Blogs are a great communication tool. If you are still confused about what a blog is exactly, watch this video. Blogs can be used to provide instructional information to your students that they can access anywhere and can be used by your students to show the progress of a task from conception to execution. These are just two examples of ways that teachers have been using blogs. Moreover, they are easy to create and use and there are many free ways to begin.
In the above introduction I mentioned a couple of ways that teachers have been using blogs; however, these don’t touch on all the possibilities that blogging can provide. Because blogs are online they are available to staff and students anywhere at anytime. There is also the possibility of making very media-rich documents using a blog that can include photos, videos and links to other resources. Furthermore, blogs are a collaborative tool that be set up to allow many authors to work together on a single document or readers to contribute to your work.
Where? (and how)
The easiest way to set up a blog to use with your class is in eWorkspace. This can be done by both students and teachers and provides a password protected environment where an author can publish his or her work.
Blogs in eWorkspace are set up thus:
1. Click the class’s hyperlink
2. Click Blog
3. eWorkspace will take you to the page where you name and describe your blog. You will need to click the ‘Allow others to see this’ box.
4. Your blog is now ready to use! On the right-hand side you will find a link where you can ‘Add new posts’.
This will take you to the screen where you can create posts and add media. It works much the same as Microsoft Word does so it is pretty easy to use. If you are having trouble identifying an icon just hover the cursor over it and a text box will appear to explain what it is. You can hyperlink text (or images or whatever) using the icon circled in the image below.
If you are feeling adventurous or would like a blog that looks a bit prettier, there are many sites that off free blogging. The two main ones are Blogger and WordPress but that is just the tip of the iceberg. You need to make sure that you consider the ESAUA when you set up your blog and also that you protect the students’ privacy.
Other people’s blogs
There are some great blogs out there if you would like to get some inspiration. Right here at Aitken Monet is writing a blog (pictured below) for her VCE music class where she shares links and gets feedback from her students.
There also are tons of blogs about eLearning (really!) and school libraries. Some examples are: Tech Tools for Teachers, Andrew Douch’s Weblog, Weblogg-ed and Hey Jude.
And pretty much any topic you care to imagine.
What are we going to do with it?
The three main things that I can come up with involve sharing information, collaboration and watching an idea develop.
My blog is mainly about sharing information. I don’t get people to contribute articles and people very rarely comment on my posts (sniff). However, by putting stuff on here, it allows you to access it anytime and anywhere and see step-by-step instructions, pictures and videos and links related to a topic.
But blogs don’t only have to be instructional. Students can use blogs to develop ideas, test hypotheses, create networks, analyse and synthesise information and much more.
If you have any ideas for using blogging in your classroom, add a comment below or bring them along to the blogging PD session!
Hi Tim, great post again, giving me more ideas to use inclass. Made me feel guilty for not posting comments previously – I am more of an internet lurker than a commenter in general. I am LOVING your blog, though – a great tool to refer to when I can’t remember how to do something or need the internet link for something given to me again. The list of your categories is very impressive!
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