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

This wiki was created to support the "Blog If You Love Learning" presentation for the k12online conference 2006. Please feel free to contribute your notes from the session by clicking on "Edit This Page" above.

Presentation Notes:

Recording and editing video to deliver a presentation is time consuming! Any help collecting and sharing the links I mention during the presentation will be appreciated. Otherwise, I'll be back to do that... but feel free to pitch-in in the meantime!

Your contribution here!


Fantastic Blog Ideas (F.B.I's :) : I think it would be great to have sections that would give ideas as to what we could include on different types of blogs to help teachers get started. For example, if we had a a Language Arts teacher who was interested in starting a blog with her elementary class, what could it look like or what could they do with it with details on how it could be done.

The first blog I did was with my Myths & Legends class last spring. We tried a collaborative writing activity, and wrote The World's Tallest Tall Tale. It got to be pretty weird, but the kids really loved working on it. I'll try it again this year, but with some more specific guidelines. (Nancy Scofield)
  • Ian: What sort of guidelines would you put on it? Did you feel that it improved their writing? What age level would you put this under? It sounds like a great idea similar to that campfire game where you went around the circle adding parts to the story when you were pointed at or it got to your turn in the circle. How did it feel to do blogs with your students. Maybe we should start a section on First Time Blogging for those who are looking to start at blog and want to avoid any pitfalls that others have experienced.
The Myths & Legends class is high school level, grades 10-12. Since it was our first blogging experience, I didn't have many directions for them. Each entry was to be a paragraph (some of those were very short paragraphs!) and was to build on the previous edits to the story. Next time I'll incorporate some Six Trait Writing guidelines to help them along.

Elementary Blogs:

  • On a blog post a picture of a unique object, something the kids have not seen before. Have them write a description of what they think it is, where it is from and how it is used. Students could then comment on their classmates' guesses and either support or reject their thoughts.

Junior High/Middle School/High School Blogs:
  • An idea for a technology classroom have students create a blog off ideas for a specific type of program such as Microsoft Word or Adobe Photoshop. Each student writes about their favorite tool to use or trick to do (especially in Photoshop I could see this) and the others could find out new tricks from reading the other blog entries. This idea originally sprung from a committee writing little "how-to" mini manuals to burn to a CD for the rest of the staff. It would be a better fit on a blog or wiki where it could be continually updated and modified.
  • My 11th grade English class is doing a Weekly Musings blog. Sometimes it's based on a quote, other times it coordinates with the literature we're covering at the time. Some weeks it's shorter, other weeks a longer assignment. Sometimes students suggest a topic. It's been great to watch them return to the blog several times throughout the week to comment to each other and to see who's commented to them. It's also opened up the classroom so that 1st hour students write to 2nd hour, and vice versa. Often if I get the blog topic posted on Sunday, there are already a few comments by the time we get to school Monday morning.
Class Newsletter Style Blogs:
To get this area started, I want to post something my wife said. I was spouting the huge benefits of using blogs with children and how it gives them an audience. She stared at me for a bit, interspersing her staring with some polite nods of the head. When I was done, she asked me if it wouldn't be easier to just write it down on paper and why, even if they posted their work on the web, wouldanyonewant to read it?
Do kids really care about having their work out there? What if no one reads it?
If it is children in the class reading it, why can't they do that in the classroom?
Aren't most children just happy having their parents read their work?
If their work is out there and children are motivated by having others reading it, how do we ensure that it gets read by others besides the students?
Are there any other questions out there? Maybe it would be neat to start a "Make Me A Believer F.A.Q"
Is there any research out there that shows the benefits of using blogs on the web?