Saturday, February 7, 2009

Blog,Blogs, Blogging, but Never Boring!

What's a Blog anyway?
A Blog is a type of web site, that anyone,regardless of age, expertise, computer skill can create in minutes! All you need is a keyboard and access to the Internet. No special program or programming skills,are required. Nothing to buy. Postings or entries are usually like a journal or diary and are posted in order of date. Blogs can be public for anyone to read on www or private if you want, but why hide all your great work? Having an authentic public audience for what you publish is one of the big advantages. Anything that in the past could be written or created, can be typed into a blog. Text along with photo's, drawings, audio, video and PowerPoint type of presentations and other great new types of visuals, like wordle and time capsules can easily be embedded. The main difference between a Blog and traditional web site is the ease of use and the ability to bring text to life by sending and receiving comments and feedback from others. Static text is transformed with conversation, connections, reflection and critical thinking. Blogs are exciting opportunities for original content and expression!

Why would you want to create a blog?
It's: Fast,fun,free,easy, paperless,its always available 24.7 worldwide, everywhere, anytime, any language, creative, content driven, meaningful, documents understanding, builds empathy, real life, expressive design, freedom, self directed, motivational, reflective, responsive, emotional, builds literacy, community and connections, it's constructive, concrete, lasting, builds a sense of control, pride in your work, inspirational, multimedia, and more......but never boring!

How can Blogs be used in education?
Blogs are another tool for teaching, much like textbooks, Internet and Power Point, in the sense they can be used by any age and any curriculum. They can be used by students, teachers, administrators or departments, anyone who wants to communicate.
Take a look at a few great classroom blogs:

What needs to be considered when working with blogs in the classroom?
1. Safety First
Will students use real or code names? first name only or full name.
some experts feel that being anonymous protects kids, while others feel that being authentic and honest and teaching discretion is best for building "Responsible Internet Citizenship" skills for students. Perhaps there should be different "rules" depending on age, grade and purpose of blog.
Here is a good example outlining student terms of use.

2. Digital Literacy
We need to help teachers and students understand:the lifelong nature of publishing, determining quality and validity of information. How to read, summarize, analyse and interpret mass information to determine reliability and usefulness. How to quote sources for a blog and give credit. Plagiarism and what Creative Commons is and how to use it. Appropriate group work and each member making contributions.

3. Access to Technology.
We need to have time available in labs or computers or netbooks in the classroom, with a projector to provide opportunities to coach students through set up Blog and create initial (or all) postings and work through effective commenting process: preview, editing and posting. Provide direction and class discussion on topics to discuss on blogs, as well as background research.

Looking for more information on blogging in classroom check out:

Get started with a blog:

I like Google's Blogger or Get your own EduBlog

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