good discussion or subject inquiry. The initial stage can be some sort of brainstorming. Then as the blogging proceeds the teacher must sample comprehension and undertake corrective measures when misconceptions are occurring. The teacher may need to reformulate questions if entries “stray away from topic It is indeed important for the moderator to promote flow of entries to elicit missing substantial information and sustain interest among the participants. Summation is made when a definite conclusive point is reached.

Blogs and podcasts can be done in a matter of minutes (depending on how complex you want your production to be). There are a lot of website that offer free tools that could help you start one up (Blogger, Typepad, Podcast.com,etc).

For tips on how to make a podcast click here.

external image LawBooks.jpg


Research on Blogging and Podcasting


Cebeci, Z., & Tekdal, M. (2006). Using podcasts as audio learning objects. Retrieved Oct. 8, 2007, from http://ijklo.org/Volume2/v2p047-057Cebeci.pdf

This research, authored by two professors from Çukurova University in Turkey, is an introductory investigation on approaches on adapting and using audio podcasts as learning tools. The professors conclude that podcasting is indeed an opportunity to extend and improve lectures beyond classrooms and provide invaluable options to meet the needs of auditory learners. However, they also state that podcasts should be redesigned with a close convergence of instructional theory and syndication technology.

Craig Colgan (2005, December). Computer Blogs: Boon or Bane? The Education Digest, 71(4), 57-63. Retrieved October 11, 2007, from Research Library Core database. (Document ID: 940542011).

This article discusses the the potential of blogging or Weblogs for K-12 administrators and school board members. Written by former Associate Editor of American School Board Journal, Colgan states that blogs can help anyone with Internet access to create a simple but powerful website.

Dlott, A. M. (2007). A (pod)cast of thousands. Educational Leadership, 64(7), 80-82.

Technology Integration Specialist, Ann Marie Dlott, writes an article about the use of podcasts and blogs in U.S. education and how these can help build students' skills in confident effective communication.



Blogging and Podcasting Lesson Ideas


Because Blogging and Podcasting both require a bit of creative expression, and often incorporate elements of critical reflection as well, the use of each technology as a response to a lecture, video, or assignment can be a productive educational assignment. As is the case with the use of any educational technology, it is important that the openness of physical resources for blogging and podcasting are ensured before either are incorporated into lesson planning. If this isn't done, it is quite likely that some students will be unable to participate due to the fact that their family does not own a computer and they do not have personal access to one. Once this is ensure however, blogging and podcasting each can allow students to critically evaluate and express their thoughts on a particular piece of curriculum being learned in class. Another valuable use can be in student collaboration in studying, as students can be assigned to blog once weekly regarding the challenges they are experiencing in completing that weeks homework assignment, or the upcoming midterm exam.

Blogging and Podcasting Links


On Blogging:

On Podcasting:

References


BBN Technologies. (2007). Glossary: P. Retrieved Oct. 9, 2007, from http://www.bbn.com/glossary/P

Cebeci, Z., & Tekdal, M. (2006). Using podcasts as audio learning objects. Retrieved Oct. 8, 2007, from http://ijklo.org/Volume2/v2p047-057Cebeci.pdf

Dennis, M. A.(2007). blog. In Encyclopædia Britannica. Retrieved October 7, 2007, from Encyclopædia Britannica Online: http://0-search.eb.com.libus.csd.mu.edu:80/eb/article-9404269

Craig Colgan (2005, December). Computer Blogs: Boon or Bane? The Education Digest, 71(4), 57-63. Retrieved October 11, 2007, from Research Library Core database. (Document ID: 940542011).

Deubel, P. P. (2007). Podcasts: Where's the learning?. Retrieved Oct. 11, 2007, from http://thejournal.com/articles/20764_2

Glossary of web design terms. Retrieved Oct. 7, 2007, from http://www.webdesigninsite.com/web-design-glossary.php

Kennedy, K. (2003). Writing with web logs. Retrieved Oct. 8, 2007, from http://www.techlearning.com/db_area/archives/TL/2003/02/blogs.php

PCMAG.com. (2007). PC podcast definition. Retrieved Oct. 8, 2007, from http://www.pcmag.com/encyclopedia_term/0%2C2542%2Ct%3Dpodcast&i%3D49433%2C00.asp[[http://0-search.eb.com.libus.csd.mu.edu:80/eb/article-9404269|]]

Podcasting in education: A new way to inspire learning. (2007). Retrieved Oct. 11, 2007, from http://www.apple.com/education/digitalauthoring/podcasting.html