Embedded Edubloggers – Reflections on Experiences
This is a type of edublogging I personally do not derive great satisfaction from. However, I recognize that the main group of student bloggers require some form of external audience to provide support to them. AS such, embedded edublogging has been the reason for many to claim the blog to be an inadequate type of tool to promote interaction.
I think that when critics level the comment that blogging is dead, and that edublogs are ineffective, the embedded edublog is what they are referring to.
Embedded edublogging serves the need for interaction between individuals in a social setting. Such learners blog to get noticed, to receive comments and feedback from others. In a mixed group, however, where some of the student bloggers prefer to interact with their instructor primarily, or other students who act autonomously and do not blog to necessarily gain others’ feedback, or for those students who prefer to never interact within the group at all, the reality turns out to be far from an embedded learning setting – more like a free-for-all, where some blog reluctantly, others blog in a carefree manner, and still others blog to seek attention and feedback from others, and are irritated by the lack of response.
The ideal for this type of interaction (rarely realized if not adequately planned for) is to encourage a group of learners to engage in social discourse, and exchange ideas about personal experiences. In theory, the idea of embedded blogging in an educational context makes perfect sense. Yet in practice it is rarely actualized.
There are some cases, however, often when the instructor is quite charismatic, and the group members already know one another face-to-face. The embedded edublogging enhances and extends F2F interaction, deepens it.
In some cases, embedded edublogging forge friendships, but this is true as often for autonomous edubloggers, and even for private edubloggers who gradually open up enough to trusted others to invite them into their space as observers.
For me, the insistence of educators on using edublogs for such social interaction with inexperienced, reluctant bloggers is an exercise in frustration. It is a hit/miss proposition. Expecting all students to blog the same number of posts to the whole group without identifying the learners’ preferences is a recipe for disappointment.
I recogize the need for encouraging this type of interaction, but I think it needs to be preceded by preparatory steps to nurture learners first.