Blog If You Love Learning: An Introduction to Weblogs in Education

(Or, Practical Blogging)

CLMS/CLHS/NHSA and CUE Technology Conference

November 18, 2006

The session agenda/notes are provided below. Please feel free to add to these resources by clicking on "Edit This Page" above.


Live Demonstration

  • What is a blog?
  • What is the read/write web?
  • What do these things mean for you and your students?

The Read-Only Web

  • Powerful resource for educators and students, but…
  • Information moves from publishers to consumers
  • Information cannot be edited
  • One-Way Web (Web 1.0)

The Read/Write Web

  • It is now as easy to create as it is to consume.
  • Anyone can publish, share, and change information
  • Two-Way Web (Web 2.0)
  • This is changing our world!


  • Web + Log = weblog, or “we blog”
  • Easily created
  • Easily updated
  • If you can email, you can blog.
  • Blogs allow visitors to comment.

Educational Blogs

  • Teacher web sites
  • Class web sites
  • Learning journals
  • Book Clubs
  • Connect with Authors and Experts
  • Pen pals
  • Professional Development
  • Reflective Practice
  • (Free Blogs for Teachers!)

Engagement and Motivation

  • Digital Natives already enjoy these technologies
  • Interactive and responsive
  • Personalized
  • Appeal to multiple learning styles


  • Students access, process, and create
  • Authentic Purpose
  • Authentic Audience
  • It’s about content and communication - not the technology


  • Students discover, explore, and contribute
  • Authentic problems
  • Individualized
  • Empowering


  • Students connect with peers and experts
  • Interpersonal skills
  • Tools of the 21st Century workplace
  • Results oriented


  • Students consume, consider, and compose
  • Writing is learning
  • So is creating and editing other media
  • Metacognition
  • Reflective Practice
  • And Feedback!

Information Literacy

  • Relevance?
  • Source?
  • Agenda or bias?
  • Fact Checking
  • Trusted Sources

Inappropriate Content

  • Offensive, sexual, or violent content
  • Due Diligence
  • Increasingly difficult to filter
  • Appropriate responses to the inevitable

Inappropriate Sharing

  • Students may post:
    • Inappropriately
    • Unsafely
    • Irresponsibly
    • Provocatively
    • Illicit or illegal behavior
  • Students will post outside of school!

Threats and Cyber-bullying

  • Students may post threats
  • Threats that impact attendance or academics are a school concern
  • Credible threats may be a criminal matter

Free Speech Concerns

  • Students do have 1st Amendment Rights
  • Parody is protected
  • We cannot control students, we can educate them

Intellectual Property

  • Academic Honesty
  • Copyright Law
  • Digital Millennium Copyright Act of 1998
  • Alternative licenses

Fraud and Identity Theft

  • Students may put their families and friends at risk
  • Students are at risk
  • Fraud
  • Theft
  • Identity Theft

Stalkers and Predators

  • Most serious consequence of inappropriate sharing
  • Predators do hunt children through online social networks
  • Students can protect themselves

Another Perspective

  • Citizen Journalism
  • Citizen Police Work
  • Threats, suicides, and risky behavior are often reported
  • Sting operations catch criminals
  • “My space is safer for teens than predators.”

Lack of Understanding

  • Fear of the Unknown
  • Some adults vilify technologies with many benefits
  • Deleting Online Predators’ Act 2006
  • Potential for rebellion and destruction of trust

Proactive Strategies

Legal Protections

  • Child Internet Protection Act (CIPA)
    • Filtering, Monitoring, & Policies
  • Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act (COPPA)
    • Policies, Parental Consent, Protection of Info
  • Adam Walsh Child Protection and Safety Act
    • Stiff Penalties for Offenders, National Registry

Safety Tips for Students

  • Do not share identifying information.
  • Do not share personal information.
  • Do not share provocative images.
  • Beware of grooming.
  • Consider the consequences and the future.
  • Talk with parents, teachers, or other trusted adults.

Safety Tips for Parents

  • Move computers into shared spaces & make monitors visible
  • Watch for Alt+Tab (or Alt+F4)
  • Check history (is it suspiciously blank?)
  • Beware a reluctance to be candid

What else can teachers do?

  • Communicate with students
  • Communicate with other educators
  • Communicate with IT
  • Communicate with the police
  • Confront students who are behaving in irresponsible, inappropriate, or unsafe ways. Do not look the other way.


  • How can you use blogs in your role as an educator?
  • How might your students use blogs as part of their education?
  • What are your next steps?

Online Evaluation

Learn more about blogs in education: - Will Richardson’s blog - David Warlick’s blog - Anne Davis’ blog - Wes Freyer’s blog - A Wiki about blogs in education - A great example of a blogging school!