Blog as Reference Material for 21st Century Learners

I developed SimplyEducate.me, a research-oriented blog, to facilitate student learning taking advantage of easy online access to educational articles that I carefully created. After six years, the blog metamorphosed into a legitimate reference material that served students and teachers alike in many educational institutions worldwide. The articles were organized into e-books that helped generate funds to make the operation of the website sustainable.

The age of information revolutionized the way students learn. Learning is no longer confined to the four corners of the classroom. It is common knowledge that whenever students are faced with assignments to work on, chances are, students will surf the Internet (Rhoades et al., 2008) to get the information they want from over 1.8 billion websites in the world (Fowler, 2017).

However, not all of the materials published on the internet are curated. The article or write-up that the student finds in the first ten links may be presenting misleading information. An opinion given by the writer may be construed as fact by the reader (Graham and Metaxas, 2003). In particular, information from blogs may not always be reliable as many of these are strongly opinionated and can lack professionalism.

Source: xkcd.com

Blog as Reference Material

A popular article published in a blog may not necessarily provide factual information. But psychologists found that people may not go to lengths to verify the information they have just read, even lies.

A landmark study by Hovland and Weiss (1951) noted that in time, people tend to disassociate the content and the source. A once “untrustworthy” material taken initially with skepticism is accepted. Lies are easily remembered than truths. Thus, internet-savvy educators need to institute safeguards to wean their students from “untrustworthy” sources of information.

Modern, information technology-oriented educators can enhance the learning quality of 21st-century learners by providing tips on how to discern factual from false information (Regoniel, 2017). Further, in response to the increasing popularity of the world wide web as a source of reliable information worthy of being cited as reference material, the educators themselves can produce well-written educational materials that their students can rely on.

I took this path and created my science blog as a venue to share my research knowledge and experience to students in the university as well as other places across the globe. I wrote short articles, averaging 400 to 600 words, based on a tedious synthesis of curated material found online. Guest authors, mainly academic, also joined and published similar articles.

The blog that I started as a hobby in October 2012 evolved into a legitimate source of reference material. Published articles got cited in international scientific journals, book chapters, books and e-books published by Springer, Proquest and ERIC. A short article titled “Conceptual framework: a step by step guide on how to make one” published in 2015, garnered 34 citations as of this writing.

The internet enabled people to access information at their fingertips. Science-related information that educates students and professionals no longer need to spend a fortune to answer one question that persists in their brain. Blogs can supply ready answers to hungry minds.

References

Fowler, D. (2017). How many websites are there in the world? Retrieved on January 18, 2019 from https://tekeye.uk/computing/how-many-websites-are-there.

Graham, L. and Metaxas, P. T. (2003). Of course it’s true; I saw it on the Internet!: critical thinking in the Internet era. Communications of the ACM, 46(5):70–75.

Hovland, C. I. and Weiss, W. (1951). The influence of source credibility on communication effectiveness.
Public Opinion Quarterly, 15(4):635–650.

Rhoades, E. B., Irani, T., Telg, R., and Myers, B. E. (2008). Internet as an information source: Attitudes and usage of students enrolled in a college of agriculture course. Journal of Agricultural Education,
49(2):108–117.

© 2019 September 26 P. A. Regoniel

Cite this article as: Regoniel, Patrick (September 26, 2019). Blog as Reference Material for 21st Century Learners [Blog Post]. In SimplyEducate.Me. Retrieved from https://simplyeducate.me/2019/09/26/blog-as-reference-material-for-21st-century-learners/

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