My name is Jeremy Guerin. I am a Canadian ESL teacher currently working in the South Korean public school system on the island of Jeju-Do. In the context of my current Masters of Education course from the University of Southern Queensland in Australia, entitled Computer Based Resources in Education, I am posting both to clarify certain of my own ideas for an assignment as well as to share information concerning the use of blogs within both an ESL and a straightforward English classroom setting.
While I highly recommend reading related articles by Stephen Downes and Robert Godwin-Jones, the focus of this post concerns the six main advantages of using blogs within the classroom discussed in the article "Using blogs in an EFL writing class" by Wen-shuenn Wu, a professor in the Department of Foreign Languages and Literature at Chang-Hua University, which can be accessed by Google Scholar online.
1. Blogs are a valuable tool in creating and editing any number of personal or classroom learning materials.
2. Blogs encourage students to search and view English language sites online.
3. Blogs enable teachers to verify posting dates and access archived student work.
4. Blogs can be a valuable first attempt for students at creating their own place online.
5. Blogs can easily be used as a collaborative environment to express themselves and receive feedback from peers the teacher.
6. Blogs promote analytical and critical thinking and encourage students to be more aware of the style and content of their writing, given the awareness that others will view and comment of the posted material.
Given the importance of the Internet and the skills required for students to integrate into the workforce of the future, it seems clear that blogs offer interesting advantages both in terms of language skills, but also with skills related to technology and creativity.