New University Educational Model: Possibilities And Initiatives

University Educational Model: Possibilities And Initiatives

Abstract  Resum Abstract

The possible applications of blogs for learning in the case of higher education, based on their technological properties, are addressed. The characteristics and advantages of blogs as individual and collective learning tools are reviewed, taking as an example existing initiatives and case studies carried out in higher education, with special attention to its advantages and educational applications in the new technological environments.By their characteristics, in fact, they prove to be a useful and valid tool within the new European Higher Education Area (EHEA) Ideal in the design of competences oriented to Literacy in information in the framework of a constructivist pedagogy that advocates a more active role on the part of the student and more facilitator on the part of the teacher, incorporated to the education regulated by documentary services structured in The CRAI (Center for Resources for Learning and Research), as a central factor of the new educational model. In addition, because of their simplicity, cost and possibilities, blogs are presented as an alternative to take into account to overcome the digital divide in the adoption of new technologies for learning.Incorporated into regulated education through documentary services structured in the CRAI (Center for Resources for Learning and Research) as a central factor in the new educational model. In addition, because of their simplicity, cost and possibilities, blogs are presented as an alternative to take into account to overcome the digital divide in the adoption of new technologies for learning. Incorporated into regulated education through documentary services structured in the CRAI (Center for Resources for Learning and Research) as a central factor in the new educational model. In addition, because of their simplicity, cost and possibilities, blogs are presented as an alternative to take into account to overcome the digital divide in the adoption of new technologies for learning.

1. Introduction

In December 2004, the publisher of dictionaries and reference texts Merriam-Webster published, as every year, the list of the 10 most outstanding words of the year. The first place in the list of 2004 was occupied by ‘blog’, the word that defines online ‘journals’ built thanks to simple publishing tools, whose popularity and influence keeps growing.

At first, these logs were mostly personal journals, but have become in some cases the meeting point of people with the same interests, becoming a more collaborative tool. As collaborative tools, and even as tools for personal use, can they be used as an additional tool for learning? What would be its applications in the field of education, and in particular, in the field of higher education? The initial approach to the definition of the term blog and its nature, the technology on which they are based, as well as a brief review of its evolution and the exploration of its possible uses will allow us to lay the groundwork for detecting possible applications of blogs In the field of education and learning.

2 Concept and evolution of blogs

Wikipedia defines the term blog as “a periodically updated website that chronologically compiles texts and / or articles of one or more authors where the most recent appears first, with a particular use or theme, always keeping the author free to leave it published Which is relevant. Blogs are usually written in a personal and informal style. ” 1 According to this same source, the term blog was coined by Jorn Barger in December of 1997.

Originally, blogs were mostly HTML pages in which their authors wrote down, as if they were journal entries, the links of the websites they visited as well as their personal comments on those sites or topics of interest to them . The appearance of software and tools for creating and publishing blogs, for its simplicity and, until now in many cases, gratuitousness, triggered the growth of the blogosphere.

Today, the technology behind blogging is RSS, a sublanguage that emerges from the XML application. RSS initials stand for RDF Site Summary , Rich Site Summary or Really Simple Syndication ( the latter is the most widely used at present), and describe a language designed for distribution ( syndication English) news or information type news contained in sites Web.

There are different versions of the RSS language: versions 0.90 and 0.91 are the first and were developed by Netscape. Version 1.0 was developed by an independent group based on the RDF format. Version 2.0 (and earlier than this 0.9x versions) was the result of the adoption of Netscape technology by the company UserLand Software. All of them are based on the language originally defined by Netscape but not all are compatible with each other.

However, when we talk about content distribution and feeds, we must not forget that it can also be done with RDF (which is also known as version 1.0 of the RSS language) or with Atom (another sublanguage of XML) Corresponds neither is based on any version of RSS, it is a format very similar to this one and that mainly has the same objective: to allow the distribution of contents and news of websites. The improvements that it supposes with respect to RSS (in any of its versions) make that its use extends quickly in spite of being something more complicated. An Atom document can contain more information (and more complex) and is more consistent than an RSS document.

RSS files are commonly called RSS feeds or RSS feeds and contain a summary of what was published in the source blog, structured into one or more items. Each item consists of a title, a text summary and a link to the original source on the blog where the full text is found. They can also include additional information such as the name of the author or date and time of publication of the content. Therefore, any source of information that can be cut into items (such as blog entries) can be distributed using RSS.

To view an RSS feed it is necessary to use a reader program or feed aggregator , since RSS files are not interpreted by web browsers, since when they open they only show the XML code. Readers or feed aggregators can be of different types:

  • A web-based application (Blogines, Feedmania).
  • A local application (Radio UserLand, SharpReader).
  • A plug-in (Pluck).
  • A browser functionality (Firefox 1.0 from Mozilla, Opera, Internet Explorer, since 2006).

The aggregator allows us to view the contents of multiple blogs without having to visit them individually. The advantages of these applications is that the news reaches the user when it begins its program reader feeds RSS, which is a great deal of time and discomfort when you’re a regular reader of several sites. To be able to view all the channels that interest us from our aggregator, it is necessary to subscribe to the feed , for it is necessary to copy the URL of the channel and indicate it to our program, that will store it to be able to accede to it when it is necessary. 2

On the other hand we have to generate blogs. For this purpose there are different content management tools that allow us to easily publish blogs without needing to know much about technology, or HTML, style sheets or XML. Some of the most popular and used applications for creating personal blogs are Google Blogger or UserLand Software Radio UserLand.

UserLand Software ( http://www.userland.com ), one of the leaders in the development of RSS 2.0, has two products that integrate tools to distribute content and add feeds using RSS: Radio UserLand and Manila. While the former emerged as a response to individual need, the latter is more business-oriented since, in addition to the distribution and aggregation tools, it incorporates other tools that allow the application of RSS technology to project management, the creation of Discussion or forums, etc .; And can even be used to develop corporate portals, internal and external, in which the distribution of content in the form of news, announcements, etc.

Traction Software is another company that recently launched an application to create collaborative corporate blogs. From the blog of the work team you can collect information from external web sites, emails, Office documents and include them in a single knowledge repository. The information can be categorized, link content to each other, establish relationships, so that it can then be filtered by projects, categories, dates, importance …

As Rebecca Blood points out in her blog history, the emergence of these tools was the trigger for the blog boom: 3

The promise of the web was that everyone could publish, that a thousand voices could flourish, communicate, connect. The truth was that only those people who knew how to code the web page could make their voices heard. Blogger, Pitas, and all the rest have given people with little or no knowledge of HTML the ability to publish on the web: to pontificate, remember, dream, and argue in public, as easily as they send an instant message.

Once the blogger philosophy had penetrated the Internet, it was natural to reach other areas, including the educational.

3 Blogs and the educational model for the knowledge society

The natural evolution of blogs has been to go from simple personal journals in which the authors wrote down their thoughts and opinions on a topic of their interest, to collective spaces where several authors express opinions on the same subject or were used in different areas. The properties and constituent elements of blogs soon demonstrated a communicative effectiveness of contents in technological environments, which allowed them to acquire their own space on the Web. Indeed, it was soon apparent that they were a more structured instrument than distribution lists, but they also allowed for a more effective approach to a topic (the subject or subject, in other areas) than the discussion and discussion forums. Nor have they delayed distancing themselves from web pages, as a simple extension of them, Fundamentally because they manifest a greater and evident dynamism: their management and maintenance are simpler; Content publishing resembles by its ease to emails; Search engines easily detect the contents of blogs, increasing their visibility and impact; Their feedback system allows for interactivity with blog visitors , who can also subscribe to the blog and receive news through RSS aggregators , which are online or integrated in some browsers. By means of an aggregator of the standard RSS, previously exposed and whose advantages began to become patented in the end of 2004, the internaut can subscribe to an RSS channel , That blogs can automatically create and add them as syndication , so that each aggregated time-frame reviews the content on the web, associated for example in favorites, constantly providing an update on a topic of interest across the channel, 4 thus generating A cast of permanent links to posts (texts in the blog) with a link from other websites that ensures the sequence of navigation. Interactivity, moreover, has become one of the inherent properties of blogs, to the point of allowing a terminological distinction with respect to the blog, since the latter would have a more individual character, While blogs have a cooperative and collaborative vocation. 5

Blogs have become a massive phenomenon in the network, so they are accounted for by millions, generating their own space with interconnections between blogs and with a real hatching of portals, search engines or specific directories. It is the Blogosphere , 6 in which its main asset of value is the full primacy of the user , one of the most outstanding characters in the information society. The complete primacy of the user in blogs has as a logical effect its heterogeneous nature in content, in its selection and presentation, so that the semantic labeling of blogs is complicated. The generalist character of the categories systems for blogs by Bitácoras.net (art and culture; personal; Internet and technology; And blogdir.com (personal, news and opinion, art, music and culture, miscellany, links, technology) 7 demonstrate the versatility of content and its difficult thematic allocation, although it is not uncommon to find blogs that declare themselves with vocation Educational The label of “education” in blogs, however, does not refer to a dedication in the teaching-learning process, but rather act as a forum on activities and actions of professions and academic debates. Even though it is not uncommon to find blogs that are declared for educational purposes. The label of “education” in blogs, however, does not refer to a dedication in the teaching-learning process, but rather act as a forum on activities and actions of professions and academic debates. Even though it is not uncommon to find blogs that are declared for educational purposes. The label of “education” in blogs, however, does not refer to a dedication in the teaching-learning process, but rather act as a forum on activities and actions of professions and academic debates.

This educational “indefinition”, however, does not prevent rapid detection of the didactic potential of blogs, especially in literacy. A perfect reading-literacy competence, in the most traditional version of literacy, has stood out as an essential pivot in the correct educational and professional development of the individual, although this competence now demands a technological dimension. 8 Blogs were presented as a suitable instrument for technological literacy, since they do not require sophisticated computer skills. Blogs are very affordable for writing, when editing text, and allow you to comprehensively read texts and related documents through links and syndications, As well as for demonstrating itself as a very suitable space for “storytelling”, a proficiency of literary-writing competence of fiction extremely important in the literacy process. 9 The double dimension of blog use, personal and collaborative, by its author, adapts very well to the requirement of a horizontal and cooperative learning, as the network, but at the same time perfectly adapted to the pace and interests of each pupil.

It was not long before the possibility of implementing, through blogs, an instructive design. Several characters support this instructive potential of blogs: accuracy , as posts require concise writing to ensure a comprehensive quick reading; The structuring of the discourse , because the blog allows a diachronic ordination of the texts; the interactivity , as the blog can act as a simple digital platform for an ephemeral virtual community among fellow students on specific topics; His multimedia semiotics, empowering for reading and writing iconic and virtual; The immediacy in communication, thus allowing asynchronous interactivity, A way of developing the extended classroom ; The curricular adaptation , because the blog overcomes the spatial and temporal limitations of the classroom, sustaining an individualized learning pace. 10

The blogs, therefore, have acquired a potential educational impact as another plausible instrument to put together an appropriate educational model for the knowledge society, which must be able to attend to three well-defined types of learning: associative learning , whose pivot is the Motivation, because it is done in community around an interest; the significant learning in individual choice of the learner, able to program, evaluate and diagnose their own cognitive needs and achievement of objectives; the dialogic learning , which should ensure competition in the smart navigation, Insofar as it considers that meanings depend on human interactions and knowledge comes from the interactive construction of meanings. In this context, the notion of a new compendium of literacy or multiple literacy for a continuous literacy throughout life, which would integrate: technological or digital literacy related to the ability to search, find, organize, Categorizing and organizing information through the use of ICTs and access to and optimal use of the Internet; the organizational literacy , and ability to understand the dynamics of social and professional groups; The media literacy , With respect to the ability to understand the presentation of ideas and information by “means”; Visual literacy , which empowers the understanding of images and enables a new development of intelligence through memory, through the quantitative and qualitative development of perception; the cultural literacy , as understanding of shared and unshared symbols, which give an individual and collective identity.

The evident educational dimension of the blog has meant that, very soon, blogs with a diffusely educational vocation were decidedly oriented towards the teaching-learning process, a process that began in the Anglo-Saxon area in 2001 and that received a definite impulse in 2003 with D. Winer, of Harvard University, and who demonstrated their strength in the occasion of the international competition, in 2004, Edublog Awards . 11 The concept of edublog, whose real educational impact is not found in the inoculation of a new tool to the classroom, makes sense for itself as an expert domain of a technological environment, but in its transformation into An educational “competence” instrument, that is, A platform whose vehicle elements are the contents and capacities of the student. Indeed, the authentic educational function of blogs must be related to the unavoidable objective in the educational model for the knowledge society, which is oriented in the formative development of the learner in the competences , as an essential element for learning throughout Life .

The competences , therefore , have become a didactic objective of first magnitude in the definition of the new educational model, reason why they have needed a necessary contextualization and a conceptual refinement to adapt them to its educational function, so that different Lévy-Leboyer in 2003: “a set of behaviors organized within a mental structure, also organized and relatively stable and mobilizable when necessary”. 12 The relevance that competences must have in continuing education for individuals in the information society, Has also made the DeSeCo project (Definition and Selection of Competencies) in the OECD framework approved by the OECD at the end of 1997, the report of which has been published in 2003. The DeSeCo project has identified competences in three dimensions, namely Interaction in socially heterogeneous groups, the exercise of autonomous behaviors and the ability to use tools interactively. 13 . The European Union attached itself to this competence movement through the Tunning Educational Structures in Europe Project in 2003, which aimed to consider university degrees in terms of learning outcomes and competences, both generic (instrumental, interpersonal and systematic) and specific Of each thematic area,

From this point of view, the paradigm in the educational model is transformed by the impulse of the new formative factors: the didactic strategies of learning will have as object the learning process of the educator, absolutely involved and protagonist in its formative process, 14 whereas didactic strategies Of teaching will be oriented to the resolution of practical cases through the learning based on the resolution of problems, seeking the assumption by the learner of skills, skills and competences, in a growing cognitive order. The school model will be directed towards the extended classroom , a virtual space of digital communities, Organized on the interactivity of teaching materials and telematic communication in real time with the teacher and classmates. Students should be competent in the creation of interactive, virtual, granular and reusable digital learning documents ( learning objects ), in connection with and complement with teachers, who will also have to prepare their teaching materials in electronic format and make them available to Students through different virtual educational platforms. 15 The verification of these factors in the new educational model reveals the role, so relevant and entropic, that blogs can have in the educational process, for the properties we have been showing in them. Students should be competent in the creation of interactive, virtual, granular and reusable digital learning documents ( learning objects ), in connection with and complement with teachers, who will also have to prepare their teaching materials in electronic format and make them available to Students through different virtual educational platforms. 15 The verification of these factors in the new educational model reveals the role, so relevant and entropic, that blogs can have in the educational process, for the properties we have been showing in them. Students should be competent in the creation of interactive, virtual, granular and reusable digital learning documents ( learning objects ), in connection with and complement with teachers, who will also have to prepare their teaching materials in electronic format and make them available to Students through different virtual educational platforms. 15 The verification of these factors in the new educational model reveals the role, so relevant and entropic, that blogs can have in the educational process, for the properties we have been showing in them. In connection with and complement with teachers, who will also have to prepare their teaching materials in electronic format and make them available to students through different virtual educational platforms. 15 The verification of these factors in the new educational model reveals the role, so relevant and entropic, that blogs can have in the educational process, for the properties we have been showing in them. In connection with and complement with teachers, who will also have to prepare their teaching materials in electronic format and make them available to students through different virtual educational platforms. 15 The verification of these factors in the new educational model reveals the role, so relevant and entropic, that blogs can have in the educational process, for the properties we have been showing in them.

The educational functionality of blogs in the new paradigm of educational model has, moreover, transcended the conceptual framework from the moment the need for an educational model for the knowledge society became a priority and then a project Normative framework for the European Union, is true in principle in the field of higher education. The Bologna Declaration of 1999 designed the European Higher Education Area (EHEA), which underwent regulatory and regulatory development, through meetings and conventions between 2001 and 2005, in order to harmonize a convergent process of educational models by the Countries of the Union. This supranational effort must have had its normative correlation at the national level,

One of the most significant elements of the educational model is the distribution of effort by the student to obtain an ECTS credit, in three thirds: one for the monitoring of theoretical and practical classes; Another one for tutorials, execution of practices and editing of works outside the classroom; A third, to carry out work, studies, preparation of exams. The educational model rests not only on the assimilation of knowledge , but on the assumption of skills and skills set in the training objectives of the degree. Moreover, training in extended classrooms promotes the transversality of knowledge with special emphasis on skills ,

The educational model defined in the EHEA certainly offers a wide field of educational applications for blogs for their effective didactic contributions, both in a face-to-face and virtual education system. There is no doubt that the most tangible didactic advantages of blogs are in their gratuitousness, their wide accessibility, the system of categorization and chronological sequencing, as well as a sufficiently durable linkage syndication and an interactivity, in which the notion of content authorship Not lost. The versatility of these advantages in blogs can give them in educational contexts a character, either a personal web page easier to manage and maintain, or an electronic portfolio , 17 for students (with the archives of their works, (For your exhibitions, illustrations, case studies, practices, exams, didactics). 18Blogs, on the other hand, are a good platform to support e-learning courses , although as a complementary element to specific digital platforms, especially in tasks such as publication of papers, discussion forum from successive topics, calendar for The phases of learning in the educational process, even as a way of visualizing diachronic progress of the student, communication channel and tutoring between teacher and students. In the area of ​​higher education, in addition, blogs can be a sufficient tool for teacher research,

The impact of the didactic applications of blogs is quite immediate. The teacher can develop an active didactic methodology with quality, as the student obtains knowledge through collaborative and interactive learning, as well as new ways of learning can be integrated through a competitive learning in digital literacy, as an initial link for the Obtaining competence in information literacy . The student can acquire the first rudiments of the scientific method, as well as exercise in lifelong learning, through the affordable update of news, resources and documents that allow blogs. A didactic methodology of curricular adaptation can be developed with solidity , To be able to attend the teacher to different dynamics and learning rhythms, as well as to different stimuli and learning interests, even at different levels of literacy, traditional or digital competence. The chronological sequencing of blogs allows an adequate follow-up of the degree of compliance in the schedule contemplated in the didactic programming of the subject. The blogs, of course, offer instilled in the students the principles of research and professional deontology, through a reflection from the experience of blogs on the notion of content authorship, content quality, information cooperation or cooperation, the excellence of Constant work and team projects. As well as different stimuli and learning interests, even at different levels of literacy, traditional or digital competence. The chronological sequencing of blogs allows an adequate follow-up of the degree of compliance in the schedule contemplated in the didactic programming of the subject. The blogs, of course, offer instilled in the students the principles of research and professional deontology, through a reflection from the experience of blogs on the notion of content authorship, content quality, information cooperation or cooperation, the excellence of Constant work and team projects. As well as different stimuli and learning interests, even at different levels of literacy, traditional or digital competence. The chronological sequencing of blogs allows an adequate follow-up of the degree of compliance in the schedule contemplated in the didactic programming of the subject. The blogs, of course, offer instilled in the students the principles of research and professional deontology, through a reflection from the experience of blogs on the notion of content authorship, content quality, information cooperation or cooperation, the excellence of Constant work and team projects. The chronological sequencing of blogs allows an adequate follow-up of the degree of compliance in the schedule contemplated in the didactic programming of the subject. The blogs, of course, offer instilled in the students the principles of research and professional deontology, through a reflection from the experience of blogs on the notion of content authorship, content quality, information cooperation or cooperation, the excellence of Constant work and team projects. The chronological sequencing of blogs allows an adequate follow-up of the degree of compliance in the schedule contemplated in the didactic programming of the subject. The blogs, of course, offer instilled in the students the principles of research and professional deontology, through a reflection from the experience of blogs on the notion of content authorship, content quality, information cooperation or cooperation, the excellence of Constant work and team projects.

The first concrete applications of blogs to teaching practice have demonstrated that their greater effectiveness derives from their conversion into a collaborative learning tool, looking for e-learning- based education systems , as well as those other virtual or face-to-face models with a growing Telematic dimension, of a socializing character and close to belonging to an “extended classroom”, which previously lacked. Blogs support a virtual learning community in which each student clearly identifies the degree of response, interest and cooperation that his blog arouses in the community, provoking a notorious effort of commitment and collaboration with his classmates and the teacher, while “Guide” debates and topics in the community. The students,

Scott Leslie 19 published in his blog EdTechPost in October 2003 a matrix that reflects in a very graphical and understandable way some of the possible uses of blogs in education. Figure 1 shows this matrix, built around an X axis where the agents are: students and teachers, and a Y axis where we find the actions: writing and reading blogs; The X axis extends from the most personal and individual (center of the matrix) to the most collective (the rest of Internet users, beyond the concrete space of the class and the educational field). Thus, both students and teachers write blogs for themselves in order to accumulate their own personal knowledge base; For the other (teacher versus students) in order to assign the tasks (the teacher) or send the exercises performed (the student); For a group (other students / other teachers) as collaborative tools and group work, such as repositories of learning objects that can be shared by various teachers, etc .; And even for the rest of the blogosphere to share their knowledge, to publish their reflections, their knowledge, as another means of academic publication.

Figure 1. Matrix of S. Leslie on some uses of weblogs in education

Figure 1. Matrix of S. Leslie on some uses of weblogs in education

At the same time, this constructivist pedagogy is favored and strengthened by the use of tools such as blogs. Proof of this can be found in the iCamp project – innovative, inclusive, interactive & intercultural learning Campus – which the EU, under the 6th Framework Program for Research and Technological Development, has just launched (in October 2005) and Is the application of Web 2.0 technologies, tools and services in the educational environment.

As described by Antonio Fumero, the mission of iCamp is ” to become THE Educational Web for Higher Education in an extended Europe (EU25 +)” and therefore “it is based on a technology platform – iCamp Space – defined as a virtual environment Open system consisting of a network of educational tools, platforms and repositories “. 20 Blogging is one of the components of this virtual environment: “iBlogs The heart of the iCamp platform must support the social interaction of students and teachers, as well as providing open and accessible collaboration tools, blogs and wikis Are two of the elements considered “. twenty-one

That is why it is very necessary, as stated by Tíscar Lara “the support of educational institutions to promote research in new didactics that favor learning with and on blogs as a way of approaching the needs of the society of the future.” 22 What the author does not point out is the importance of this support for research being carried out in all fields of formal education and not only, as it seems to be happening so far, in the field of higher education. If, as mentioned before, blogs favor the development of skills and abilities necessary for lifelong learning, and if they are to be a tool of widespread use in higher education, Why not start as soon as possible to familiarize students with their use and take advantage of the advantages they offer us? Do not students need to develop skills such as speech organization, identity building, commitment to the audience, collaboration, etc. in secondary education?

The inoculation of blogs in regulated teaching is greatly favored by the excellent receptivity of the students, as evidenced by the statistical study carried out by S. Blanco. 23 The survey stopped, in the first moment, in the perception of the blogs by the students and it yielded so significant data that for a 74% the blogs imply a means to be able to express itself freely, for 42% it is a space for the Own creation, for a 38% a platform from which to share knowledge and, finally, for 36% a way with which to deepen knowledge. It is clear that the student attitude is very positive for the didactic incorporation of this instrument. When Professor Blanco stopped her statistical study in the evaluation of the blog of her subject as an educational tool, the data showed to be extremely significant: on the one hand, 48% acknowledged having significantly deepened their knowledge of the subject and 40% their understanding; On the other hand, 46% said they had improved their thinking skills and 44% had their writing skills.

The evidence of the educational applications of blogs, as well as the success of the first didactic experiences in higher education, raises the hypothesis of its systematic use within a Teaching Innovation Plan in the universities, within the regulated teaching, a hypothesis that It would require a space that would support its edition, management, its collaborative dimension and support the quality and diversity of its educational content. Obviously, there are other tools very suitable for the functions that blogs can develop, but there are solid arguments that advise their incorporation into university teaching practice: the initiative, in the new educational model, must correspond to the student, absolutely involved and protagonist in Their learning process, So the blog must be transformed into its “representation” within the “extended classroom”; The syndication of content in blogs would undoubtedly be optimized, if it could be related to a filtered and authenticated digital repository, in the quality of its contents, within the educational system programmed by the corresponding university; It would undoubtedly be very convenient to have articles or documents, annotated and illustrated, structured in a collection, within a digital repository, so that it could provide a meaningful basis for a meaningful debate at the service of a virtual learning community through Blogs; The chronological potential of blogs would provide an extraordinary opportunity for an effective service of alerts and updates on certain topics of research, Previously established by the virtual community, learners or educators; Finally, blogs would make sense of a service of editing and dissemination of results in a process of learning by units of knowledge (and their evaluation), as well as editing and disseminating findings in research projects or joint documents of a virtual community . There is no doubt that the meaning of these services, necessary in the new educational model, is inevitably oriented towards a university library whose characteristics, functions and inoculation in the university vary. We are faced with yet another impulse in the need for the transformation of the university library into CRAI (Resource Center for Learning and Research). Finally, blogs would make sense of a service of editing and dissemination of results in a process of learning by units of knowledge (and their evaluation), as well as editing and disseminating findings in research projects or joint documents of a virtual community . There is no doubt that the meaning of these services, necessary in the new educational model, is inevitably oriented towards a university library whose characteristics, functions and inoculation in the university vary. We are faced with yet another impulse in the need for the transformation of the university library into CRAI (Resource Center for Learning and Research). Finally, blogs would make sense of a service of editing and dissemination of results in a process of learning by units of knowledge (and their evaluation), as well as editing and disseminating findings in research projects or joint documents of a virtual community . There is no doubt that the meaning of these services, necessary in the new educational model, is inevitably oriented towards a university library whose characteristics, functions and inoculation in the university vary. We are faced with yet another impulse in the need for the transformation of the university library into CRAI (Resource Center for Learning and Research). As well as editing and disseminating findings in research projects or joint documents of a virtual community. There is no doubt that the meaning of these services, necessary in the new educational model, is inevitably oriented towards a university library whose characteristics, functions and inoculation in the university vary. We are faced with yet another impulse in the need for the transformation of the university library into CRAI (Resource Center for Learning and Research). As well as editing and disseminating findings in research projects or joint documents of a virtual community. There is no doubt that the meaning of these services, necessary in the new educational model, is inevitably oriented towards a university library whose characteristics, functions and inoculation in the university vary. We are faced with yet another impulse in the need for the transformation of the university library into CRAI (Resource Center for Learning and Research). Functions and inoculation in the university vary. We are faced with yet another impulse in the need for the transformation of the university library into CRAI (Resource Center for Learning and Research). Functions and inoculation in the university vary. We are faced with yet another impulse in the need for the transformation of the university library into CRAI (Resource Center for Learning and Research).

The CRAI are being configured with the obvious vocation of being a central and nodal service in the educational model for higher education, different from the complementary educational function that the university library. Whereas hybrid libraries must offer integrated information services to their users, enabling physical and virtual access, and disseminating information in both traditional and electronic forms, 24 in such a way as to constitute an essential platform of the new information system. Learning based learning. They are the appropriate institutions to advise and lead the projects of construction of web spaces and tools of communication between teacher / student based on the new technologies. Further, Taking into account the new curricula, should offer an adequate selection of information resources so that students can develop their own work and agenda, and guide and make available to teachers the necessary infrastructure for the generation of teaching materials. 25

One of the defining elements of a CRAI is that, as a resource center, it must provide traditional library services together with a production center so that teachers and students can develop their didactic and research materials in electronic format, that is , A space where autonomous learning can be exercised. 26 REBIUN, as a professional association of university libraries, has long initiated a program of reflection and research, whose purpose is to generate a transformation model appropriate to the new role of the information units in the educational model, an effort that they have Result of concrete research projects and a policy of publications, which have been defined some of the objectives of the CRAI:

  • It provides students with a global learning environment, through the interaction of different didactic materials and personal and technological communication, allowing teachers and students to work on a continuous basis.
  • It allows the university community access to all services and units that are related to the learning process, providing them with all the information they need both paper and electronic.
  • It works as a singular and unique equipment, designed to stimulate the continuous learning, the competences and the sociability of the university community.
  • It welcomes, as central space of the campus, as much curricular activities as extracurricular, cultural and leisure activities.

So far we have seen the applications of blogs in regulated education, the advantages of applying this technology in classes, but there are also authors who have studied the uses and advantages of blogs from a more general point of view, increasing their scope out of The classrooms, from the point of view of personal learning.

Efimova and Fiedler have studied how blogs help in personal learning; These authors have detected the existence of a new collective of workers that they call knowledge ( knowledge workers , as already coined P. Drucker in 1959, Landmarks of Tomorrow ) that needs dynamic learning environments such as those that favor blogs. Efimova and Fiedler conducted numerous personal critical incident interviews from which they concluded that more and more people were using blogs to support their learning outside formal education systems:

Although only a few systematic collections of observational data are available today, there appear to be some strong indicators that a growing number of people make use of personal webpublishing and blogs to successfully support their own learning outside any institutionally organized system of instruction. These people exhibit remarkable skills for the initiation and maintenance of meaningful learning projects. They construct their personal learning domains on the fly while they are listening, observing, and sometimes contacting others who publish visible traces of their meaning making activities on the Web. These published and continuously updated collections of artifacts form a constantly changing, largely de-centralized ecosystem for self-organized learning and social networking. 28

Because of its characteristics, flexibility, dynamism, distributed and collaborative learning, blogs become a very useful tool in the Knowledge Society, where continuous learning is necessary, throughout life. Those individuals who are able to develop the skills necessary for this type of learning, discover and adopt new tools and methods such as blogs to create and enrich day to day personal knowledge base and develop those skills, and what is more important , To share it with others that will help them to enrich it even more, will be prepared to face the challenges of their work and their life.

4 Some experiences in higher education

If we take a look at the existing literature we can find some articles that describe concrete experiences of creation and use of blogs carried out in higher education and which illustrate through real examples some of the aspects exposed so far. Here are some of those experiences that reflect the advantages of using class logs, for teachers and students, problems encountered, knowledge and skills obtained, etc.

One of the first experiences carried out at the Spanish university was that of teachers Orihuela and Santos at the University of Navarra during the course 2003/04, in the subject of Audiovisual Design. 29 For these authors, there are three advantages of blogging compared to conventional web pages: the simplicity of management that makes the learning of its use faster, the existence of templates and content management tools that makes the students not Have to worry about the design and programming and can focus on the content, and finally the added value provided by features such as trackbacks , comments, search engine, etc.

The goal of Orihuela and Santos was that “students, through the publication of content in the blog, can experience the specific characteristics of communication through digital and interactive media.” Blogs were used as a means of communication between teachers and students, to publish the exercises, and as a practical exercise in itself that allowed students to learn how to manage a digital content publishing tool and to experience the characteristics of interactive communication that This tool makes it possible.

In this case, we can see how blogs can become a very useful tool for the management of knowledge within an educational community, as well as for digital literacy, especially indispensable in disciplines such as the specific case of the Orihuela and Santos experience, which Demand the “mastery of the culture of the Network and its interactive and hypertextual languages”.

But we should not limit its use and suitability in specific disciplines, related to communication, audiovisual design or ICT, since blogs are appropriate for any discipline. As explained in the previous section, the new European Higher Education Framework and ECT credits will require learners to develop new skills and abilities that will enable them to gain competence in digital literacy and information literacy, but also Collaboration, group work and participation in the educational community. This new educational model requires the student to play a much more active role, so that the motivation of learners will be key. An example of how collaboration, group work and motivation can be favored with the use of class blogs, It is the experience narrated by Merelo Guervos and Tricas. 30 These authors describe in their article one of the problems in higher education such as lack of motivation, involvement and collaboration on the part of the students, and thought of blogs as a tool to get the students involved.

The examples cited are only two experiences, perhaps the first in the Spanish university, but we are sure that soon we will find many more examples, if we continue in our country with the evolution in the use of blogs, wikis , social software tools and the ICTs in general that is being experimented in other countries, especially the Anglo-Saxon. Some examples of blog use in higher education in these countries can serve as a reference for the development of similar projects in our country.

One of the most famous blogging experiences cited by authors interested in the subject is the one developed at the Harvard Law School, perhaps because it is one of the first and most ambitious. This pioneering initiative came after a conference that took place at the Berkman Center in November 2002 entitled “What is Harvard’s digital identity?” In which Provost Steven Hyman challenged academics and administrators to use the power of the Internet to build intellectual bridges that would facilitate the flow of information, ideas, and knowledge across Harvard University’s schools, colleges and faculties. At present the Berkman Center has a dedicated server exclusively and exclusively to the lodging of blogs, Provides the software and the necessary assistance for the creation, publication of blogs as well as for the accomplishment of statistics. Any member of the Harvard educational community who has an email address can create and maintain a blog for free.

Following the Harvard project, other experiences emerged, such as that described by Jeremy Williams and Joanne Jacobs, with their ‘MBA blog’ at the Brisbane Business School at Queensland University of Technology. 31 These authors argue for the need for new tools and technologies that, like blogs, allow students to be more autonomous, require greater participation and allow greater interaction with other students and teachers within the university community. Blogs are a very useful tool for e-learning :

In short, blogs have the potential, at least, to be a truly transformational technology in that they provide students with a high level of autonomy while providing opportunities for greater interaction with peers. A blogging tool would be a valuable addition, therefore, to any LMS.

We have also found it interesting to highlight the experience of Jill Walker, carried out during the 2004 course with her students of Computer Science at the University of Bergen in Norway, while reflecting on aspects that had not been given much attention in Previous experiences, more focused on the development of competences such as digital literacy or information literacy, but which we consider to be key, such as the principles of research and professional deontology. Walker’s goal in putting the experience of having his students to write a blog was to connect his students with real life, what would happen if he connected the daily work of a university student with the outside (Internet) ?:

We need to work out how we can teach writing in a distributed, collaborative environment, because this is the environment for students are going to live in. Network literacy means linking to what other people have written and inviting comments form others, it means understanding the kind of writing that is a social, collaborative process rather than an act of an individual in solitary. It means learning how to write with an awareness that anyone can read it. 32

Through the use of blogs, students had learned to learn, had discovered a tool to think, not only about what they were learning, but also about aspects such as authorship, audience, collaboration with other authors.

With these examples of real cases we wanted to illustrate the appropriateness of blogs as an educational tool as we have defended in the previous section, reviewing through five concrete experiences.

5 Conclusions and issues for future research

  • Today we can say that blogs have been deeply embedded in almost all areas of our society, as well as in education, so from formal education should not be overlooked the existence of these tools to support educational processes.
  • Blogs are not the only tool or the only method to learn to learn, to investigate, to write … maybe not for all students, but it is a valid method and teachers should bring their students to the more tools Better, so that they can choose the ones that best help them to learn throughout their life, once they have left school or university.
  • Blogs are a simple and inexpensive tool, accessible to almost anyone. There is no need for many computer or programming skills to publish digital content in a blog and there are many free or low-cost publishers that make it possible for communities with fewer resources to use them, making it easier to overcome the digital divide In the adoption of new technologies for learning and e-learning .
  • The use of blogs in education requires the framework of a constructivist pedagogy that is favored and supported by the use of blogs. In the case of higher education, this pedagogical framework is guaranteed by the European Higher Education Area (EHEA), since it promotes the use of methodologies that play an active role on the part of the student and a facilitating role on the part of the teacher.
  • Blogs can help develop the instrumental, interpersonal and systemic competencies promoted by the new EHEA and are necessary for personal development and development in the new Knowledge Society.
  • The systematic and structured incorporation of blogs into a regulated higher education must be carried out in an appropriate educational space, in order to optimize its impact. This space, by its characteristics, is without a doubt the opportunity offered by the transformation of the university library into CRAI.
  • But we should not only limit the use of blogs to the field of formal education. Its dynamism, flexibility, characteristics and performance help to develop a series of competences necessary for lifelong learning.

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