The use of reflective journals in online learning will encourage an atmosphere of reflection and self-directed learning. The application I feel would be great in any classroom setting is the free blogging site; With the use of Live Journal, some of the benefits are:
  • that students will have much greater flexibility in gathering, documenting, updating and maintaining the evidence of their learning over time.
  • It is user friendly and has multiple functions. For example, with the use of Live Journal, one has the options to build their own creative work space, share memories and photos, invite specific groups of friends, or the instructor can even set up learning communities where only the students in the class are invited and their blogs can be shared together. Students have the responsibility for recording their thoughts about their own learning on a particular subject. This will provide an atmosphere for deeper learning, clarification and engagement. One can use these reflections over a period of time or for a specific event or assignment.
  • There are a variety of online tools one can use. Many of these take on the nature of a blog. These blogs can be completed individually or with some of them such as, and, collaborative work can be completed as well. Reflective journals encourage students to reflect critically on the process of learning and their development over time.
  • Live Journal also has a feature that allows you to search other blogs for shared interests or stories or even search for specific schools or classrooms. This would be a great idea if the class were to share an experience with another classroom across the country. Blogs could be created with pen-pals in mind for example.
  • With Live Journal there are also apps for hand-held devices such as smart phones. There is even a chat function.
  • Another feature is an interest feature where students could explore other topics and blogs on a specific topic.
  • The last feature I saw was a gaming feature. This could be a positive and negative. The positive side would be if games were part of the assessment

Some of the negative features are:
  • A downside is first that I only saw four games that are currently available and second what percentage of time would a student spend on the games in comparison to the assignment at hand.
  • Another negative is that there is a tab to allow for advertising on your blog pages so that is something the instructor will need to access based on the grade level they teach. But this function is only available to members that have opted for the premium level and pay a fee for their blog.
  • The last negative I saw is that my school has blocked due to the possibility for adult content on other blogs. So I am not so sure if this is an appropriate tool for younger students or even high schools.

Classroom Ideas: Use livejournal as an assessment tool for reflections. Providing feedback on reflective journals can be immediate via a post from the instructor. Live Journal makes it easy to do that. You can use livejournal for collaboration. It can also be used for creating limelines and writing critiques. Whatever choice is made, the assessment needs to be clear with objectives given, samples shown, and appropriate monitoring of the “social” aspect of the assignment. Some examples of how to use reflective journals or blogs would be through reflections on work-based learning or labs. If students have to respond to a reading assignment, blogs can be used as a discussion board where discussion questions of the day can be posted and students need to respond, or if there is an assignment requiring lab work students can use their blogs to record their impressions or hypothesis .

My learning objective is posted in my livejournal. See above.