Critical Review

O. Kitchakarn (2012). Using Blogs to Improve Students’ Summary Writing Abilities. Bangkok University Language Institute: Bangkok.

The advancement of internet and social media has increased rapidly from year to year. Blog as one of the social media has been popular and used by million internet users. As an open social media, blog gives a chance to other internet users to criticize the posting published by the bloggers (Xie, Ke, and Sharma, 2007). This kind of feedback is considered to be able enhancing the students’ motivation in improving their writing skill.

In every field of study, the students need to read some sources and make the summary. Some students face difficulties when they have to write summary for their assignment. In Kitchakarn’s paper, the difficulties can be both from the students themselves who are lack of writing skill and the teachers who do not have interesting method in stimulating the students to produce the summary. Using blogs is one of the ways which is believed to be effective to solve the problem.

The writer elaborates about how blogs can be used to improve students’ summary writing abilities by explaining some important aspects in blogs. There are three types of blogs which can be implemented in teaching writing: tutor blog, learner blog, and class blog. Every kind of blog has different contents and function. Somehow all of them will be useful for both teachers and students in reaching their writing goal.

Blog advantages in language learning are also mentioned by the writer. There are many advantages of blogs such as giving a chance for the students to write outside the classroom, the feedback which will be given by other students who visit the blog, the simplicity of blogs, and many others. Considering those advantages, the writer deems blogs as an effective tool for students in improving their writing. More than that, blogs even can encourage students to be more critical.

To prove that blog can be a good tool to improve students’ writing, the writer did a research by giving summary writing tests, questionnaire, and the posting of the students in blog which is posted via blogger.com blog platform. The writer decided certain textbook to be summarized and asked the students to form a group with different job description. The comments which are becoming feedback from the other students and the teacher have been a good stimulation for them to improve their writing. By using this method, the students also can work more cooperative each other.

The writer’s idea to use blogger.com as the primary blog platform is brilliant because this platform is one of the most blogger platform used by bloggers around the world. Somehow, the wide range of another blog platform such as wordpress, tumblr, blog.com and many others should be considered. Every blog platform has different tools which can help the student to do their writings. That’s why, the writer’s supposed to do survey to the students on which blog platform they’re going to use. In her paper, the writer mentions that there are two students who make a complaint for not having their own computer in the dormitory. This also can be a serious difficulty when other teachers from another area would like to use blogs as the tool to teach writing.

The need of internet access also definitely becomes a very big issue. The writer did the research in her environment where the internet connection is not a problem. This is the fact that not all area has good internet connection; even some doesn’t have at all. When it is available, sometimes the students will need more cost to afford it. Doing the writing can’t be versatile anymore due to the absence of internet access.

Wrapping it up into a conclusion, Kitchakarn’s paper is still very useful and helpful for teachers to improve their students in writing. It’s comprehensible why the writer considers blogs as effective tools to improve students’ ability in writing summary. The difficulty of gaining the computer as the main facility and the access to the internet to some students, somehow, remains as the issues which are dissolvable. Overall, using blogs to improve students’ summary writing is applicable with some requirements and conditions.

References:

Y. Xie, F. Ke, P. Sharma (2007). The effect of peer feedback for blogging on college students’ reflective learning processes. Journal of Internet and Higher Education 11 http://mrwattsclass.pbworks.com/f/Blogging+reflection.pdf. Retrieved August 31, 2013

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