Academic journal article Educational Technology & Society

Blogging for Information Management, Learning, and Social Support during Internship

Academic journal article Educational Technology & Society

Blogging for Information Management, Learning, and Social Support during Internship

Article excerpt

Introduction

Blogs have existed since the 1990s, but their application to educational settings is a relatively recent phenomenon (Tan, 2010). A blog (abbreviation of "web log") is a journal presented in reverse chronological order that consists of a person's thoughts and ideas posted on the Web for multiple viewers (Flatley, 2005). It is a database containing text entries and other forms of content, including pictures and sound files which can be created, edited and published to the Web in a flexible manner. It has been suggested that blogging has attributes that are relevant to knowledge management [KM] (Levy, 2009). For instance, blogging has been identified as another means of storytelling, which is an established KM method.

Blogs have been effectively administered in higher education, as well as in distance learning settings (Buffington, 2007; Downes, 2004). Additionally, the application of blogs appears to have potential beyond classroom education. For instance, blogs may be a suitable tool for professional education or internship, since they are simple and accessible personal diaries that allow a community of users to interact and communicate with each other (Levy, 2009). The main purpose of an internship is to facilitate the application of theoretical concepts learned in classroom settings into professional practice, and in a manner, shifts an individual mind to a social setting (Gonczi, 2004). The social aspect of blogs seem to fit this perspective of internship; however, empirical evidence to support blogging for students during their professional education is still scarce.

Blogging and knowledge sharing

Knowledge is viewed as an output that emerges from active social construction (McDermott, 1999). The application of blogging for knowledge management has gained rapid recognition in business organizations, largely due to its potential as a channel for imparting knowledge, soliciting comments and links, and options for classifying and archiving entries (Ojala, 2005). Blogs have been found to be effective in organizing information, articulating, developing, and sharing ideas (Mortensen & Walker, 2002). Blogs can also act as tools for developing community relationships and conversational learning (Fiedler, 2003). Essentially, individuals can establish and maintain a personal network, and organize the information exchanged through blogging.

Knowledge sharing refers to the process by which knowledge from one individual is transformed, understood, and used by others (Ipe, 2003). While knowledge sharing has been explored in detail at the level of business organizations and task orientations, other forms of knowledge sharing occur over the Internet, such as blogs (Hsu & Lin, 2008). While effective information and knowledge sharing can be facilitated by a diverse range of Internet technology such as email and asynchronous discussion forums, blogs provide an environment that is relatively more advanced (Ferdig & Trammell, 2004). In contrast to a discussion forum that is shared by many, a blog provides full ownership to the user over his/her online content which may not fit neatly within a hierarchical or topic-based discussion forum.

Blogging in education

Interest in blogging as an educational resource has been fueled by its capacity for individual self-expression and social connectivity (Burgess, 2006). Blogs have been suggested to be more efficient than traditional pedagogical tools as they are portable, have automatic time and date stamps, can avoid misinformation due to time lag, and are economical if one has access to a computer and Internet connection (Gleaves, Walker, & Grey, 2008). The use of blogs as pedagogical tools has been documented with parents of first grade students (Clyde, 2005), with high school students (Downes, 2004), among librarians in higher education settings (Buffington, 2007), and in foreign language classrooms (Ducate & Lomicka, 2005). …

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