The suggested topic for #BEDN today is around Anti Bullying Week and so we decided to take a closer look at the Education Sector and how effectively this sector is using blogging in schools, colleges and universities.
During #educhat many months ago the Edupreneur, Teacher, Speaker and Publisher Eylan Ezekiel (@eylanezekiel) was kind enough to suggest some education bloggers we should investigate further in this field. We also recommend that you check out Eylans Innovation in Education blog.
The recommendations included:
- > The blog from Laura McInerney which is much respected and very topical.
- > The anonymous Andrew Old is very controversial but perhaps a very important contrast to the normal voices in education? His blog is: Scenes From The Battleground - Teaching in British Schools.
- > Also recommend was Pete Yeomans blog: The Grinch Manifesto.
Some schools are actually using blogging for projects with the pupils. This post gives 33 ways to use blogs in the classroom or educational setting for school children. There is also the International Student Blogging Challenge which takes place twice a year.
This blog post Academics and universities should embrace blogging as a vital tool of academic communication and impact puts forward a clear argument for why more academics and universities should blog. The author suggests that blogs are a great way to test their ideas, advertise their research and constructively interact with the wider world free from the confines of traditional academic publishing. What better platform is there for reaching an audience and sharing your theories than a blog? An example is cited of Adrian Miles, a Senior Lecturer at RMIT. He advises that if work is published in a major international journal the article may only be read by 100 people, whereas his blog has 1,000 readers a week.
Another academic blogger Dr Ben Habib adds:
“I’m very conscious of the need for academics like me to remove ourselves from our ‘ivory tower’ and provide something of value to the community in media that are easily accessible. This is especially important for academics who work in regional universities so with that in mind, my blog serves three broad purposes: one, it provides me with a forum to write regularly on a broad range of topics within my research and teaching areas; two, it is a teaching tool, providing experiential learning opportunities for students; and three, it is a vehicle for community engagement.”
This blog post Why is Blogging Relevant to Learning and Teaching? explains that a blog will help develop writing skills by requiring information to be presented in a different way potentially appealing to a wider audience. The reflection required for blogging is extremely important to the process of learning and blogs can build communities of interest and break down barriers between staff and students. Thoughts and comments on a blog post can further develop and influence research and thinking.
I was pleasantly surprised to find that some universities (including some degrees at Leeds University) actually use authoring a blog as a marked assignment on certain degree courses.
In todays competitive job market many students realise that they need to differentiate themselves from the pack to secure their dream job. Blogging is a great tool to set yourself apart. You may be interested to read this blog post: Blogging for College Students for more information.
As well as the academic side colleges and universities are also recognising that blogs can be important in terms of recruitment levels. A student blog giving a true insight into the local area and student nightlife could easily persuade or dissuade a potential student from applying. Universities in Canada, the US, Denmark and Hong Kong seem ahead of the UK in terms of Student Recruitment Strategy and harnessing the power of bloggers within their student body. It seems there is definite room for improvement for communications from UK universities though, as outlined in this Guardian article: University Recruitment - one fifth of students say social media doesnt work.
“The blog awards are a fantastic idea and I’m looking forward to seeing some of the best that the internet has to offer! The education sector is undergoing a lot of change at the moment. Blogging gives an opportunity for anyone with something interesting to say to influence this debate – and the power of that can’t be under-estimated in something that’s as formative as learning and skills.”