A blog (a blend of the term web log) is a type of website or part of a website. Blogs are 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. Blog can also be used as a verb, meaning to maintain or add content to a blog.

Most blogs are interactive, allowing visitors to leave comments and even message each other via widgets on the blogs and it is this interactivity that distinguishes them from other static websites.

Many blogs provide commentary or news on a particular subject; others function as more personal online diaries. A typical blog combines text, images, and links to other blogs, Web pages, and other media related to its topic. The ability of readers to leave comments in an interactive format is an important part of many blogs. Most blogs are primarily textual, although some focus on art (art blog), photographs (photoblog), videos (video blogging), music (MP3 blog), and audio (podcasting). Microblogging is another type of blogging, featuring very short posts.[1]

Blogs in Education

The use of blogs has become popular in educational institutions including public schools and colleges [1]. Blogs can be important tools for sharing useful information and tips among co-workers, dispersing information to students, or keeping in contact with parents. Teachers can create, monitor and edit blogs to ensure that the postings are appropriate and pertain to the classroom.

There are many teacher related blogs on the internet where teachers can share information with one another. This can include specific content that they are working on in their classroom or exemplary lessons that they wish to share with other teachers. It is a tool for educators to share ideas with one another on what has worked with students and what has not. Teachers can often rely on these sources to communicate with one another regarding any issues in education that they may be having including classroom management techniques and policies. In this way the blog often acts as a support system for teachers where they can access ideas, tools, and gain support and recognition from other professionals in their field. Some of these blogs have become nationally recognized as useful tools, especially teacher blogs which are directly making a difference in the educational system. Anthony Mullen’s blog, for example, is about a teacher traveling the United States discussing drop out rates and sharing his experience with others.

Teachers use blogs as a way to communicate and enhance classroom instruction among their students. It is easy to introduce the use of blogs in the classroom and allows both the teacher and student the ability to edit and add content at any time. The ability for both the teacher and student to edit content allows for study to take place outside the classroom environment. Blogs increase exposure to other students from around the country or world while improving writing and communication skills. Teachers are using blogs as a way to post important information such as homework, important dates, missed lessons, projects, discussion boards, and other useful classroom information that is accessible by all. Students can access this information from home, or from any computer that is connected to the Internet.

Students can use blogs to communicate with other students for group projects as well. Students can also access the blog to ask each other questions regarding a missed assignment or lesson. It also gives students an opportunity to collaborate on poetry, various writing assignments, or readings. Students can respond initially to the text, including their thoughts, feelings, connections, questions etc. Other students would have the opportunity to respond and react to these responses. This would generate conversation amongst the students and develop their critical and analytical thinking skills. It also allows students who are shy and reserved in class to voice their opinions and insight using a different approach. With the use of blogs in the classroom students learn from one another and individually express themselves as well. In higher education blogs are often used as reflective journals. [2]. These blogs can be private between student and tutor or can be shared with the class.

The use of blogs in education gives students a global perspective. Teachers from different states, countries, and continents are able to collaborate on different projects and learnings. A classroom in China can collaborate with classrooms in Germany, Mexico, Australia, etc. with just a few clicks of a button. Learning through blogs allows students to take control of their own learning and steer it to their own needs. Students are able to see that opinions and even strategies vary based on location and culture. Children are all different, but a common thread of learning can unite them. The use of blogs in the classroom embeds technological literacy in children that will help them in adulthood.

Teachers and parents can also use blogs in order to communicate with one another. Information can be posted for parents on special events occurring in the classroom such as field trips, celebrations, and presentations. Blogging is also a central tool for parents to find out daily assignments so that they can check up on their children and classroom expectations. Having this clear and open communication between parents and students can ensure success. (The Child Development Institute). Assisting parents on what is developmentally appropriate for their children on a blog could open communication and help parenting skills as well. A teacher's first priority is to educate their students, but educating and communicating openly with parents through blogs is a helpful tool to keep lines of communication open between teachers and student families.[2]
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