There have been many descriptions for what blogging is and means. In it's simplest form a weblog or blog is a web site where it's content is authored by an individual or group of individuals. Commonly, a blog is a website where an individual writes about topics of professional or personal interest. In its basic form a weblog, or blog, is an online space where people can easily produce content on the web. Users need not know HTML code or any other code to post content on a blog. Blogging software is designed to be very easy to use. One needs only to create an account and then begin adding their own content. One way to think of a blog is a conversation between the author and readers who comment on the author's blog posts.
One noteworthy blog that brought blogging to the mainstream is Wonkette. During the 2004 Presidential election, 60 Minutes aired a report from Dan Rather on a letter regarding President Bush's military service. Wonkette blogged about the letter CBS had obtained, informing blog readers that it was a forgery. The spread of this news via other bloggers was exponential and the impact of this event was propelled blogging into the mainstream. Prior to blogging, news dissemination was provided by news corporations, with blogging now people can have some control over the news.
Another great example of blogging in the mainstream was the acceptance of bloggers at the Demorcatic Convention in Boston in 2004. Bloggers were welcomed to the convention the same way that the mainstream press was. The concept of freedom of the press has now moved to a different level with the ease of publishing on the web.
Read Wikipedia's article for more information about blogs.
Blogging in Education
Review some of the educational blogs below to see how some teachers are using blogs to build learning communities, improve interest in their content areas and enhance learning. (Updated July 2010)
- Explore Feed
- Bridging Differences
- Dangerously Irrelevant
- David Jakes
- Generation YES Blog
- Kimberly Moritz
- Larry Cuban
- Eric Johnson
- Mike Doughty's Blog
- Practical Theory
- The Fischbowl
- Thoughts from Bay Trail Middle School
- Don Bavis Administrator Blog
- Notes from the Superintendent
Blogging for Learning
With blogs, as with other technologies, the question always seems to be why should we be doing this? There are quite a few reasons why you may want to engage students with blogging or author a blog yourself.
Reading, Writing & Literacy
The very nature of blogging lends itself to students becoming engaged in reading and writing. Blogging is not simply a online diary, it can be structured around activities that promote reading, writing and 21st Century skills.
Imagine that you are having students work on a science project where they are researching the impact of humans on their local environment. They can begin to use their blog to post updates on their inquiries, document their research, pose questions, ask questions of their peers, and become engaged in literacy through science.
The English teacher has students reading Judy Moody Saves the World by Megan McDonald & Peter H. Reynolds with younger students. Perhaps it is an older group of students where they are reading Guns, Germs, and Steel : The Fates of Human Societies by Jared M. Diamond in their social studies class.
Each of these situations allow students to begin connecting what they are doing in separate classrooms. Allowing students to begin to see the interconnections between different disciplines.
Another possibility is to use blogging for a reflecting purpose. Since blogs can be organized by date and subject students can see how their ways of thinking have changed over time. Looking out on the web you will see some people that use their blog strictly for this purpose. Sure some of them may be computer geeks, but our students are now becoming more and more comfortable with computers, so the sense of blogging being geeky may only be for the older crowd.
Student portfolios have been around for a long time. The benefit of students being able to have a collection of their work to share with prospective employers or colleges is a beneficial for their future. Companies no longer simply want a paper copy of a portfolio that they can look at during your interview. In today's world employers want to have a website of your work. This and the practice of Googling prospective employees has changed the entire hiring process.
Giving students an advantage of being able to show their work and progress as students, as well as giving them the ability to create a site of their own in the future is an indispensable skill. As a teacher imagine being able to see what a student, that is now sitting in your classroom on the first day of school, has done in prior classes. This coupled with Curriculum mapping could have a real impact on what it is we are truly teaching students.
After the very famous website blogspot also known as Blogger, blogger changed the way of blogging by letting anyone simply make a blog and release any information they would like to write. They also provided every user with a free subdomain. Blogger or Blogspot was however bought by Google as Google got a complete Monopoly on the blog market. Blogspot also has a function to let users earn money by Google's adsense function. This gives Google thousands of users advertising for adsense.