Student Voices Are Waiting to Be Heard on Pebble Pad Blogs
Pebble Pad Blogs: Personalizing Academic Careers
Pebble Pad blogs are a free opportunity for students to collaborate with their peers and personalize their studies through the University of Leeds.
As a student at the university, free membership to Pebble Pad is provided: a learning platform with abundant resources to help students navigate their education online. In addition to activity logs, portfolios, video tutorials, and workbooks (such as the Leeds for Life workbook), Pebble Pad offers students the ability to create and explore blogs for free.
The blogs on Pebble Pad enable students to create chronological presentations of ideas and assets, as a reflective journal, an academic log, an observational notebook, or more under the “Get Creative” tab on Pebble Pad Home. The possibilities are endless, as the blog formatting tools allow more than just text.
Student creators can implement various media types into their blogs, such as images, graphs, embedded links, stylized texts, and more.
These blogs can be published as public spaces for peer interaction and dialogue, allowing others to comment or even add additional posts as guests–if the creator wants.
However, for creators writing their blogs with a personal, reflective, diary function, the creators can decide exactly who is able to see and interact with their postings. Outside viewers, commenters, and contributors can be blocked from a Pebble Pad blog if the user intends to keep their posts private. Thus, utilizing the site to compile their ideas or personal resources.
For those wanting to share their blogs with other students in a public format, whether within Pebble Pad or externally, the blogs can be an easy, free tool to encourage collaboration and academic growth with style.
Liping Deng and Allan H.K. Yuen of The University of Hong Kong conducted a study on the benefits of educational blogging and found that students could relieve emotional stress with blog creation and participation — especially for online learners.
“In a constructive learning environment, the authentic opportunity for learners to publish artifacts of learning is critical,” Deng and Yuen write. “Blogs afford these types of authentic opportunities by allowing students to publish their thoughts for real audiences.”
The pandemic has left many students struggling with feelings of isolation in online learning environments, with an inability to interact in ‘normal’ ways. Blogs, Deng and Yuen suggest, provide opportunities for students to express their feelings in unique ways. They share relatable content, help students seek peer support and enable socialization with the outside world and student communities.
Blogs provide access to a broader, in-depth method of communication through their fusion of academic and personal reflections: “Academic blogs bring a reflective or cognitive dimension to personal narratives,” Deng and Yuen write, “and introduce an emotional and social dimension to formal academic work that often accentuates cognitive or intellectual tasks.”
Any student at the University of Leeds can login to Pebble Pad and create their blogs with simple, guided steps and customizable options.
In a time of blended learning, Pebble Pad blogs are the ultimate space for students’ creative voices.