Basically, a blog is an interactive homepage managed by a writer that allows comments from the reader. In English Language Teaching (ELT) blogs are a useful web tool for teacher and students. By using it, students can improve vocabulary and writing skills. Since the work of a student will be published to a community in the Internet, blogs motivate students to be more aware of grammar mistakes. Blogs also allows the interaction between peers because the student's work can be read by classmates as well as by the teacher. It also encourages the sense of community, since all the participants can read and comment the posts.
One of the main characteristics of blogging is the frequency of post by the owner. Similar to a diary, blogs are updated regularly, therefore maintaining this rhythm in the post publications is one of the challenges of keeping a blog.
In English Language Teaching blogs are useful for both teachers and students. For example: teachers can create a blog for a specific course, updating information according to the class lessons. Also, students could create their own Blogs, posting articles as their assignment, developing their creativity and own research on the web. The use of blogs also engage students in collaborative activities, it facilitates sharing knowledge with peers, allows the interchange of information and enable classmates to give feedbacks and comments.
Another element of the use of blogs for educational purpose is that allows students to work by themselves, at any time, encouraging autonomous learning. This individual work is complemented with the classmate participation in the blogging community. This motivates students since they receive feedback from teachers along with students.
Aditionally, blogs encourages creativity because the user can upload pictures, music and even video, therefore they are a useful tool that allows the use of different sources of information to improve the learning process; for example, a Blogs which main purpose is English Language Teaching allows the teacher to post articles, music and videos, in consequence, in one page students could practice their reading skills (reading the article posted), listening comprehension (e.g. watching videos), and practice writing by posting comments. Therefore, using blogs integrates different skills in the learning process English as a Foreign Language.
According to “Blogs in English language teaching and learning: Pedagogical uses and student responses”, a research about the use of Blogs in an EFL course in a Japanese university, the use of blogs to improve students' writing skills showed that:
• Students stay working on their assignments for much more time than the class sessions, improving their learning process by themselves.
• Students' posts usually exceeded the amount of words requested by the teacher (in that case, at least 200 words), because students took in account that their text would be published in a public web space.
• The use of Blogs motivates students to be aware and be more careful with the structure, organization, spelling and correct use of grammar in their articles.
• Students felt motivated to read classmates' work, give comments and share information.
Consequently, the use of blogs encourages the individual work as well as promotes collaboration between classmates in the learning process. For all those reasons the use of blogs in English Learning Teaching in very convenient since allows students to practice and improve different skills studying at any time.
Blackstone, Spiri & Naganuma. "Blogs in English language teaching and learning: Pedagogical uses and student responses”: