Blog - What am I?
Blogs are organized like mainstreamed Web sites, with navigation links, and other basic Web site features. Blogs have one specific characteristic, however: the posting. Blog postings are text entries, similar to a diary or journal, which include a posting date and may include comments by people other than the author, photos, links, or other digital media.

Postings are often short and frequently updated. They appear in reverse chronological order and can include archived entries. Blogs are surprisingly easy to use. They require minimum technical knowledge and are quickly and easily created and maintained.

If thinking about a blog consider if you want it to serve as... (ideas from Bionic Teaching blog)
  1. An information center (like Blackboard or another content management system)
  2. A teacher-centered blog (where the teacher guides the conversation and students respond in the comments)
  3. A student-centered blog (where the students guide the conversation and respond)
  4. A collaborative project (where students build the content together)
  • Will it be used for discussion?
  • How do you plan to manage the discussion?
  • How many classes will be accessing the blog?
  • Teacher-centered blog: You can intentionally guide the conversation.
  • Student-centered blog: Your students guide the conversation, have more buy-in
  • Single blog for multiple classes: Breaks down the wall of the classroom by bringing students together virtually (in a way that would be difficult physically); makes management a bit more difficult (keeping track of participation, moderating comments)
  • Multiple blogs for multiple classes: Makes managing the blog much easier; will need to replicate content (copy/paste) to the extra blogs

Blogs in Education
Blogs work well for students because they can be worked on at any time and any place with a computer with Internet access. Blogs can be utilized and integrated by computer savvy teachers to create a classroom that extends beyond the boundaries of the school. Students will find these blogs convenient and easily accessible.
In addition to providing teachers with an excellent tool for communicating with students, here are some other benefits and uses of blogs in the classroom:
Blog Ideas
• post short current events articles to invite students thoughts, reactions, and possible solutions
• post photos and ask students to create captions
• book discussions in the form of an online book club
• curriculum web sites and have them read and make responses
• communicate with another classroom
• react to teacher entries about what students are learning
• students make connections to how learning is relevant to them
• invite one student a day to post a summary of and their reflections on the day's learning
• observe the growth of plants or animals or keep records of science experiments
• record student kindnesses or good deeds
• let student write short reviews of books they are enjoying reading
• post a daily/weekly summary of the curriculum taught
• homework assignments
• a view of the class for parents
• list relevant class information
• provide a day-by-day description of a specific teaching unit
• time out of the classroom day to share with family and friends
• thoughts from the students in their classroom on any number of ideas
• how-to's on using specific technology programs in the curriculum
• create an ongoing portfolio of samples of student writing
• students express their opinions on topics you are studying in class
• ask parents to respond to what is being posted on the blog over the weekends

Classroom Management
• Blogs are highly motivating to students, especially those who otherwise might not become participants in classrooms
• Excellent opportunities for students to read and write.
• Community of learners.
• Easy to create and update efficiently,
• Post class requirements, post handouts, notices, and homework assignments, or act as a question and answer board.

• Teachers and students can work to further develop writing or other skills with the advantage of an instant audience.
• Teachers can offer instructional tips, and students can practice and benefit from peer review.
• Online mentoring- a class of older students can help a class of younger students develop more confidence in their writing skills.
• Students can also participate in cooperative learning activities that require them to relay research findings, ideas, or suggestions.
• Equal opportunity to share their thoughts and opinions. Students have time to be reactive to one another and reflective.
• Teachers can also bring together a group of knowledgeable individuals for a given unit of study for students to network and conference with on a blog.

Student Portfolios
• Blogs present, organize, and protect student work as digital portfolios
• Shows developing skills and progress may be analyzed more conveniently.
• Students realize their efforts will be published; they are typically more motivated to produce better writing.