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A blog or "web log" is a type of website, usually maintained by an individual with regular entries of commentary, descriptions of events, or other material such as graphics or video. Entries are commonly displayed in reverse-chronological order. They are used to reflect, share opinions, and discuss various topics in the form of an online journal while readers may comment on posts. One benefit of blogs as opposed to websites is that a blog can be edited from any computer with internet access.

Why use Blogs in the classroom?

Blogs are extremely beneficial in education. Blogs are a way for students to interact with other students from the class outside of class time. A blog allows collaboration between students. They are able to re-articulate and discuss material learned in class helping others as well as themselves have a better grasp on the material. This collaboration is important. It allows students to help each other out, enhancing both their cognitive and social skills. This is especially helpful to students who do not feel comfortable speaking in class, because they are often more open to ask questions or provide feedback when posting on a blog.

Blogs are helpful to the teacher because they can be used in any content area. A blog also allows the teacher to immediately assess how well her students are understanding the material. Because a blog takes away the face to face confrontation, students will be more apt to give honest feedback. They will probably find it easier to tell their peers and teacher if they do not understand something. This could also help the teacher learn what teaching strategies are effective and which ones need to be revised.

What to be careful with when using a blog with your students.

Students might have a hard time remembering to interact with a blog or may not have access to the internet in their homes. This needs to be considered when making a blog a mandatory requirement. Also teachers need to make sure that blogs remain an appropriate and safe place for students to interact. This might be a matter of discussing with students what is appropriate to post and what is not. Overall, both of these problems can be overcome with some critical thinking and should not be a hindrance in successfully using a blog in the classroom.



Great Blog Sites

Blogger
Blogger



www.blogger.com : This is a Google run program that allows you to create free blogs.


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www.wordpress.com : This is also a free site to create blogs, but it has some added free features such as themes, ten step tutorial, and widgets.


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www.thoughts.com : This blog site is free to create a blog, but works more as a social network. It has privacy settings, live chat, and provides ways in which to connect with "like minded" people.



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www.blog.com : This is a free blog site that includes not only themes and widgets, but also multi-author blogs.

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www.myblogsite.com : This is a free blog site that includes the normal features, but has some cool extras like a name specific web address as well as a email notification system.




external image PE1.gifBlogs in the Physical Education Classroom

As a future Physical Education major, I feel blogs are a great way for students to keep up
with nutrition plans, workout logs, and many other health related issues. It is also a great way for teachers to get feedback from their students. In Physical Education, a blog would be a great way for students to share ideas with other students. On a blog a student could state something that he is having trouble with, and hopefully another student can help him. Sometimes a student can not get the skill that a teacher is trying to teach, but another student can get the information across in another way.

I always think of PE blogs as being especially useful for students who are working on the same training regimen, most typically for high school students. Even on professional diet, training, and weight loss sites, blogs are a great way for users to share thoughts on struggles and successes. It serves as a way for the students to help each other out and feel like they're doing the program as a group. This foundation of support is especially important for a training program because much of it carries over to outside of the classroom. The blog is a great way to keep students engaged in their routine and keep in part of the schedule. By having students blog about their progress, the teacher can help the students stay on task with the program. This is a great tool to use as a weight loss journal. Students could get inspiration from each other and learn from each other how to lose weight in a healthy way. It would serve a support group to help motivate each other.

Not only are blogs beneficial for all the above mentioned reasons, they are also helpful because they are mostly done out of class. This doesn't cause a problem because it keeps the students active in their physical education classes. Not only that, but it allows students to show they are doing homework without being tied down with a ton of time consuming homework.

Blogs can be used in Physical Education for many different reasons, but one that is not usually thought of is a current event blog. As the Physical Education instructor, you could create a blog about the hot topics in sports and health and have the students comment on the issues to get some feedback from your students. It incorporates technology into your classroom and doesn't rely on physical assessment to evaluate your students. Options to think about for a current event blog include: sports news, health issues, olympic games updates, or general discussion about the current lesson in class.

external image business-school.jpgBlogs in the Business Classroom

As a future Business Education teacher, I think blogs will be a really good way to communicate with my students, as well as keep them updated on assignments, due dates, etc. I enjoyed the blogs we did in SE300 and enjoyed reading what the other students had to say about the topic at hand. I think using blogs in my Business Ed classes will be another way for the students to help each other if needed.

In my Marketing lesson, I used blogs instead of worksheets. For example, I had the students read an article on promotion and there were 3 questions at the end. I inserted the questions into a blog and had the students answer on my website. This worked better than a worksheet because (1) it was a hands-on approach to learning and (2) they got to read the other students responses and use toward critical thinking. We had the computers there in the class; I thought, we might as well use them and integrate the technology into the classroom. It also worked great when I had to be out of the class and the students had questions on the assignment. I created a blog for questions and I received over 40 blogs about the assignment. I feel like these questions would have never been asked during class; the students really got into it and as a result, their post-assessment to my unit was successful. (Jessica D.)

external image globe.jpgBlogs in the Social Studies Classroom

Social studies blogs can be used for discussion outside of the classroom. A teacher can link
an article or webpage and ask a question that the students are then able to discuss. The topic can be about things that were talked about in class previously, or a subject or event that will be covered the following day. The information that they discuss on the blog can then be incorporated or discussed in the classroom, or it could be used as an enrichment activity. The best thing about blogs are the ability for people to read other posts. If one of our goals as teachers is to help students become comfortable with viewpoints that possibly contradict their own, this is way to start. Students can post their ideas and opinions without the possibility of being teased, bullied, or shut down. Unfortunately, students could be bullied on blogs as well, there is no guarantee that a student will not be bullied, there will always be people that feel the need to be mean but, blogs are a great way to get students to express their opinions. They may feel more comfortable doing so on a blog, rather than in a classroom. Plus, they have more time to put their thoughts together when responding to a blog.

Blogs can also be a great way to get students involved in learning outside the classroom. Blogs can be a place where students can discuss things they might be interested in, yet there is not enough time in the classroom to get into depth on the topic. For example, history is full of topics that students are interested in, but never get discussed in class. So, maybe you could be talking about economics in an American history class, which many students find uninteresting, but in a blog, you can talk about how piracy and the shipping industry has affected American economics in the past. This topic of piracy, which may not fit neatly into the classroom curriculum, could be used as a topic to draw students into the topic of economics.

external image math%20symbols.jpgBlogs in the Math Classroom

Blogs are also a great source of technology for mathematics teachers to incorporate into their classroom. For mathematics, blogs would be a great way for students to discuss assigned math problems from their homework. There are usually several different ways to solving math problems. By talking to their peers, students can learn other ways (some which might be easier for them) to solve problems than the way the teacher teaches them. Sometimes students can gain more understanding of certain concepts by hearing explanations from their peers. Thus, blogs provide a great place for this type of communication between classmates.

Since math is sometimes very abstract, creating blogs for students to post might be very beneficial for students who struggle making connections with the material. If students are struggling with homework problems, having a blog to brainstorm different ways to approach the problem might help them put their ideas together and create a solution. Also, if students are working on projects as a group, blogs could help them stay in contact with other members and make sure everyone does their fair share of the work. Having the students work together in class or through the blog on their own time would be an easy for the teacher to monitor what progress is being made and when/if there are issues arise.
I think that creating a blog for students, especially in a higher level math class, would be really helpful. I think that in a Geometry class students could definitely benefit from a class blog where they could discuss different ways to attempt doing some of the more difficult proofs so that they could get the ideas flowing and could hopefully be able to collaborate as a class and work their way through a proof instead of them coming to class the following day saying that they have no idea how to do the proof, hopefully they would be able to at least get a start on the proof, or know what they need to do, but maybe not be one hundred percent sure on how to go about doing that.

external image banner_consumerscience.gifBlogs in a FAC's Classroom

Blogs are such a great way to hear what the students are thinking and feeling. As a FAC's teacher, I could have students blog on each subject I teach such as what meals they would like to make, what meals they did not like making, what type of clothing they would like to make in the sewing unit, what their dream house would be. I could have them do this before the unit and then I could read those and see how I could include that on my lesson to help them get motivated with learning. This way it will show that I am listening and care for my students.

external image english-clipart%20Books%20and%20glasses.JPGBlogs in the English Classroom

I can't say enough for blogs in the English content area. Students can keep a daily blogging journal as opposed to keeping a crowded stack of composition books in the back of the classroom. Since we can't assume all students have internet access, we can allow a full week for three entries, or something like that. Also, students can post their poetry or other prose writing on their blogspot and feel as if it's published.

I like the idea of using a classroom blog for peer editing projects. Students could post drafts of their work on the blog, and other students could respond to the work, giving feedback and suggestions. I think using a blog for peer editing would take peer editing to the 21st century. Plus, since students could remain more anonymous on a blog, they might be more honest; shy students might even have the courage to make themselves heard on a blog.

Another great use of blogs is to keep students and the teacher updated. Teachers can post about new assignments, tests, and due dates, that way the students have access to the information 24/7. This is a fool-proof way of getting around the excuse "You didn't tell me it was due!" Also it is a way that teachers can get feedback from students. Especially with the anonymity, students could post how they feel about certain aspects of the classroom or assignments, and the teacher can view what they need to change. If the teacher sees that the students are struggling with a specific topic, they can make sure and spend extra classtime covering that and making sure the students understand.

Without question, blogs in the English classroom are a valuable component. Not only can students post their experiences or problems with assignments but, other students can respond to their posts and aid the struggling students. With the use of a blog, students collaborate and help each other out. Yes, it is vital that the teacher always helps the student out but, when students help other students this is generates a highly recognized teaching technique, student collaboration. I could see myself using over an assigned novel. After reading two chapters, I would have the students post their reactions and what they think will happen next in the novel.

external image music-notes-21289694.jpgBlogs in the Music Classroom

Blogs can be surprisingly helpful in the music classroom. They are a good way to continue discussion outside of the classroom. Students can post comments to a blog and develop a greater understanding for a piece of music, a composer, an era of music, or the society a composer lived in as well as their personal strengths and weaknesses as a musician. Blogs could add to the understanding of the composers motive, why he/she wrote a piece, or the background and symbolism of a piece of music. It could also help in discussions of terms and common techniques used in composition in an era of music, such as recitative and how it came to be used. Or twelve-tone music and how it came about and why.

Blogs can also be used in ensemble classes such as band or choir. Students can write a short entry about what they practiced for that day, what they had problems on, and how they worked to fix those problems. This will also allow the teacher and/or other students to comment on that blog and give tips to help whatever problems they have had. By putting this information in a blog, it also will help the students to be less self-conscious because everyone will have to recognize their own weaknesses and help one another as well as assist students in gaining the help they need outside of the classroom during odd hours. Blogs can also be used to help students to understand the mood and meaning of a piece of music they are performing. Some choral works have very complex undertones, and thorough discussions of the piece are required for students to be able to perform it properly. The ensemble can discuss together on a blog to enhance the overall effect of a piece, and post new links to cool performances of that piece of music.

Blogs can be extremely helpful in pedagogy classes. The instructor can set up a blog for different journals and recordings so students can find articles they are interested in from a list of approved journals. For example, if a student finds an article on bel canto singing, she may post the link with her own pros and cons and ask for everyone else's opinion. Here the students can discuss the article on their own time and other material can be covered in class. Blogs will also encourage students to intelligently discuss the article and get new ideas of how to incorporate that information into their music life. Student will interact more with this process of sharing information through blogging.

Here's a good example of a STRINGS blog, here

external image nullimg-placeholder_regular.jpg Blogs in the Foreign Language Classroom
Blogs in a language classroom can be used in many of the aforementioned ways. They can function as a great collaboration tool and provide a wealth of information to students that, because of time restraints, cannot be discussed in class. Some specific uses can be to give students the opportunity to look at pictures, watch video, and read about real life situations and people of another culture. Not only can teachers create their own blogs and post information from their own travels and studies, but they can also link to blogs of people who are native speakers of the target language. This would not only provide a wealth of cultural information, but it would also function as an authentic reading resource. Many students may not personally know a native speaker, so a blog would open the door to this type of connection an interaction. Teachers can even create blogs entirely in the target language and have students read an comment for practice and to test comprehension.