Saturday, January 26, 2008

Blogging Basics

In speaking with a colleague yesterday about finding authentic ways to use blogs in the classroom, I mentioned that I had been following an educator’s blog on the very same topic. The colleague replied, “You read blogs? I have a blog, but no one reads it.” I could sympathize with him because this was my initial reaction when I first started my blog this past summer. I didn’t understand how one gained a readership beyond just family and friends. However, the more that I’ve ventured into the blogosphere, the more I’ve learned that blogging is not merely about posting.

Effective blogs are not simply wonderfully written diatribes on a specific topic. Successful blogs are those that are articulate, reflective, and polished, but whose writers are also connected to a larger writing community. Effective blogs are those that are managed by effective bloggers. An effective blogger is not a writer who simply posts, but one who also reads and responds to other writers. As Will Richardson describes it, blogging should connect “…analysis and synthesis that articulates a deeper understanding or relationship to the content being linked and written with potential audience response in mind.”

I still feel relatively new to the whole edublogosphere. I’m still learning the lingo, still learning my way around. However, as an educator venturing into this arena and contemplating helping my students transition into the world of blogging, I thought it would be useful to compile a list of helpful resources to aid others in their blogging adventures.

Using Blogs With Students:
  • ”Visonary Classroom Blogging” is a wonderful description of how to set-up and use blogs authentically in the secondary classroom. Not only does Clay Burell break down the step-by-step process of establishing a viable blog, but he also helps students find models for their writing through use of a Guide for Quality Blogs.

  • Transitioning to Web 2.0 has a wonderful list of resources for why and how to use student blogs in the classroom. Janni Black, the author of the site, has assembled an amazing collection of resources.

  • Online Educational Database (OEDb) has a wonderful post titled “101 Web 2.0 Teaching Tools” that lists and explains a number of wonderful and free blogging tools.

  • ” Moving to the Public: Weblogs in the Writing Classroom” is a wonderful post on Into the Blogosphere about why blogs should be used in the classroom.

  • Enhancing Technology & Learning @ BGSU has a posted a wealth of rubrics for grading student blogs.

  • Classblogmeister is a free service that facilitates blogging in the classroom. The teacher establishes a blog, students submit posts to the teacher, and the teacher approves the post before it is ever published. It is problematic in that once a student leaves the class, he or she would not be able to post to the site, so it is not an authentic blogging experience for the student, but it is a good start for students and teachers who haven’t had much exposure to blogging.

If you know of other resources, please let me know. Happy blogging!

1 comment:

CB said...

My thinking has traveled since watching the Visionary Classroom Blogging project evolve.

How I'll do it next time: have students comment on other blogs for a while, before starting their own.

They'll learn the importance of reading good blogs, the importance of the conversations in comment threads for thinking and connecting, and then they're blogs hopefully won't be so cluelessly disconnected ;)

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