Thing 4: Explore blogs

binocularsNow that you have a blog of your own you can really get started!

One of the best aspects of a course like this is the ability to share your ideas and perceptions with other participants. In this Thing, we explore some well-known blogs from around New Zealand and the world.

In Thing 3 we highlighted some functions of academic blogs: sharing research findings, as reflective practice, and building contacts and a professional community. This Thing expands on those functions and gives some examples of how blogs are actually being used in academia.

You don’t need to read every one of these blogs! Take a look around and see what is being done in the academic blogosphere, then share your findings with the other participants.

To stay current on a specific topic

The chance to publish news items and developments in a specific subject area is the most common function of blogs. These blogs focus on technology in education (my particular area of interest).

Derek Wenmoth is Director of eLearning at CORE Education and a policy advisor to the Ministry of Education on issues around digital technology and access to ICT.

Martin Weller is Professor of Educational Technology at the UK Open University and Director of the OER Research Hub. This blog has been around under various names for a long time – the archives go back to 2006!

The blog of the Head of Technology from Orewa College, Richard Wells. Richard is a former Microsoft Technician and Fine Arts grad. In his blog, which is internationally recognised and has been featured in numerous online magazines, including Edudemic, Richard shows how to use the iPad in the classroom for flipped learning, student centred and mobile learning.

A New Zealand educator in Singapore, Craig Kemp blogs about technology and learning innovation (he also hosts the weekly #whatisschool Twitter chat):

To promote university participation

Since 2010, the University of Auckland has been promoting a set of blogs authored by current students under “The Inside Word” header to show parents, family, and prospective students “what life is really like as a freshman at university.”

Did you know that the University of Auckland libraries have their own blogs? For example, Epsom campus has a blog about young adults’ and kids’ literature:

To promote research to a wider audience

The goal of this blog, by some of our own team at the Faculty of Education, is to “feature New Zealand social work research in an accessible way”:

In particular, I recommend these guest posts on social workers and social media:

To archive and share your own “annotated bibliography” of research

Last year Steve Wheeler (Associate Professor of Learning Technology at Plymouth University) blogged an A-Z of learning theorists. In his words, “In each post I’m going to try to simplify some complex ideas and present the models and theories in brief, bite sized posts. Each will also have a brief section on how the theory might apply to everyday teaching and learning.”

As public outreach

This Australian blog is a great example of blogging that acts as outreach to larger communities and the public:

To supplement formal publication

This blog accompanies a psychology research methods textbook. It gives current examples from the news and suggests discussion questions for lecturers using the textbook. While the focus here is psychology, many of the posts feature interesting topics in educational psychology:

As reflective practice

Blog of the principal of the newly established Hobsonville Point Secondary School, Maurie Abraham. Contained in the sidebar are the blogs of numerous staff members at HPSS, where blogging is encouraged as part of staff members’ ongoing reflective practice.

Blog of Claire Amos, DP at the new Hobsonville Point Secondary School. Claire is also a member of Nikki Kaye’s 21st Century Learning and Digital Literacy Reference Group. Claire reflects on Hobsonville’s progress and broader political and policy issues in NZ Education.

Fiona Grant works for the The Manaiakalani Education Trust. As a teacher and facilitator based in Auckland, New Zealand, she uses this space to explore how the use of things ‘digital’ is making a difference to teaching and learning.

In the classroom

The Manaikalani project involves many student-driven blogs. Here’s an example that is updated daily:

To see more, check out this summary page:

For (doctoral) advice and support

There are many blogs that give advice (or sympathy!) for those researching their doctorate. These four are some of our favourites.

As professional development

This 23 Things programme is being run as a blog!

try-this-iconTry this

For this Thing, we’d like you to add a new post to your blog, sharing a link to another blog that you like or that is relevant to your research interests. Include a description of that blog and tell us why you think we should be reading it too. Share a blog and you have completed Thing 4.

If you have any trouble posting to your blog, let us know!

It’s not required to complete this Thing, but we also encourage you to comment on the blog posts of other 23 Things participants. A major benefit of blogging is the ability to quickly grow discussion and develop a community around your interests.

explore-further-iconExplore further

“it helps ameliorate some of the more problematic issues that can emerge from the culture clash of academic knowledge and journalistic constraints”
By opening up a distinctive space between academic research and journalism, a thriving academic blogosphere mediates between them

“this study examines the use of blogging to initiate students into academic research at the tertiary level”
Chong, E. K. M. (2010). Using blogging to enhance the initiation of students into academic research. Computers & Education, 55(2), 798-807. doi: 10.1016/j.compedu.2010.03.012

“In this article I highlight the significance of the `blogosphere’ as a new addition to the qualitative researcher’s toolkit and some of the practical, theoretical and methodological issues that arise from this”
Hookway, N. (2008). ‘Entering the blogosphere’: Some strategies for using blogs in social research. Qualitative Research, 8(1), 91-113. doi: 10.1177/1468794107085298

Our own Toni Bruce has published a journal article that uses blogging as a research representational device and narrative tool (warning: contains swearing)
“An intensive period of fieldwork is thus distilled and re-presented through the voice of a fictional composite character whose blog reveals multi-layered, multi-sensorial, interactive experiences of sport and nationalism.”
Bruce, T. (2014). A Spy in the House of Rugby: Living (in) the emotional spaces of nationalism and sport. Emotion, Space and Society, 12, 32-40. doi: 10.1016/j.emospa.2013.12.002


Parts of this Thing were adapted from 23 Things for Research Oxford / CC By-NC-SA 3.0

Header image: Robert Körner / Flickr / CC By-NC-SA 2.0
Icons: Everaldo Coelho and YellowIcon / GNU Lesser General Public License

This post is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported License.

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3 thoughts on “Thing 4: Explore blogs

    1. Hi Anne. Tags are essentially a “folksonomy” – like a taxonomy but organised in a more ad-hoc and as-needed way, often by a community rather than an individual authority.

      On a blog, tags are generally used to put posts into an impromptu group, so that a user can click on that tag and find all related posts on the same blog.

      This post, for example, is tagged with “blogs”, and if you go here you can see all other posts on this blog with the same tag:

      Right now there are only two such posts. Generally speaking, tags are only useful if you have a large number of posts on the blog – if someone has been posting for years on a number of different topics then it can greatly simplify reading. In a smaller blog like this, they are perhaps less useful.

      As to how to select them, you can use anything meaningful that would likely apply to several different posts. You may want to tag all your reflection posts with “23research” for example. There’s only one rule with tagging: whatever you choose, be consistent.

      Liked by 1 person

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