The title is a tad sensationalist, but that is Becta's conclusion (via Ewan McIntosh). Becta is a UK government agency spearheading the effective use of technology in education. Their research has shown that among students of secondary school age:
- Web 2.0 helps to encourage student engagement and increase participation – particularly among quieter pupils, who can use it to work collaboratively online, without the anxiety of having to raise questions in front of peers in class – or by enabling expression through less traditional media such as video.
- Teachers have reported that the use of social networking technology can encourage online discussion amongst students outside school.
- Web 2.0 can be available anytime, anywhere, which encourages some individuals to extend their learning through further investigation into topics that interest them.
- Pupils feel a sense of ownership and engagement when they publish their work online and this can encourage attention to detail and an overall improved quality of work. Some teachers reported using publication of work to encourage peer assessment.
Closer to home, Brad Blackstone has been using blogs in his ES2007S classes. I had the pleasure of meeting him and other educators at the Centre for English Language Communication yesterday. I was at CELC to give a brief overview of blogs and wikis as possibilities for eLearning Week (presentation embedded below).
Brad has come to similar conclusions about blogs, which he highlighted in a short paper: Blogs in English language teaching and learning: Pedagogical uses and student responses [pdf].