HOT TOPIC: Blogging
Volume 1, Issue 5 - September 26, 2004

"Have you heard that the latest trend in instructional technology is blogging? A blog (short for web log) is actually a web page which allows visitors to read and reply to content on varied topics, most often successful because of the way it attracts birds of a feather from disparate geographical locations to one online location. Not only are blogs easy to set up and manage, they are quick in allowing visitors to post comment s in response to what the blog author has posted on his or her site. Think of the possibilities for the classroom! And if the ideas don’t come flowing easily, this week’s DD issue should help get the wheels turning!

Another salient feature of blogs is their ability to be syndicated and shared on other websites through RSS (the acronym for Really Simple Syndication). Developed in 1997 by UserLand and used extensively at first by Netscape, RSS has become a popular way to share content between web sites. It allows you to share the latest postings on your blog by showing them on a class web site, a personal home page, or anywhere else you would like to promote your blog.

The good news for educators is that, while there are many ways to pay for sophisticated blogging capabilities, there is a plethora of free blog hosting services online which can have you up and blogging in less than fifteen minutes. The larger question to ask yourself is, “once I have my blog published, what kinds of content do I plan to post there?” The most popular blogs feature new posts every day with all kinds of education-worthy topics for visitors to consider and respond to.

Then again, you may not opt to publish your own ideas on a daily basis. How about your students? What is the potential for groups in your classroom to post to a class blog as a virtual newspaper keeping readers up with all the learning taking place? Perhaps you could use a blog to promote daily journal writing or publish student work. Or maybe you could use a blog to allow students from your classroom to collaborate with students from other locations around the country online. The possibilities are only limited by your ability to imagine uses for this new technology tool.

This week’s issue presents both quality free blogging services and some great ideas for education ....."

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