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Learning By Blogging

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European researchers have created software that links student blogs and other social software tools into a virtual collaborative learning environment. The three-year iCAMP (Intercultural learning campus) project wanted to close the gap between existing educational software tools – usually rigidly structured and teacher-controlled – and the free-wheeling, self-directed social software students use in their spare time, such as blogs, messaging, feeds and other social networking services.

"We found a mismatch between what younger people were using in their leisure time, software that is easy to use and control by themselves, compared to centralized systems that are controlled by the organization," says Barbara Kieslinger of the Centre for Social Innovation, Vienna, Austria, and iCAMP project coordinator. Kieslinger and her colleagues at more than a dozen universities across Europe believe that the tools and learning approaches iCAMP has pioneered have the potential to transform how institutions of higher education work. "It could change higher education completely," says "If it would really take off, it would lead to a democratization of these institutions."

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