Blogging in Adult Literacy

March 26th, 2008 by Maria Moriarty

j0437338.jpg                        One of the many great aspects of my job here at AlphaPlus is the opportunity to continuously learn about trends and new ideas and applications of technology in adult literacy. Since I have been working on this blog I have been trying to keep up with what’s happening in the blogosphere in general and how blogs are and could be used in adult literacy teaching and learning.    I just came across a very interesting article Let them Blog  by David Huffaker of Northwestern University  that looks at blogs  as effective educational tools in the K-12 classroom. The author set out to examine the hyposthesis that,

 “… blogs can be effective educational tools in the following wasy: 1) they promote verbal and visual literacy through dialogue and storytelling; 2) they allow opportunties for collaborative learning; and 3) they are accessible and equitable to a variety of age groups and developmental stages in education.” (p.2)

Although the focus of this study is the K-12 classroom I think that it raises questions about blogs in education that will be of interest to the adult literacy community.  I also discovered the  very interesting blog  by Konrad Glogowski of the Ontario Institute of Studies in Education (OISE) called the blog of proximal development  ( the title is taken from the concept of proximal development, that is skills that are in the process of development by Lev Vygotsky ) in which the author  shares his reflections on blogging communities in education and the impact of blogs on that blogging and blogging communities have on his own classroom and his students.

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Reading this article and the blog  made me wonder  –  How are blogs being used in  adult literacy teaching and learning? Is blogging a useful activity for adult literacy students?  Is anyone looking at this specifically in adult literacy?  If you’re interested in creating a blog or in blogging with your students here are a couple of resources to get started. Learning 2.o Grab yourself a Blog in 3 Steps   is a very accessible hands-on introduction to blogging,  and now it is quite easy to set up multi-user blogs  that can be used in groups or classes . Check out 21Classes an easy to use blogging platform that allows users to customize and manage a multi-user blog system – there is a free version and an affordably priced subscription that includes extra features. This could be a very useful tool for programs to allow instructors and students to create blogs together.

I know from speaking with colleagues here at AlphaPlus and around the province that some adult literacy instructors are using blogs with their students and  that adult literacy students are very interested in blogs and blogging – so it would be great to hear more about that – please share your thoughts, ideas and experiences about blogs and blogging in the comments section. Look forward to hearing and learning more.

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