What is a blog?

According to wikipedia a blog (a blend of the term web log) is a type of website or part of a website supposed to be updated with new content from time to time. Blogs are 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. A quality blog is interacitve and allows visitors to leave comments or messages, which is how it differs from a static website. Blogs allows communication between the reder and the owner of the blog site. There are many blog sites that can be used, wordpress, edublog, kidblog, blogger and countless others. I know that kidblog is very user friendly and teachers are able to moderate comments very easily.

What is the point?

The purpose of blogging varies for each person. A personal blog can be used as an online journal to post their experiences, interests, hobbies and views. A business blog is a communication platform that allows businesses to communicate with potential clients. It is also a way for the business to pomote their products. A media blog is used to provide the latest news, commentary and discussion about news items. An educational blog can have a variety of purposes. Educators use blogs to discuss information relevant to education, schools blog about what is happening at the school to communicate with parents and then there are also student blogs. Adapted from http://www.myuniversalfacts.com/2006/08/definition-and-purpose-of-blog-what-is.html Many teachers set up classroom blogs to maintain an open communication for parents and to allow them to see what is happening in the classroom. Teachers are able to post daily homework assignments and quite often post examples of student work.

Why have student blogs?

Teachers can use student blogs for a variety of reasons. It can be a place that their students write their thoughts about specific topics that they are studying in class. It is where students can dialogue, connect, collaborate, and reflect in their own learning. It also allows the teacher to connect to their students in a different format. Students are able to expand their world outside of the classroom walls and communicate with people from all over the globe.

According to Silvia Rosenthal Tolisano in her post Learning About Blogs FOR Your Students- Part 1 Reading

"becoming an avid blog reader of a variety of blogs is the first step for a teacher contemplating blogging with his/her students. Reading blogs with metacognitive analysis in mind, will help expose teachers to the potential blogging holds in relationship to LEARNING". She points out that as educators we need to address the intended learning outcomes for students when they are blogging. And that the outcomes need to go beyond just technology integration.

As teachers read blogs regularly, the better they will become in:

  • RECOGNIZING learning opportunities via a blogging platform

  • FORMULATING learning outcome for their own students as they see quality examples of other blogs

  • IDENTIFYING curriculum learning outcome and match them to blogging

  • UPGRADING and REPLACING blogging can replace traditional assessment

  • GAUGING the quality (or lack) of blogs they read, but also the quality of their own students’ blog (relevant to their age group)

  • GETTING USED to the new genre of digital reading and writing

  • RECOGNIZING that writing is changing (thank you Terry Heick). The writing process used to end with the last period in the last paragraph. Hitting the publish button on a blog, might just be the beginning, not the end of writing.

  • UNDERSTANDING the grammar of social/networked writing. How ideas are linked, connected, expanded, influenced, etc. (thank you Alec Couros)

  • EXPERIENCING the culture of sharing (Alec Couros)

  • BROADENING their horizon by being EXPOSED to an array of content (Alec Couros) and global points of view

  • ENGAGING in reflective practice (thank you Mike Gwaltney)

  • being AWARE that there is a Global Learning Community out there and available to them anytime/anywhere (thank you Akevy Greenblatt)

  • LEARNING and CONNECTING in their own professional journey (thank you Dean Shareski)

  • REALIZING that blogs are self-designed, self-directed, and interdependent with all other media forms. (Terry Heick)

  • OBSERVING the ability of blogs (over time) to function as a tool to curate learning (Terry Heick).