A blog or a weblog is a tool that can allow people to quickly publish text, artwork, video, links and other content on the internet. Blogs are also set up with the intention that the author(s) will make frequent posts. They are set-up just like regular websites, except they posted in reverse chronological order and can include comments from readers (Glencoe Online, 2006).
For a video overview on blogging, please view the following video.
Rationale for blogging:
Davies (2007) states that blogs are a new form of media literacy and as they have the potential to change how students learn and how educators teach. As more and more educational blogs are appearing on the net, it is important that educators appropriately teach students how to use and navigate through them. Many times educators make the mistake of thinking blogs as a place where students transfer their classroom writing into digital spaces. Instead they are unique spaces that can be used to foster new literacies. Teachers need to show their students how to write for a public audience, appropriately cite references and embed/like to external sites. In addition, students need to be taught on how to effectively use the comment tool to stimulate discussion and constructively reply to posts. Blogging can also give teachers an opportunity on how to efficiently and critically navigate through the multitude of digital spaces on the internet (Davies, 2007)
How do you do it?
Prior to starting a blog, you need to consider some issues. First of all, you will need to determine if your school or school district have any guidelines or acceptable use policies regarding the use of school computers, networks and the internet. Schools may have specific policies about displaying student work and it would be good to get parental permission prior to embarking on a blog project. There are also a number of security issues that you would need to consider prior to embarking on something like this. Please refer to the “Security” section of this blog.
The next step would be to determine what the blog will be used for. Will you be using it to post student reflections? Student artwork? Posting class notes? Depending on your blogging focus, you should determine which type of blogging platform works best for your needs. There are many different blogs to choose from and it would be best to test out the platform prior to incorporating it in your classroom. Some examples of blogging platform include Google blogger and WordPress (Glencoe Online, 2006).
Once you have selected the blogging platform:
- Sign up and provide the requested information
- Provide an appropriate Blog Title
- Accept the terms
- Select a blogging template
Benefits of blogging in the classroom:
Why should you blog in the classroom? Blogs can promote interactivity and collaboration in the classroom. The interactions not only improve between students but also between students and teacher. Another benefit is that as students are the authors of their blogs, they become the subject matter expert of the posting, which can give the student a sense of responsibility and ownership. Furthermore, the blogs can draw out the introverts and shy students who may not speak up in class, thereby giving the opportunity for a more diverse discussion to take place (Kelly, 2009).
In addition, in those situations where blogs are used to post a student’s written work, the student’s writing, reading and editing skills tend to improve. As blogs allows students to have their works shown publicly, they tend to work harder on their entries, ensuring that they will be seen in the best light (Wetzel, 2010).
The incorporation of blogs in the classroom, can also help to engage students. As many of the students today are already digital natives, they appreciate the opportunity to use technology in the classroom. In addition, as many of the students either have computers or are connected to the internet via their mobile devices, blogging is a different way for them to engage in the classroom (Magher, 2010).
For a case study that indicates some of the benefits of blogging, please see the video below.
COFAonlineUNSW. (2010). Using blogs for peer feedback and discussion. Retrieved from: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=T4HLGRzhWBs&feature=related
Davies, Anne. (2007). Rationale for blogging. Retrieved from: http://anne.teachesme.com/2007/01/17/rationale-for-educational-blogging/
eglodes. (2011) Using blogs in the classroom. Retrieved from: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=t0I1V5XaMsc
Glencoe Online. (2006). Education up close. Retrieved from: http://www.glencoe.com/sec/teachingtoday/educationupclose.phtml/47
Kelly, K. (2009). To blog or not to blog (in the classroom). Retrieved from: http://edublognology.wordpress.com/2009/03/31/to-blog-or-not-to-blog-in-the-classroom/
Magher, M. (2010). Tips for using blogs in the classroom. Retrieved from: http://www.onlinedegrees.org/tips-for-using-blogs-in-the-classroom/
Wetzel, D. R. (2010). 5 Benefits for Creating a Classroom Environment for Student Blogs. Retrieved from: http://david-r-wetzel.suite101.com/5-benefits-for-creating-a-classroom-environment-for-student-blogs-a285167