Using Blogging as a Teaching/Learning Tool in a Postgraduate Teacher Education Programme at The University of the West Indies (UWI): An Activity Systems Analysis

Cynthia James

Abstract


This paper analyses the impact of blogging on teaching/learning in the English Curriculum unit of a postgraduate teacher education programme that had traditionally been taught face-to-face. Since the 22 teachers of this unit met as a whole group only once a fortnight for most of the semester, blogging was used to introduce course content, to promote reflection and research, and to facilitate teacher interaction. Activity systems criteria such as use of tools, distribution of community learning, interplay of contradictions, and achievement of objectives were used to analyse comments posted to topics on the English Curriculum blog. Two post-blog questionnaires were also administered to gain feedback on interactivity and blog outcomes. Findings suggest that while blogging did promote course content dissemination, it promoted little self-generated research. Teacher interaction was highest on topics of current local concern, while reflection, critical thinking, and risk taking varied with lenght of teaching experience and individual teacher aptitude. Implications are that in transitioning to online learning in the Caribbean, teacher educators should pay attention to cultural issues and traditions of learning in Caribbean educational systems. With the rapid evolution of e-learning resources and ongoing research in mixing traditional and online technologies, a blended learning approach that accommodates a "flexible learning" philosophy might be best suited for the Caribbean as educators acclimatize to and indigenize technologies.

Keywords


Teacher Education; Postgraduate Study; Blogs; Online Teaching; Course Evaluation; School of Education, UWI, St. Augustine; Trinidad and Tobago

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