According to my personal experience, from all Web 2.0 technologies blogging is perhaps the one that has changed the most. I recall that the first times when I accessed blogs back in 2002, most of them contained just an unordered list of links to resources and external websites; a few of them emulated a personal diary, including all activities done by the authors on a daily or weekly basis; and a few others discussed events in the news. I must admit that at that time I didn’t foresee the potential of blogs as an effective Web 2.0 tool. I wonder why people would need blog applications if they could easily get a free website in Yahoo or Geocities, just as I did at that time.
With the time, blogs have switched from being mere lists of external resources or personal diary entries to become a tool in which anyone can express their own thoughts, ideas and reflections about any topic. Moreover, most blogs now support the capability of receiving comments and feedback from any user per blog posting, which might promote social participation.
Blogs can also be an excellent tool to support learning. Downes (2004) identifies different ways in which blogs can be used for educational purposes, among them: (1) Students can be requested to write their individual blog about topics covered in the class, as part of their course grade; (2) Blogs can be used to organize in-class discussions, in this way students get to know each other better by reading each others’ blogs; (3) Blogs can be used to provide summaries of readings, other students could comment or critique each others’ postings to enrich the summaries.
Personally, I like using blogs as a metacognitive tool in the sense that it allows me to reflect upon the readings covered during the week and the topics discussed in class, highlighting the main concepts, thinking about effective uses of the content covered and sometimes critiquing with different points of views.
Downes, Stephen (2004, September/October). Educational blogging, EDUCAUSE Review, 39(5), 14–26. Retrieved on November 15, 2010, from