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learning.now: at the crossroads of Internet culture & education with host Andy Carvin

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May222006

What Exactly is a Blog, Anyway?

In the coming weeks and months here at learning.now, you’re going to hear a lot about the exciting educational work that’s being done with technologies like podcasts, photo blogs and video blogs, just to name a few. But before we jump too far ahead, I thought it might be useful to talk about where all of this got started: blogs.

If you don’t know what a blog is, you’re not alone; according to the Pew Internet & American Life Project, nearly two-thirds of Internet users don’t have a good idea of the meaning of “blog.” In case you fall within this group, you’re in luck, though - you’re looking at a blog right now.

But this is just a website, right? Yeah, I get that a lot. On several occasions while doing workshops with both educators and non-educators, people have asked me if blogs are just websites. Yes, it’s true, blogs are a type of website, but there’s more to it than that. Perhaps I should offer a bit of Internet history to explain.

Back when the World Wide Web was young, more than a decade ago, creating websites wasn’t easy. There weren’t any tools that allowed you to design a site. Instead, you had to program a website just like you were writing a piece of software. Every website is made up of a coding language called HTML, which stands for HyperText Markup Language. Normally you don’t have to see this code when viewing a website, but if you check your Web browser’s menu you’ll probably find an item called something like “view page source,” which will let you see what this code looks like. HTML defines how every Web page looks and how it interacts with other pages. Without HTML, the World Wide Web wouldn’t function.

Unfortunately, knowing HTML isn’t for everyone. It’s not the most difficult coding language in the world, but there’s still a learning curve that’s a turn-off for lots of people. Because of this, websites designed in the mid-1990s tended to be created by people who were very tech-savvy. Even if you just wanted to have a simple website about yourself or your family, you first had to learn a lot about how the Web worked.

Nonetheless, this didn’t deter a number of people who saw the Web as a potential medium for sharing stories about themselves. They started to publish online diaries, using HTML to code websites about their daily lives. It was like keeping a personal journal, but sharing it with the world. Back in 1996, for example, I started publishing travel diaries, writing first-person stories about my personal vacation adventures. Web diaries were sometimes referred to as “Web logs,” not unlike the way a ship captain would keep a log of all events that took place at sea.

In the late 1990s, programmers began exploring ways of making these Web logs easier to publish. Soon, tools like Open Diary and LiveJournal popped up. These tools allowed you to publish a Web log simply by filling out a form. The software would have a blank field for the title and body of each journal entry. Rather than having to code each page by hand, a user would write anything they want, then press a button. The software would do the rest.

After a few more years, these journals started to spread like wildfire. Thousands and thousands of Internet users began publishing on their Web logs, or “blogs” for short. The software also became more sophisticated, allowing people to publish complex websites. What used to take a lot of money and manpower could be done by one person. All of us could become publishers.

Fast forward to 2006…. While no one’s exactly sure how many blogs there are, estimates often range from 30 to 100 million of them, all over the world. Check out a website like Global Voices and you can get a taste for the global reach of blogging, or the blogosphere, as it’s often known.

Even you can start a blog. Right now.

I’m serious.

There are many blogging tools available online, including free ones. For example, take a look at Blogger.com, one of the most popular blogging platforms. Blogger is a website that lets you set up a free account and create your own blogs - as many as you want. The site has basic step-by-step instructions, taking you through the process of setting up your account, naming your blog and choosing a design template. Then it’s just a matter of filling out a form and pressing a button. The online software does all the hard work, while you get to focus on the fun part - being creative and saying whatever it is you have to say.

Of course, there’s a bigger question - why would you, as a teacher, want to create your own blog? The answer to that is going to vary from person to person, but here are a few common answers I hear from educators who’ve taken the blogging plunge.

Communicate with parents. Some teachers see blogging as an outreach tool for interacting with parents. It’s not always possible to have the kind of hands-on interaction with parents, especially with large class sizes and busy schedules. A blog allows a teacher to summarize what’s going on in the classroom and share it with parents that have Internet access. (But it’s worth noting that not all parents will have access - something we’ll talk about more another day.) And most blogging tools allow readers to comment on what’s been posted, so parents are able to respond to different blog entries and have an online conversation with the teacher.

Communicate with your peers. Lots of educators blog so they can have a professional dialogue with their colleagues. Everyone can benefit from discussing the various challenges we all face in our work, and blogs serve as a mechanism for sharing those ideas. Some educational bloggers like Will Richardson and David Warlick have developed quite a following because of their eloquence and creativity. In many ways, blogs like these serve the same purpose that email discussion lists have served for more than a decade - they become a platform for discussing topics of interest to a large group of people. Blogging is different, though, in that it’s more personal and intimate, tailored to your professional interests and needs.

Showcase student work There’s nothing like seeing a teacher beam with pride because of the success of their students. Blogs can be used as a platform for highlighting the best work of your students, showcasing their talent to an audience that goes beyond the classroom.

And who’s to say that teachers are the only ones who should blog? More and more educators are exploring blogging as a student activity in itself. Blogging takes writing assignments into the real world, giving students the chance to receive feedback from each other, as well as other online mentors. While some teachers prefer that blogs only feature their students’ polished work, others see blogging as a platform where students can share early drafts of a writing assignment, using online feedback to improve each version. Blogging becomes an interactive form of peer review.

Student blogging does raise certain concerns, though. How much information do you reveal about a student? Do you accept comments from the general public, or only a select group of trusted individuals? Are students staying on topic, or are they getting too personal or inappropriate in some other way? There’s no one answer to these questions, and classroom blogging is still a relatively knew phenomenon. But that’s why educational blogs are important - they can serve as a place where teachers can debate these topics among their peers and work out answers that are appropriate for their classrooms and communities.

Have you or your students started blogging? What are you doing with them? Have your students and colleagues responded positively? And whether you blog or don’t, what other blogs have been useful to you professionally? -andy

Filed under : Blogging

Responses

An important topic.

Andy - I teach high school math. I use a blog to get feedback from my students about activities that we’ve done in class. It’s a good forum fro what works and what doesn’t. Do you mind if I copy and paste your explanation of a blog to provide for my students and their parents?

With the current misguided legislation in the form of DOPA and the recent MySpace hysteria, this is just the type of writing we need. If efforts like DOPA succeed, things like blogs could be made inaccessible, and yet, you manage to point out the educational value in tools like these. I have two blogs, one of them for professional development purposes. They allow me to engage in conversations with my peers and do other things. Excellent post, now, if we could just trust educators and the people who know instead of writing yet another bad law (even if the intentions are good), we might get somewhere.

Best, and keep on blogging.

Thanks, Angel, I appreciate it. No matter where one stands on the DOPA legislation, I think it’s important for all of us to work together and identify best practices for using these tools. No matter what Congress ends up doing, blogs aren’t going away, and educators will continue to explore them as tools for teaching and communicating. So hopefully I’ll be able to help share some of these practices, while learning from all of you about your own blogging experiences and interests. -andy

Andy,

You might be interested in what Alabama teachers are doing. Many of them are starting their own blogs for the various reasons you mention. Check it out over on my blog…
http://21stcenturylearning.typepad.com/blog/2006/05/end_of_year_one.html

Also, I had to respond to this part of your post—
“Some educational bloggers like Will Richardson and David Warlick have developed quite a following because of their eloquence and creativity. In many ways, blogs like these serve the same purpose that email discussion lists have served for more than a decade - they become a platform for discussing topics of interest to a large group of people. Blogging is different, though, in that it’s more personal and intimate, tailored to your professional interests and needs.”

I follow both of those edu-bloggers and believe them to be much more than a 21st century style “email list.” In particular, Will’s following is not just due to the fact he is a good writer (eloquence and creativity)— but rather because he understands how to blog in a way that builds scholarship between bloggers. He constructs with and on the ideas of others and as a result helps to increase knowledge about much more than just the tools of the trade …he captures the paradigm and theoretical constructs behind why we should be using them.

Thanks for all you are doing for education as well Andy. I have been a long time follower of your work.

Andy,
I think this is a pretty poor take on the technological history of blogging. For as long as there have been web browsers there have been WYSIWYG editors that didn’t require writing HTML code. I would guess that the vast majority of websites created by teachers over the past decade-plus were done with Frontpage, Dreamweaver, Word, etc. These folks are not sitting around trying to figure out how to avoid typing pointy-brackets. In fact, I’d say you’re more likely to have to worry about HTML and CSS if you get into blogging, because you generally can’t manipulate your blog template with a WYSISYG app, and the text entry widgets used in blog software are still often sketchy or incomplete.

The more important innovation from blog software is how easy it is to add new content. Blogs replace home pages that, once they were created, just sat there for years, giving nobody a reason to return.

I take your point, Tom, but the WYSIWYG editors didn’t really start to become commercially popular until Microsoft acquired Front Page - around ‘97, I think, but I could be wrong. For those of you who don’t know what we’re talking about, WYSIWYG stands for What You See is What You Get. These are tools that allow you to create webpages without having to know HTML code. And you’re right, these editors have been around since the early days, but they still had a learning curve that in my mind, at least, is still harder than basic blogging tools. They placed an emphasis on layout, while blogging emphasized the sharing of ideas. Then again, it could simply be a matter of learning styles, but in my experience, I find it easier to teach people blogging software than wysiwyg web design software.

And Tom is absolutely right that you’ll probably want to learn HTML basics if you plan to get into blogging seriously, because this will allow you to manipulate the look and feel of your blog. Having said that, blogging tools often come with a variety of template styles, or “skins,” that allow you to change from one style to another without being an HTML or CSS expert. (I still don’t know much about CSS, and my HTML skills are rather rudimentary.) There are also online communities for sharing skins and forums for tweaking them, making it easier than ever for people to edit their blog templates without having to be an HTML expert.

So I’d take the position that blogging software was more revolutionary than the wysiwyg tools, since blogging democratized online publishing at a much faster rate. But it’s fair of you to mention wysiwyg; I just felt that talking about it would have been a bit of a tangent. Maybe right, maybe wrong. It would be interesting, though, to take a look at the history of wysiwyg, but I think I’ll leave that task for someone else. :-) -andy

Sheryl wrote:

I had to respond to this part of your post—
“Some educational bloggers like Will Richardson and David Warlick have developed quite a following because of their eloquence and creativity. In many ways, blogs like these serve the same purpose that email discussion lists have served for more than a decade - they become a platform for discussing topics of interest to a large group of people. Blogging is different, though, in that it’s more personal and intimate, tailored to your professional interests and needs.”
I follow both of those edu-bloggers and believe them to be much more than a 21st century style “email list.” In particular, Will’s following is not just due to the fact he is a good writer (eloquence and creativity)— but rather because he understands how to blog in a way that builds scholarship between bloggers. He constructs with and on the ideas of others and as a result helps to increase knowledge about much more than just the tools of the trade …he captures the paradigm and theoretical constructs behind why we should be using them.

Hi Sheryl,

I’d argue that a successful email list does that as well, which is what I was trying to suggest. But that could be because people like Will and David participate in them. When you say he “constructs” or “captures the paradigm,” that gets at the intimacy I was alluding to - you get a very personal, expert perspective, based around their vision of whatever issue is being discussed. And thanks to blog’s commenting functionality, the kinds of discussion threads that once took place on lists now occur on the Web. And yes, I know there are other ways this happens on the Web, but on blogs it’s often very robust - something we can talk about later. :-) -andy

Mike wrote:

Do you mind if I copy and paste your explanation of a blog to provide for my students and their parents?

Not at all! Being that this is a blog, I fully assume that people may use content from it - or at least have the right to do so, setting aside whether they would want to in the first place. As this is a PBS blog and not my personal blog, I have to defer to the PBS Teachersource terms of use, but the jist of it is that you can re-use the content as long as it’s for noncommercial purposes and you cite the blog as a source. (And that reminds me - I’ll have to blog about Creative Commons at some point.) -andy

I have set up and monitored over 100 blogs for teachers (and students) over the last couple of years in my role as an academic technology specialist at an independent high school. I also use blogs in the U.S. History and Tech & Society courses I teach. My experiences and observations lead me to believe that the best edublogging activities fall into two broad categories: Reflection/Analysis and Simulation/Role-Playing.

By reflection I mean that a student will record his or her own ‘reflections’ on the work being studied in class. In the process students may also have to reflect on the comments made by their peers on their work, and use these as the basis for developing a more refined post. The goal of this type of exercise is both personal and academic development.

An analytical activity typically involves some reflection and argumentative reasoning. (The distinction between reflective and analytical is somewhat blurred in some of these activities and I have thus grouped them together.) The goal of the analytical activity is a fuller and clearer understanding of the topic’s meaning and significance. Simulation activities are designed to give students a greater understanding of events and individuals and are meant to bring the subject “alive” for the student. They are “hands-on” activities so that students become participants, not just listeners or observers, and often heighten student interest and motivation.

I have also seen blogs used successfully as logs or diaries of student experiences during extended academic projects, such as the construction of a solar car or completing a research essay. Students note their daily progress, or lack thereof, and these posts help teachers monitor many independent projects at the same time.

Topics that deal with controversial subjects and current events can be especially meaningful to students and help elicit active discussion and debate. Students enjoy writing about topics that interest them the most and teachers can use blogs to elicit student opinions and ideas and carry on an asynchronous dialogue.

I must admit, though, that I am a little surprised by the high attrition rate among teacher-bloggers. For instance, several enthusiastic teachers at my school who began blogging in earnest last fall stopped blogging completely by winter. The most common reasons I hear are : “I couldn’t figure out how best to integrate it.” “I fell behind in course content and slowly stopped blogging.” “I couldn’t figure out how to assess them.”

I realize now that most of these teachers really hadn’t thought about blogging integration beyond the formulation of a blogging assignment or two and that I hadn’t encouraged them to develop a long-range integration strategy. Also, their blogging activities tended to be separate and distinct from regular, traditional assignments, with little or no juxtaposition or intersection of the two . Some teachers also said that students were not immediately comfortable in the blogging environment and weren’t sure how they were supposed to express themselves. I also realize that some teachers wanted a formal assessment structure even though blogs, by their nature, are informal and personal. All this has made me realize that the preparation work I do with teachers before they start blogging may not be as important as the help they need after they start blogging. The biggest challenge for teachers is not leaning blogging technology; it is figuring out where blogging fits into their curriculum objectives.

As such, I would suggest the following for any teacher looking to blog:

• develop a long-term pedagogical strategy for incorporating blogging into the curriculum

• explain to your students as clearly as you can your blogging expectations and objectives and blogging’s place in your course

• develop an informal or formal feedback and evaluation framework for blogging activities and make these clear to your students

• expect that it may take several blogging activities before the students become comfortable with this medium and before you receive the type of posts/comments you desire

• enhance collaboration and community-building by ask students to both read and comment upon posts/comments made by other students

• use blog posts and comments as a vehicle for starting, enhancing, and prolonging in-class verbal conversations; make specific blog references in class

• consider “scaffolded” assignments where blogging is an integral part of the completion of an entire project; do not always create blogging activities in isolation from other activities

You may have just saved me a ton of time by writing that - now we can move on to another subject. :-) Seriously, Tom, great advice. Just one quick comment on this:

I must admit, though, that I am a little surprised by the high attrition rate among teacher-bloggers. For instance, several enthusiastic teachers at my school who began blogging in earnest last fall stopped blogging completely by winter. The most common reasons I hear are : “I couldn’t figure out how best to integrate it.” “I fell behind in course content and slowly stopped blogging.” “I couldn’t figure out how to assess them.”

It’s not just teachers- millions of blogs are actually dead-end streets, having been created by someone who lost interest within a matter of days, weeks or months. I’ve heard some estimates that that majority of blogs actually fall into this category. New bloggers should always have a basic gameplan, like you suggest - otherwise you may hit a virtual brick wall and give up. More fodder for future posts, no doubt. -andy

As usual, Andy, a thoughtful and thought provoking post. And as with any good post, the comments are outstanding as well…

I would offer a distinction, though. There are blogs, and as we say, there are blogs. :-) I think content and the ability to write clearly about a subject is really what makes a ‘blog’, and in that way I see blogging as simply ‘writing’. And as such, I completely support your statement about blogging software being more revolutionary than WYSIWYG.

I’m an elementary school media specialist, and tried using blogs with a small group of 5th and 6th graders last year. I had another blog with library news that I felt no one was ever reading. And I convinced our school counselor and nurse to start blogs, but again never got the feeling anyone was reading them.

About a month ago I got into blogging again, and set up nine so far - they are listed at http://del.icio.us/armstrongschool/armstrongblogs

One of them (3read1) was used by a 3rd grade reading group. I found that although they can talk up a storm about the book we read, it was almost impossible to get more than a very short sentence from them on the blog. My hope is to use blogs to work with students in different classes on the same project, as it is difficult to meet together due to scheduling conflicts.

Students even as young as 1st grade enjoyed posting their comments in the WorkBlog, and seeing their friend’s comments gradually appearing.

I hope to set up individual classroom news blogs for each class next school year, and offer teachers the chance to manage the blog themselves. If they won’t, I’ll pick students from each class to make postings and run them myself. I’m hoping to gradually get teachers and parents used to looking at our blogs as news sources, and then branching out into more educational uses.

Andy,
I found you information very good. I am a teacher of English language and Literature and a journalist in Uganda. But my worry is that people in developing countries are left out in the use of such ICTs. This is because they have a negative attitude towards ICT saying that they are for young generation. I found out that there is need for sensitisation in my country about ICts.
I thank you.

Andy,

I have been trying to find resources that present enough information about blogs and their uses in education while remaining accessible (read, easy to digest) to less technical teachers and administrators.

It’s difficult to write about these topics in a manner that respects the intelligence of your audience but is not laden with acronyms and alphabet soup. This piece really fits the bill and I will be pointing folks in my district to it.

I fall into the category of teacher who started several blogs and within a month or so, let them die. I really appreciate the comments of Tom and Andy about ways to plan ahead for a blog that “is alive.” As I head into the summer and begin to prepare for next year I’m working on developing a blog for each of my classes to use for reflection and class discussions. Does anybody out there have a rubric or plan for grading such blog activities?

Mike, it can be a formidable challenge to grade a blog. As I’ve mentioned, blogs are by nature informal and intimate and don’t always lend themselves easily to a formal grading rubric. Mind you, some teachers and organizations have attempted to formalize the blog assessment process. For instance, Emerson College offers a document entitled Assessing Student Weblogs and other edublogging guides. The tool helps the teacher assess the content, theme, emotion and academic quality of student writing as well as reveals common threads within a group.
http://www.emerson.edu/itg/tools/index.cfm
Scroll down to the PDF documents

The Emerson rubric is influenced by the work of ed-tech guru Bernie Dodge, known for his development of the “WebQuest” model for internet-based research activities. He has a rich and useful list of resources for blogs. Among the topics he covers are: Protocols, Policies, Etiquette; Blogs by K-12 Students; Blogs by Educators; Blogs About EduBlogging; Example Class or Project Blogs.
http://edweb.sdsu.edu/courses/edtec700/BL/resources.htm?enc=UTF

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Just a few comments from a on-and-off blogger.

My first blog was a testing ground which I started more than 3 years ago when blog was a the new rage. I wanted to see how feasible to keep a blog.

Recently I started my 2nd blog. The reason is I am a bit embarass I constantly writing comments on others’ blog :( and not having one of my own! Soon I ran into problem with this second blog because of technical problems and I do not have the time to resolve it. So, it is not dead because of lack of the will to write (not YET!), but half dead because I could not make the thing works and publish my writings! It BLOCKs my blog.

But I am also willing to argue the fact that most bloggers stop blogging not because the interests wane, but more because of time and resources. To put something in black and white and publish is a serious affairs to most people. Writing after all is not the same as talking …. written words stay FOREVER! To write something meaningful, it takes time and efforts. And if the blog subject is not the same as one’s profession then that would mean double troubles…. double the resources and time to research, and more research to get the facts right.. How often do we have those extra time laying around?

I do not have the figures, perhaps some PAID researchers could do something about it, I am pretty sure GOOD and VALUABEL blogs are written by bloggers that basically are writting what they know and even related to their work. That would mean basically time and efforts are PAID for doing and writing and keeping the blog active. (here is the background of my thoughts: blog is the toy (or tool) of knowledge workers. Knowledge workers write what is accummulated in their head. ANd most of the things in their head are either paid-for, or being paid. Especially if you are looking at blogs maintain by researchers or PhDs). And I can also dig up names of famous blogger that no longer blog because they change their jobs, therefore their life style changed (perhaps blogging becomes conflict of interest with the new job therefore risky) etc. etc. etc. So … all these point to one thing: if the blog is related to the profession and PAID for, most time it stays. If not, 95% or more would go very soon. Same as the teachers. What if the teachers are paid to blog? and extra time were given to blog? And on topics related to what they are teaching? (pay in this sense can be in-kinds).

IF any school or organization is interested in having a VALUABLE blog, then think of investing money in keeping ONE. When I say valuable I mean it is something that written with proper research done, with accurate information, with time to response to comments and come back with answers, with time and efforts to stilmulate traffics and readerships… and many more reasons. Until that happens, blogs are just some passing fancy for most people. Passing fancy in the sense that to maintain a good blog takes more efforts than most of us could afford without being pay to drop other important things in our life. For example, if someone is going to pay me to keep my blogs, my blog would become my ‘bread-and-butter’, and I would have to put in all my efforts to make sure I am keeping this ‘job’. AND since they are paying me, they make sure I have the right credentials to do a good job. And that spells for the life-spans of a blog. At this point, I only write when I have time, and when other things are less important than the blog …

Perhaps they do not call them blogs. But there are organiztions that use professional writters to manage/maintain ‘blog’. And these are the blogs that I would spend my time reading. Such as this blog.

We must also understand readerships and quality of blogs go hands-in-hands. Without readerships bloggers get discourage and stop (and if paid blog would mean not worth to spend money on)…

Tom Daccord comments that it is difficult to grade a blog, so I thought you might like to see 46 rubrics on the subject:
Rubistar Blog Rubrics
I haven’t evaluated these rubrics, and am just offering them for general perusal.

Andy -

Which blog sites are best for use in the classroom - that is, the teacher is the administrator, posts can be monitored, and access can be controlled. Thanks.

Kevin, the best free, open source software blog platform is b2Evolution. You can find it at http://b2evolution.net

It’s the blog platform of choice for my school district. I’ve also put up other blogging resources here:
http://tinyurl.com/yofz7d

Wishing you well,
Miguel Guhlin
Around the Corner-MGuhlin.net
http://mguhlin.net

Thank you for the article and thank you to all who have posted — very useful information. Anything that furthers my self-reflection is of great value to me. I began blogging via a free educators’ opportunity offered by TESOL (www.tesol.org)a few years back (2003?)[when they were not usually free]. I’ve experimented very briefly with different blog hosts. My most successful blog was one I created for the primary purpose of sharing my adventure of teaching/living in South Korea for one year. I posted over 500 photos, and wrote fairly consistently. [Unfortunately, that was an annual fee-based blog, and I decided this past year to discontinue paying for it, so it is not open and available to share with you now.] However, I was much less successful getting more than a few students involved in it, and personally disappointed at the lack of comments I received.
Since this inception, I’ve discovered Moodles and am a “Moodle Maniac!” [http://www.abavirtual-learningcenter.org] One question I have is how would one explain (in plain English) the difference between a blog and a CMS/LMS (course/learning management systems) like the Moodles that I love to use? Threaded and searchable discussions are much preferred by me than blog posts’ comment-strings.
I have a few inactive blogs floating around (although I try to post periodically or to delete them). In my experience, my personal motivation lags with blogs when there’s not frequent activity. With Moodles, it’s easy to track activity, easier to spark activity, easier to “feed” off other participants’ entries.
My most recent blog: http://www.tales-around-the-world.blogspot.com
Recently, “blogs” seem to be the preferred buzz again — and I’m curious as to why? (over WIKIs, over management systems like Moodle)?
Comments? Thanks again,
Holly

Andy,

I arrived at your article on the Internet Highway via Edutopia, and was glad that I did; I found your short history of nearly everything blog both informative and interesting. I hadn’t realized that blogs were originally used as online journals, though I can certainly see why.

I was particularly interested in your mention of its use as a medium of communication between parents and teachers. I use email for that purpose, sending home general weekly updates of what we did in class that week and of what we will be doing the following week, and find it very useful—even if I often get a small avalanche of inquiries or concerns thereafter. I’m wondering about the efficacy of exploring the wonderful world of blogs for this purpose. All my parents have Internet access, so that wouldn’t be a problem; my real problem is the usual one: I am leery of the time that I might have to devote to it to make it worth maintaining, and would parents use it? Thanks for the food for thought.

Eleanor Daly

I am a first grade teacher and I found this whole article to be an eye-opener. I did not know of the history of blogging and I thank you for such a nice treatment of it. I like the idea of having children blog to give their thoughts on books. This could be a valuable tool in getting children to write AND talk about books at the same time. I am thinking of ways to try this out in September. Thanks again.

I am a first grade teacher and I found this whole article to be an eye-opener. I did not know of the history of blogging and I thank you for such a nice treatment of it. I like the idea of having children blog to give their thoughts on books. This could be a valuable tool in getting children to write AND talk about books at the same time. I am thinking of ways to try this out in September. Thanks again.

I read “What Exactly is a Blog, Anyway?” as a requirement for my instructional technology class, IT 7360. Dr. Wang is actually having us create a blog. I am so excited! Thanks for the history.

I have done all the preliminary stuff in setting up a blog, profile etc, but am handicapped because I can’t create a URL, which blocks me every time
Everything else is easy. A blog would ? URLs defeat meserve me well, for as a philosopher I could share Ideas, and as a much travelled person in Europe’ I could share my all my motoring experiences. URLs defeat me

I am really really new to computers,web,e-mail and all the new techno communicating that seems to be available.I’m 63yrs old so I did not grow up with computers.I’m just wondering,besides the educational uses of blogging,why would some one blog a personal journal/diary/log?

Great Article.
Thank you.

Hi Andy,
I am a high school English teacher with only a few years left before I retire, but I am so excited about blogging, and I can think of so many applications. Right now I am in the process of reading to fully educate myself before I jump in (wary of the pitfalls), and your blog was most helpful. Could you recommend a book or information source about blogging that is specific to educators?

Hello Sultana — I too have just started in on the whole student blogger attempt. See http://inside.isb.ac.th/sromary/student-bloggers/ I made a rubric for them and also gave them some freedom to personalize, but also worked hard at pitching the idea that this was their voice in a global discussion, and this seemed to resonate. They’re grade 8.

Andy,
Thanks for the information which was extremely helpful. I am interested in starting a blog with my students for summer reading. The kids are really excited about it. What do you recommend?

ditto on Wendy Goff comment

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Good explanation of blogs. I didn’t know that blogs or “Web logs” went back that far. I assumed they were a relatively new thing like Twitter or Facebook. My hesitation in starting one would be twofold, I don’t know who would want to read my blog and second I would probably realize that after a couple of days and let it drop. Any motivational advice…??

this site is so totally cool. i’m goin to go paint my belly button pink lol totally

man thiz is sooo DUMB!!!! PEACE OUT HOMIE!!!

LOL SIMILEY FACE BAE!!

lol!!!!!!!! :) ;P dude ur and old dude!!!!!!!! im jus jokin well yeah i don understand ur blog because im only 16 and im kind of dumb!!!

i like chocolate…do u wnat to make a blog abot it???? huh huh huh huh do ya do ya!!!

this doesnt even tell you what the definition is.

i cant believe im reading this for school

what does blog stand for

Lame website!!! Blogging is fun when yu doinn’ it not wen yu readinn’ bout. Still hav no idea wat blogginn’ is all about & really don’t care. Love, That Little KiMMiE.

I think this junk is lame this dont even help nobody by knowing this shyt

POPUPPS ARE OHK NIGGAH.!!!!! KiMMiE & Berlyn are uqly ass…….yhu dudee i like myspace. bloqqs suck nd so do yhu =]

WHEN I SAY “ASS” I MEAN AS OHK PPL? THNXX HAVE A SUPER FANTABULOUS DAY.!!!!!! =] =]

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