Slings and Arrows - Pete's Evo Blog

Yawn, yes another blog about blogging:-) This one takes a robust look at the use of blogs in EFL.

Sunday, February 06, 2005

Rebranding this Blog

As Graham and pointed out, there was some discussion about blogging on the IATEFL BESIG list.

I am a little concerned that there has really been very little critical discussion of blogs and blogging in EFL, and it seems odd that what little discussion has taken place, has taken place elsewhere. It seems to be generally accepted that blogging is a good thing - as I stated in my introduction, this is not something that I have yet accepted, although my participation in this (and last years) group does indicate that I am open to persuasion.

In the hope of stimulating some critical discussion on Blogging, I have decided to play the devil's advocate and have changed the name of this blog to Slings and Arrows. I hope that taking a critical position on blogging may draw out some of the possible benefits of blogging.


Blogger Nathan Lowell said...


This is a great point. I'm not qualified to speak to the issue of ESL, but from an instructional standpoint blogs have some significant advantages.

a. They're persistent. So when the course is over, the student's artifacts are still available to them (assuming they use a publicly available space, of course).
b. They're public. Nothing like being in public to sharpen the brain. Publishing your thinking in public is "instant open peer review" of the first water. It doesn't help if you don't care what people think, but ...
c. They're flexible. There are a lot of different ways to approach blogging -- groupwise, singular, diary, magazine, portfolio -- and so it can fit into pretty much any instructional goal that requires some form of writing.

Just a couple pesos worth from me ... keep this kind of critical thinking percolating! We need more of it.

7 February 2005 at 05:46  
Blogger aaron said...

Pete! Welcome. You are right that little has been discussed critically about the use of blogs in ESL/EFL. I think that's where all this is headed though - just trying to familiarize ourselves with the tools first, for I think it is difficult to have meaningful outcomes in critical discussions without first understanding what blogs, RSS, and aggregation are. See this thread:

I'm looking forward to your critical comments....nothing could be sweeter!

8 February 2005 at 03:05  
Blogger Graham said...

I like the line you're taking here Pete - I can see myself coming back here to read and comment frequently.

I agree wholeheartedly with Nathan about the permanence for the student - I think it is one great thing about blogs that gets lost if you rely solely upon lists like YG or even on courses using VLEs like Blackboard.

I took part in an e-moderating course which was highly stimulating and yet after the course the VLE was closed to me, and the email correspondence and online forum wasn't really of a form that I could make sense of

However, what I did do that was of great value to me, (and still is when I need to refer to it) was to keep a blog during the course. This way, I became a good student, and instead of dumping emails and copying and pasting forum posts into folders on my PC, I organised the resources in a way that was good for me as I did the course, selecting and highlighting and adding my own reflections to my learning. Perhaps it's just me, but I like the discipline of keeping a blog as a student, of recording things in a way that is meaningful to me.

The other thing is giving participants equal voices to post what they will. It's true that many other communities of practice that use email lists or forums have websites where they usually collect together articles of interest to readers, etc. But this is usually decided by one editor or webmaster - this is a bit like a teacher selecting and publishing what they want from students work onto a website. With a blog, you give students the freedom of choice, and so hopefully promote autonomy - the students themselves choose what they want to publish.

Keep up this critical thinking Pete - I'm certainly inspired to write because of it :)

9 February 2005 at 12:40  
Blogger Dennis said...

[I'm learning. I hope this is the right place.]


I read, with interest, your comments about blogging (Part 1) and noted particularly your remark:

"but I can't see any reason why a discussion forum could not be RSS enabled (in theory) although I have yet to come across one."

I know of several, unless I've misunderstood - to name 3 : BESIG, dogme and my own Germany-English - all YahooGroups discussion lists.


I wanted to post this comment to your blog, but clicking on 'Comments' got me nowhere. I clicked on 'email' and found it wasn't a line to you, but a
place where I could write to friends about your blog.......

[I now realise the problem was that I was not logged in to Blogger. ]

I'm a colossal fan of good discussion groups - and there are a number in the TEFL field, often associated with IATEFL SIGs - and I'm waiting to see
if there is any way in which blogs are somehow better.I can't help registering the irony that this comment was first written and posted to a discussion group because I couldn't find my way around the blog setup.
And another point.
I wrote the original version of this message, for Yahoogroups, offline. You can't write blog comments offline,can you? That could be a (financial) problem for many teachers around the world.

(And whereas, if this were a message to a Yahoogroup I could send copies to other interested individuals, not in the group, I can only do it on a blog by copying and pasting. Or is that not the case?



9 February 2005 at 13:15  

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