What is a blog?
Blogs (short for "web logs") are online diaries or records that are typically authored by one person, however, they can have more than one contributor. In a blog, the author posts text and/or video or audio and, typically, others respond to the entry. Comments placed upon the blog by respondents allow for discussion.

How can blogs be used educationally?
A blog post can be published by a teacher (or group of teachers) and students can contribute to the discussion. On a basic level, students can respond to a prompt by the teacher and the discussion can end at that point. The teacher grades the students based upon participation.

On a higher level, students can be taught to research outside sources to support their blog response with expert opinion. Through this process, students learn how to quote and cite information gathered from an outside resource to support their response and they also learn how to connect their own analysis to both the original post and the research that they have gathered. This practice reinforces the concept of supporting statements (in writing and in conversation) with valid and authoritative fact.

Students can also be taught how to participate in a discussion with each other using cyber-etiquette basics. Not only should students have guidance in how to format a reply to another respondent but also how to respond politely during debate.

On an even more advanced level, students can be taught how to create their own blog, thus achieving self guided learning.

Collaborative blogging allows for global connections to be made. There are opportunities that offer collaborative blogging through programs such as Flat Classroom. Blogging with another group of students (or adults!) allows for multiple perspectives to be considered and ideas to be shared!

Link here for a checklist that you can use as a tool to organize and consider your blog content.


Application:
Many sites are set up to host blogs.
Here are links to the three popular blog sites I have compared above
http://edublogs.org
http://google.com/blogger
Wordpress
Using NetVibes to house student blogs:
http://www.netvibes.com/mrsal#Student_Blogs
Dominic Salvucci has his students author their own sites using netvibes - it is a nice way to organize the entries.
Silvia Tolisano has an indepth guide on her blog, Langwitches, for k-8 blogging (we have even used it for high school students)
K-8 blogging flyer
Creating an Outline for Blogging Unit Plan
Introduction to Blogging Lesson Plan
Blogging Lesson Plan- Online Safety
Blogging Lesson Plan - Commenting You will love the Quality Commenting video!
Blogging Lesson Plan - Writing
**Setting Up the Blog**
Logistics of Formatting a Post
Connecting Your Class to the World

Authentic applications:


8th Grade Physical Science (using edublogs):
http://hanoverscience.edublogs.org/

Jason Suter expanded the project this year, using Blogger with 11th and 12th graders. In contrast they are maintaining their own blog page. This was more difficult for him to set up. They are using Google Reader and take a day every other week to read each others blogs. The students are following environmentalists using Reader and Twitter to find information to write about and relate to class. Would you believe that with nearly 60 posts turned in every other week, there is rarely a repeated topic?

Here are his detailed instructions on the project:
https://sites.google.com/a/hanoverpublic.org/environmental/pln-and-blog-instructions

Here are his requirements for the project:
https://sites.google.com/a/hanoverpublic.org/environmental/class-information/blog-requirements

Rubrics to varied uses of blogging are attached here:





PLN Blogging Groups:
http://www.classroom20.com/group/studentblogging

On the Cautionary Side:
Remember that everything you post is viewable by the public. If you are writing something intended for a certain audience, there is no promise that the audience the content is directed towards is the only audience viewing the content. Remember to only post professional postings and anything personal that is stated would be something that you would state to an audience representative of students, parents, administrators, colleagues, and community members.
Remember that while posting, the tone of your statements may be misconstrued or lost to your audience due to the electronic nature of your communication. Here is an interesting article which speaks to that concept.

My blog webinar (login as guest)
My slideshow for the Webinar:



This page is moderated by Karen Hornberger. (Karen's blog can be found on the homepage of her library site)