How to use a blog to facilitate learning

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Now that you know how to set up a blog and get your students access to the blog, it is time to discuss how to use a blog to facilitate learning. If you haven't done it already, Watch this video to find out what people have to say about blogs.


Contents

Some uses of blogs in the class

The following graph demonstrates some of the potential uses for blogs in education. While this list is not complete, it does present some general ways to use blogs in your classroom.

File:Some uses of blogs in education.gif

Benefits of using blogs

The nice thing about blogs is that they are all about reading and writing, and they can be a great way to get your students to do both. Blogs and the blogging technology that we see today are *different* than what’s come before. They:

- help to create connections that were previously very difficult or impossible

- help to provide new channels of information and knowledge [1]

- promote the use of technology

- promote writing habits

- promote reading habits


Keep in mind that both threaded discussions and email still have their places. [2] Indeed, the use of blogs does not necessarily replace every other medium of communication, it is just another great option.

Examples of blogs in education

Let's take a look at how some examples of how teachers use their blogs to facilitate learning. The following links go to some of the best resources and examples of blogs used in education today. Feel free to add to these if you would like!

http://weblogg-ed.com/ - a blog for blogs in education

http://ssedro.blogspot.com/ - a blog on educational blogging

http://cnx.org/content/m14135/latest/ - course on creating meaningful online discussions

http://www.getnetwise.org/ - Website about internet safety

http://blogsavvy.net/ - A website about how to use blogs including a section on education

Creating a safe blogging environment

It is important to create virtual environments that enable students to connect with each other, to build personal learning environments. To thrive in the global economy, children must be connected and learn to coordinate their work via the Internet. Blogs are one of the first tools of the Read/Write Web that will enable them to accomplish this. Teachers and school districts should take the following steps to ensure that students won't have to misappropriate adult spaces for their digital conversations and personal learning network construction. Those steps are as follows:

1. Take immediate steps to block/filter out commercial sites that allow children to blog and connect to others at school. Sites would include Blogger and MySpace.com, as well as a few others.


2. Set up our own blogging sites for use by students and their teachers after they sign an addendum to the standard Acceptable Use Policy. Or, as an alternative to setting up your own blogging system, use David Warlick's Blogmeister service. It provides passworded class blogs, as well as RSS feeds for each student and teacher blog. You can find it online at http://classblogmeister.com


3. Finally, set up meetings with parents offering suggestions as to how they can monitor their child's use of virtual spaces. Encourage them to find out where there child blogs and visit the site regularly to check on it. Even better, show them how to use free open source RSS aggregators so that they can quickly see what content is posted.[3]



Return to the Main Page Using Blogs and Wikis in Education or move on to How to use a wiki to facilitate learning.

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