The Educator's Guide to Blogs

Fostering a Professional Learning Network (PLN) is a valuable way to grow as an educator. Following, commenting on, and authoring blogs are great ways to build your PLN. Here are some helpful tips.

What is a blog?

A blog (a portmanteau of the term web log) is a discussion or informational site published on the World Wide Web and consisting of discrete entries ("posts") typically displayed in reverse chronological order (the most recent post appears first). Until 2009 blogs were usually the work of a single individual, occasionally of a small group, and often were themed on a single subject. More recently "multi-author blogs" (MABs) have developed, with posts written by large numbers of authors and professionally edited. MABs from newspapers, other media outlets, universities, think tanks, interest groups and similar institutions account for an increasing quantity of blog traffic. The rise of Twitter and other microblogging systems helps integrate MABs and single-author blogs into societal newstreams. Blog can also be used as a verb, meaning to maintain or add content to a blog. (From Wikipedia entry "Blog)

How do I find blogs that would interest me as a teacher?

  • A list of some of my favorite educational blogs

  • On the side of most blogs you will find a blogroll which will list other blogs the author follows. This is a good way to find other blogs on similar topics.
  • When you find an interesting post that someone shares on Twitter, Plurk, FB, or another network, subscribe to that blog so that you get future posts.

How can I keep track of all the blogs that I want to follow?

  • Use a RSS Feed Aggrigator. I use Google Reader, but there are others out there.
  • When you come across a blog you'd like to follow, subscribe to the blog with Google Reader. All future posts will automatically be added to your Google Reader Account.
  • When you find a post upon which you'd like to comment, click on the title of the post in Google Reader. This will take you to the actual blog post where you can comment?

What should I do when I come across a blog post that I really like, find interesting, or even disagree with?

  • Leave a comment. Commenting is your way of collaborating with other educators - both the author and other readers of the blog.
  • Commenting allows you to develop relationships with other educators, necessary for getting the most out of your PLN.
  • Share the blog post with your PLNs on Twitter, Plurk, and Facebook.

I've been thinking of starting a blog, but I don't really have anything interesting to say.

  • Nonsense. What you think is obvious and uninteresting is exactly what some other educator out there needs to hear. The only difference between those teachers writing blogs and you is that they are taking the step of sharing their knowledge with others.

Should my students be blogging? Is it safe?

  • Yes, and Yes. There are several sites that allow you to allow your students to share their learning with the world in a safe way.
  • Is Student Blogging REALLY Worth Our Time?
  • Advantages to student blogging:
    • Students write for an audience other than just their teacher
    • Students have owndership of an on-line space that is theirs where they can share their learning
    • Feedback can come from many sources instead of only the teacher via comments
    • Parents, friends, and other family members can see in real time the learning going on in your classroom
    • Connect students to other classrooms around the world by letting kids comment on each others' blog posts.
  • Great, safe blog platforms for kids - Kidblog, Weebly, EduBlogs, Class Blogmeister