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Educational Blogging…or Edublogging

Why Blog?
Choices for Blogging Sites
Blog Protocol and Privacy
Ten Things to Do with Your Blogs
Classroom Blogging Examples video tutorial
Classroom Blogging Examples

Why Blog?

#1 – “Whoever is doing most of the talking or most of the typing is doing most of the learning (and the more people listening the better).”

Blogging lets you and your students have written discussions and online communications. These discussions can be private or publicly available and can be archived for future use. When students know that others will read their work, they do better work. When students know that others can learn from their work, they do better work.

Blogs are also amongst the easiest ways to publish a classroom and student work. You can post a syllabus, class expectations, and all sorts of other content without registering a domain name or learning HTML.

Blogging can be used in any number of ways. It can be used to form a discussion forum, post short current events articles and invite students’ thoughts, foster communication among multiple classes, serve as a log of student progress on a research assignment, post photos and homework assignments online, and much more. See “Ten Things to do with Your Blog” below for more ideas.

Choices for Blogging Sites:

Google Sites

  • Pros:
    • Free
    • Easy integration¬†of Google apps such as documents, YouTube videos, slideshows
    • Ad free
  • Cons:
    • Not very intuitive

WordPress

  • Pros:
    • Free
    • It has great SEO
    • Easy content updating
    • Blogging is intuitive
  • Cons:
    • Some features require a premium account
    • Many free themes resemble each other

Kidblog

  • Pros:
    • Free
    • Safe for young students
    • Interface is easy to navigate
    • Easy to create student and classroom accounts
  • Cons:
    • Not much storage space
    • Some features only available for premium accounts

Blogger
Probably the largest blogging site on the Internet and owned by Google.

  • Pros:
    • Free
    • Simple interface (resembles word processing)
    • Quick and easy to get started
    • Extremely stable network
    • Create multiple blogs from one account
    • Many “gadgets” that add interactivity and special feature: polls, calendar, video, links list and more
    • Students likely familiar with the tools layout
    • Mobile setup available to post from a smartphone
  • Cons:
    • Requires a Google account
    • “Next” link at top of blog leads to random blog and potentially inappropriate content. (“Next” link can be disabled using script.)
    • Can add image files and video files, but not audio files.
    • No educator outreach.

Edublogs
A free blogging site, powered by WordPress (another recommended blogging tool), with sites pre-set for educational blogging.

  • Pros:
    • Free
    • Simple interface
    • The ability to create simple web pages along with your blog for syllabi, course expectations, etc.
    • A handy set of tutorials on the home page
    • Can quickly set up multiple blogs with same template.
    • Educational outreach
  • Cons:
    • Embedding can be a bit tricky as some codes are blocked.

Typepad
Unlike other blogging sites, Typepad is not a free service. There is a monthly fee associated with the accounts.

  • Pros:
    • Professional templates and tools
    • You can upload any type of file – Word documents, PowerPoints, Sound files, etc.
    • Easily downloaded from the page.
  • Cons:
    • Subscription based service
    • Somewhat more complicated interface
    • No educator outreach

See also: Blogmeister, a blog framework designed specifically for education.

Blog Protocol and Privacy Issues

Students will be posting work to the Internet and must be cognizant of proper Internet protocol, and just plain decency! Students should be advised to never publish a personal attack and to never be unduly critical or harsh in tone or content. They should be encouraged to use the comments option to praise their peer’s work, to ask questions, and to point out what they found particularly informative, or engaging in a blog post. That being said, blogs can be used as a means of debate, and often students with opposing view points may blog on a particular issue. Thus, it is not uncommon for students to criticize each other’s arguments via their blogs. However, argumentation should be undertaken in a spirit of constructive criticism and in an effort to sharpen analytical thinking.

Try to avoid publishing student last names. The Web by nature is public and as teachers and administrators we should not reveal the identity of our students online to strangers. Instruct students not to include their last name in posts or comments. Most blogging platforms allow the name of the person creating the blog and the name that appears as the publisher of posts to be different.

Ten Things to Do With Your Blogs:

  1. Post a homework question
    • Each student writes a one paragraph response
    • Read a few before class to see what your students think about the reading
  2. Invite outsiders to comment on student work
    • If you know the author of a book you are reading, have students write beedback and invite the author to read the blog post, comment and respond
  3. Have students from another classroom or school comment on your student’s work
  4. Have students post discussion questions for tomorrow’s class
    • This is great when you know you won’t have time to plan
    • If you know that you’ve flubbed a class and students are confused, have them post questions about things they don’t understand
  5. Have students post drafts for peer editing
    • While email is probably better for 1-1 peer editing, blogs are a great opportunity for multiple people to comment on a single piece of work
  6. Post your lecture notes or a summary of the day’s class
    • You can make one student per day responsible for posting the class notes. Either by type them as a comment or by taking a picture of their notebook or dry erase board.
    • The rotating student option is great for classes where you want students to focus on the discussion and not hav to worry about taking notes.
  7. Post the daily homework assignment
    • Embed or link to any images, video or assignments you used that day in class.
    • This is a great option to enhance communication between school and parents.
  8. Post links to supplementary materials from the internet
    • Author bios or websites
    • Links to book reviews
    • Links to relevant news articles
  9. Create new blogs for team projects
    • Students can post their work to the blog so that others can see what they are doing. They can also comment on each other’s work.
    • If faculty are trying to work as a team or core group, use a blog to communicate with each other about lessons, etc.
  10. For an independent study, have students create their own blog
    • Have students post an outline of their week’s work before the regularly scheduled weekly meeting.
  11. Have students role play on their blog
    • For example, when studying the American Revolution, have some students blog about the revolution as Colonists, others as Loyalist or British. Then have students read each other’s blogs and leave comments based on their role playing perspective.

Classroom Blogging Examples

EdTechTeacher Video Tutorial on Class Blogging Examples

Blogger Tutorial

Edublogs Tutorial

Classroom Blogging Examples

The following EdTechTeacher video tutorial explores several classroom blogging examples, including Tom Daccord’s “A Day in the Life of a Hobo” blogging activity.