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EduBlog review

DiRT (Digital Research Tools) has a new home! Please visit Bamboo DiRT to explore this excellent collection of research tools.

Web site: http://edublogs.org/

Date of first review/ name of reviewer:  August 2011/ Areeba Abid

 

 

Blogs are a digital tool that allow individuals to maintain a virtual record of their lives, or to represent their ideas and commentaries on various materials. Anyone can gain access to blogs, which makes them a powerful resource for disseminating information to the masses. While books have limited access, online blogs have the ability to establish a large following of people who can interact with one another by using the commenting tools. This perpetuates a conversation that can be carried on by people all over the world and by those involved in a diverse array of professions. Features such as blogrolls, which are links to other blogs, can introduce readers to new sites they may like, and the RSS feeds, which allow subscriptions, makes it easier for the readers to remain connected to the updates and various ongoings of the bloggers they follow.  

 

By downloading the software required by blogs, anyone can participate in this interactive basis of spreading information and ideas. Certain websites such as Edublogs are privy to publishing and promoting academic based blogs. Edublog’s platform aims to provide academics and students to engage in both private or public blogs that are related to educational content. The hosted blogs are allowed by most school filters, thus many students can access and use them. Tools such as video embedding and connecting to Facebook and Twitter allow this site to more widely associate with people. Customization of various images, layouts, and colors makes it fun to use and personalize. Although this website is promoting educational material, it is limiting the people who can view this information. It does, however, allow teachers to virtually reach out to other teachers in different parts of the country. This sort of educational organization through technology encourages educators to explore new ideas of teaching by learning and viewing their contemporaries’ experiences and advice.  

Other blogging websites such as LiveJournal are less restrictive. LiveJournal’s personal publications can be globally participated in, thus community involvement is a critical aspect of the site. The Your Money service allows members to earn money from their journal posts. Since personal expression is deeply valued by LiveJournal, it has created a user-friendly customization process. This type of service rewards passionate bloggers who can make some financial progress by informing the public about subjects that interest them. The interaction of a community in such an immediate and creative way enables the constant, fluid expression of a myriad of thoughts, facts, and opinions. The diversity of perspectives presented on LiveJournal and other blogs produces a platform for people to be influenced by the words and images of others. This type of power can be used by people to advocate a variety of issues and brings awareness to many causes or problems. It can also be used to create fun sites that are dedicated to fashion or celebrity news. Either way, blogs are an effective way to communicate with the outside world because of their mass dissemination and ability to produce creative and informative materials at a more rapid pace. 

 

Although blogs allow for creative expression to be spread quickly, the question of the depth of their content remains of question. Most blogs are not refined, finished pieces of writing. While many tools can help create stylish, easy to use blogs in many formats, the virtual text stands alone. As writing is being published online, the difference between a finished product and a draft begins to blur. Perhaps this is a necessary process in laying out the platform to publish writings that are in different stages of formation. Blogs can be both a way to organize drafts and to produce something that is entirely final. While publishing in hard-print establishes one as a “legitimate” author, that certification is not necessarily garnered by those whose works appear online. Limited resources prevent many people from publishing books, whereas the easy and free access of the blogosphere allows anyone to publish whatever they want. Thus, online dissemination removes the limitations and constraints imposed by print literature. Even so, the limitless abundance of blogs does not necessarily qualify to scholarly standards. Then again, who gets to decide which stuff is worthy to be published online? How does one really know what information is worth knowing and what should be discarded? And is it really better to have a few, limited print books that have already been certified as scholarly material when the ideas of people, experts or not, are virtually spread in abundance on the web?

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