Using blogs in education for 21st Century learners is a desirable option for both teachers and students. This approach becomes much more relevant during the pandemic where virtually everyone in countries affected by COVID-19 access the Internet for educational purposes. As a professor, I narrate how I developed a research-oriented blog as a hobby that eventually became a good source of material for research and education in general.
I developed SimplyEducate.me, a research-oriented blog, way back in 2012 to facilitate student learning taking advantage of easy online access to educational articles that I carefully created. At the same time, I studied Search Engine Optimization (SEO) techniques to enable search engines to find articles using keywords as hooks. Knowledge in SEO is vital as Google became a popular search engine anchored on relevant keywords that bring back relevant articles to the user.
After six years, the blog metamorphosed into a legitimate reference material that served students and teachers alike in many educational institutions worldwide. I organized the articles I wrote into e-books that helped generate funds for website maintenance and make it a sustainable source of income.
More than 3,000 unique visitors browse Simplyeducate.me site using keywords related to research and other education-related materials. Some of the articles even found their way in dissertations and refereed scientific publications listed in Google Scholar. The article I wrote about how to develop a conceptual framework got 71 citations. And the eBook I wrote about it regularly sold copies since its publication in 2015.
Key Points on Why Using Blogs in Education Matter
Who Writes Blogs?
Using blogs in education appears to be underrated among teachers unless they recognize its importance in educating their students. Please note that many of those who write articles are hobbyists or writers trying to make a living by writing about topics that may not be within their expertise.
As a result, bloggers tend to rely on previously published articles that may be of questionable validity. Teachers need to fill this gap and populate the Internet with much more relevant content.
Blogs as Sources of Reliable and Accurate Information
The age of information revolutionized the way students learn. Learning takes place not only within the confines of the four corners of the classroom but in a virtual world without boundaries. 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 reliable reference materials. 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). Blogs may not always be reliable as many of these are strongly opinionated and can lack professionalism.
Writing blogs as reference material for students presents its challenges as well as opportunities. And the kind of writing needed is not just the way it’s done when preparing class lessons. Using blogs in education has its requisites for better article exposure.
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 people tend to disassociate the content and the source in time. 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” information sources.
Modern, information technology-oriented educators can enhance the learning quality of 21st-century learners by providing tips on how to discern fact from fiction (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.
Search Engine Optimization Requirements
If you are a teacher who wants to respond to the need for more accurate, relevant, and valid information in the Internet, you need to be aware of the importance of writing with the search engines in mind. Without this knowledge, your articles will remain buried in the long list or articles on a particular subject matter.
Knowledge of SEO is critical, as current search technology employed by search engines like Google, Bing, Mozilla, among others, defines how articles should be structured for users to find them. It’s a different sort of writing bound by the need for automation.
Teachers need to write accurately by having correct spelling and grammatical construction in their write-ups and being knowledgeable about the proper use of keywords. If you are not aware of SEO and would like to engage in online writing soon, it is time to start studying it now. Learn the ropes.
Why Blogging Can Enhance Your Career
I am convinced that using blogs in education can help enhance the students’ learning experience. I took this path and created my blog for students in my university and other places across the globe. I wrote short articles, averaging 400 to 600 words (now Google favors comprehensive articles of at least 600 words), based on a tedious synthesis of curated material found online. Guest authors, mainly academics, also joined and published similar articles.
The blog that I started as a hobby in October 2012 evolved into a legitimate reference material source. 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 71 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 needs to spend a fortune answering one question that persists in their brains. Blogs can supply ready answers to hungry minds. Using blogs in education is a venture that benefits both teachers and students.
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,
© 2019 September 26 P. A. Regoniel