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Blogs, wikis, & forums

Hazel's outline of the difference between blogs, wikis and discussion forums in a blog post in this Ning provides useful definitions and videos.

This useful site on using blogs and wikis in education provides explanations, videos, and links to examples.

BLOGS

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"A blog (short for weblog) is a personal online journal that is frequently updated and intended for general public consumption. Blogs are defined by their format: a series of entries posted to a single page in reverse-chronological order. Blogs generally represent the personality of the author or reflect the purpose of the Web site that hosts the blog. Topics sometimes include brief philosophical musings, commentary on Internet and other social issues, and links to other sites the author favors, especially those that support a point being made on a post. The author of a blog is often referred to as a blogger. Many blogs syndicate their content to subscribers using RSS, a popular content distribution tool."

The value of blogs

Blogs are of immense value in these ways and also for

aiding literacy

sharing ideas about pedagogy

Codes of practice

It is useful for students and staff to draw up a code of practice to provide blogging guidelines.


To view this video click HERE

Offering a series of vignettes of how teachers are using blogs and wikis in schools in the UK, this video provides suggestions of tried and tested effective practice. The description on the site reads: "The use of blogs and online collaboration in education is explored as teachers discover how and why they should make good use of them".

WIKIS

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Definition

"A wiki ( /ˈwɪki/ WIK-ee) is a website that allows the easy[1] creation and editing of any number of interlinked web pages via a web browser using a simplified markup language or a WYSIWYG text editor.[2][3] Wikis are typically powered by wiki software and are often used to create collaborative websites, to power community websites, for personal note taking, in corporate intranets, and in knowledge management systems."

The value of wikis

Renee Fountain's detailed examination of wikis includes a useful analysis of their pedagogical value.

Disadvantages of wikis

Wiki Educator lists a few disadvantages which need consideration.


FORUMS

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Definition : "A discussion board (known also by various other names such as discussion group, discussion forum, message board, and online forum) is a general term for any online "bulletin board" where you can leave and expect to see responses to messages you have left.....The first discussion boards were available on bulletin board systems. On the Internet, Usenet provides thousands of discussion boards; these can now sometimes be viewed from a Web browser. Many websites offer discussion boards so that users can share and discuss information and opinions. Special software is available that provides discussion board capability for a website."


The value of discussion forums

Technology and Education Online Discussion forums: it's in the response provides an interesting qualitative analysis of the use of discussion forums in web-based course delivery. Referencing Vygotsky, the forums are seen as an example of the technology's use and value as a cognitive tool that: promotes student engagement; encourages students to negotiate meaning and construct knowledge; stimulates critical thinking. Student enfranchisement and the value of disagreement are also seen as important pedagogical aspects.

Issues to consider

It is useful for a group using a discussion forum to establish guidelines for communication so that discussions do not become destructive.

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Blogs, wikis, & forums by Ethos Consultancy NZ is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported License.

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