Tuesday, March 20, 2007

What's a Blog?

I was asked to do a presentation on blogs at our high school faculty meeting on Tuesday. As I started gathering information, I considered putting together the quintessential PowerPoint presentation. After all, that’s how I usually share the information that I want to convey in workshops. Or I could just add more links to the Blogging hotlist that I’ve already created. Or . . . duh! . . . I could just post my presentation to our tech blog! So here goes.

What is a blog?
(noun) 1. a shared on-line journal where people can post diary entries about their personal experiences and hobbies; "postings on a blog are usually in chronological order" [syn: web log] (verb) 1. read, write, or edit a shared on-line journal
blog." WordNet® 2.1. Princeton University. 21 Feb. 2007.

A weblog (web + log = blog) is basically on online journal, and there are currently thousands and thousands of blogs on the Internet on subjects ranging from A to Z. Extended families use blogs to keep each other up to date on the activities of their nieces, nephews, and grandchildren, reunion and vacation plans, and their day-to-day lives. There are blogs on health topics, vacation spots, and political issues. And yes, there are even blogs on education!

Educators use blogs to discuss issues relevant to their schools, their subject areas, and their students. Educators also use blogs as classroom web sites to post calendars, assignments, and student work. At a blogging workshop that I attended at the PETE & C Conference, a teacher announced that some of her students complain that it isn’t fair that they have to ride the bus home—the “walkers” get to answer the questions posted on the classroom blog first! When was the last time YOUR students whined because they couldn’t do their homework before their peers? Students seem to enjoy writing for an authentic audience; people around the world can read what they write in a blog—not just their teachers. Some teachers feel that students write more and pay more attention to spelling, punctuation, and sentence structure when they know their work is out there for all to see. Teachers also report that quiet students who are reluctant participants in class discussions are more willing to share their thoughts when they can write and post their ideas on the Web.

At the faculty meeting, I will teach you how to post comments to existing blogs on blogger.com, including this Keystone Tech Talk blog and Mr. Maddy’s KHS Staff Forum blog. We’ll also take a look at how other teachers are using blogs in their instruction. I’m not suggesting that each and every one of you require your students to blog in your classes; too much of anything is not a good thing. However, you might consider introducing blogging in your classroom to “mix it up” a bit.

I will gladly work with you individually or in small groups to help you create a classroom blog. Contact me to schedule a time that works for you.

For a one-stop shop on educational blogging, go to Essdack’s Social Studies Connection “Blogs” page. Don’t miss “How 8th Graders View Blogging.” eSchool News includes an article on “Blogs are Changing Education.”

Some educational technology blogs that I enjoy reading include The Fisch Bowl, Kathy Schrock’s Kaffeeklatsch, and The Blue Skunk Blog.

To see how other teachers are using blogs in their classrooms, check out Mrs. McDermott’s 8th Grade Book Club, A History Teacher, and Speaking of History. Scroll down on Oxford Elementary’s home page to see their blogging links.

1 comment:

  1. This is an excellent description of a weblog. I am copying what you have written into a Word document for the next time I am asked what a blog is. I would disagree with you on one thing though. There are millions and millions of blogs, not thousands and thousands. Here is a cool one to check out. It is not educational but is very informative on current events and all sorts of stuff. http://clicked.msnbc.msn.com - Tek

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