Technorati, a blog search engine was tracking 112,800,000 blogs as of June 2008. There is no doubt that this number has grown tremendously since that time.
The blogosphere, as the collective community of blogs is termed, contains a wealth of information. You can find a blog that caters to just about any niche.
Here are two examples of just that concept. I found a cooking blog- one of MANY. I even found a blog about insects. Let’s have a suggestion for a blog on a specific topic and see if it exists.
Although it is amusing to observe the eccentric blogs that can be found on the internet, the focus of tonight’s presentation will be to provide you with a brief overview of weblogs or “blogs,” to suggest possible ways to implement blogs in an educational setting, and finally to provide you with basic steps to create a blog of your own.
Before we really get started, let’s take a moment to read what a “blog” is.
Blogging essentially began with the inception of the internet, which was created by the scientist at CERN, a nuclear research facility in Europe, in the early 90’s. One of the earliest “bloggers,” as the online diarists would come to be known was Justin Hall. As a student at Swarthmore in 1994, he began his online journal Justin’s Links from the Underground. A few years later, Jorn Barger coined the term weblog, which was shortened to “blog” a year later by Peter Merholz. Hosted blog tools such as Open Diary, LiveJournal, and Blogger are what took personal blogging to the next level to permeate the globe.
Educational blogs have also been a part of the blogosphere for awhile. The web hosted tools have become so easy to use that educators have started to travel towards using blogs for a variety of reasons in their classrooms and professional lives. Some of the web hosted tools that I discovered as I researched this project were kidblog.org, and weebly.com. Educational resource blogs (which are extremely plentiful) that I found to be particularly good were blog.discoveryeducation.com, edubloggerworld.ning.com, and eduationaltechnologyblow.com.
As I had mentioned, the blog web-hosting tools are becoming so user friendly that teachers are utilizing blogs in their classrooms for different purposes. What are some reasons/ways that you have used blogs in your classroom, or a way you could foresee using a blog.
First, blogs are being used to replace a course management tool. Teachers are able to post classroom schedules, assignments, rules, etc. The format of blogs as a sequential list of postings makes it easier for students to check on their assignments.
Another purpose blogs serve in education is to compile a list of student- friendly links that they may access to learn more about the content. The links also foster a positive learning environment for the course content; they model the teacher’s enthusiasm for the subject. The links support the immersion stage in Brian Cambourne’s conditions of learning.
Blogs can also serve as a means to organize in-class discussions. On Stephen Downes edublog, www.educause.edu , he examines the school, Insitut St. Joseph in Quebec City, which requires blogging as a means of communication in one particular class. A teacher from that school describes….(show slide)
The fourth purpose of blogs in education that Downes offers is to collaborate. Students can all contribute to a summary of a reading to enhance their ability to communicate their ideas with one another.
The final purpose for blogs in the classroom that I will present is that they can be used as a final grade. Students can maintain a blog throughout the course to reflect and summarize information, which could be used as a very authentic summative assessment.
As with any type of technology used in the classroom there will be unique advantages and disadvantages.
The advantages of using blogs include, but are not limited to: They are flexible - Blogging can be done in or out of classroom. Blogs can be used as an assessment opportunities - Example on weebly.com They are highly motivating - Students enjoy interacting with the blog because it is different than typical instruction- They are a multi-media experience with the ability to post video, audio, images, which are far more powerful than a worksheet. Blogs can be used for collaboration -Students can work on skills of collaboration (similar to our wiki space endeavor). . Home to School connection- Parents can view what students are doing at school Blogs can become a CMS with the right platform and software (Moveable Type) Blogs can even out the playing field in a discussion as previously mentioned. Blogs can be very user-friendly can be updated without having to learn HTML code.
Student capabilities (according to age, internet access at home, understanding of basic computer functions) Demanding- can be cumbersome to maintain on a daily basis. Requires a computer in your classroom for frequent student interaction. Self- defeating purpose - We want students to write and to summarize, reflect, discuss, but if the sole purpose of the blog is to merely complete an assignment, blogging can become just another busy-work assignment.
When approaching a blog as a first time user, there are a few considerations you should take into account concerning the design, development, and implementation. First, let’s discuss the design. As far as the maintenance is concerned, ask yourself these questions: Will the blog be used for daily homework postings or daily comments? Will it be used weekly as in class assignment? When you incorporate different elements such as audio, imagines, video, text, links, etc. Ask yourself how do I want to present the information? How do I want students to interact with the blog? Lastly, another consideration for the design of the blog is your own comfort level. As a novice you might want to use developer hosted platforms (i.e. Blogger/ weebly/ kidblog) Let me show you two websites that I set up in a matter of minutes, and another that is a work in progress. If you are an expert, perhaps you would rather the freedom of an installed application like MoveableType.
Another consideration you will have to think about is the development of your blog. I would like to lead you through setting up a blog on weebly.com. We will incorporate text, an image, and an assessment opportunity on the blog.
The following implementation considerations are on the Glencoe website, and I found them to be informative: 1. Determine that all students' AUPs are in place and up to date. 2.Inform parents of procedures and secure parental permission. 3.Teach students safe, acceptable, and sensible behavior as online authors and readers. 4.Review policies and guidelines pertaining to student access. 5.Teach the non-posting rules of no complete names, e-mail accounts, or references to reveal location. 6.Set clear expectations regarding tone, respect, and consequences. Something that I would like to add to this list is comment moderation. As a teacher and behind the scenes blogger, you have the ability to moderate, or check out, the posts that students make and choose which are appropriate to publish, and which are not.
It is also important to note before we close that if you would like, students can either subscribe to your blog, or if there is an edublog that you like in particular, you can subscribe to it so that you receive automatic notifications when something new is posted. I will briefly show you how this is done.
Please take a moment to view the open source and leading tools in the blog
I hope that you found some of the information to be valuable to you. If you have any other questions about blogging, or would like me to help you set up a blog on either kidblog.org or weebly.com, I would be happy to do so.
Blogs A simple, meaningful technology in the classroom.
Objectives <ul><li>Overview of blogs </li></ul><ul><li>Implementing blogs </li></ul><ul><li>Creating blogs </li></ul>
Blog defintion <ul><li>“ A blog (a contraction of the term "Web log") is a Web site, usually maintained by an individual with regular entries of commentary, descriptions of events, or other material such as graphics or video. Entries are commonly displayed in reverse-chronological order. "Blog" can also be used as a verb, meaning to maintain or add content to a blog.” </li></ul>
Blog History <ul><li>Timeline </li></ul>1990 1995 2000 2005 2010
Discussions <ul><li>"The conversation possible on the weblog is also an amazing tool to develop our community of learners. The students get to know each other better by visiting and reading blogs from other students. They discover, in a non-threatening way, their similarities and differences. The student who usually talks very loud in the classroom and the student who is very timid have the same writing space to voice their opinion. It puts students in a situation of equity." </li></ul>