You’ve decided that you’d like to experiment a little with new Web 2.0 tools, but there is so much information about so many different kinds of tools that you don’t know where or how to start. There’s good news for teachers who aren’t ready to jump into the deep end of Web 2.0 blogs! They can be as simple or as complicated as you want them to be. All you need to do is follow these steps.
1. Get Ready to Blog
First, check your district’s policy (Acceptable Use Policy) for Internet and computer use. Next, you need to find a blogging site. If you’re lucky, your school district already has a site for you to use. If not, many advertising-free sites are available, all with comparable features. The following sites are just two of the sites you can choose from:
A very popular blogging site. Unfortunately, because it hosts such a wide variety of content, some schools block it. It does have a wide variety of features, however.
A blog site exclusively for educators. You can choose from many themes and templates
As soon as you’ve registered and taken the tutorial for a blogging site, you’re ready to move on to the next step.
2. Start Simple
A blog is really just an electronic diary that anyone in the world can read and respond to! A blog consists of a series of chronological entries. Each entry can be as short as a few sentences or as long as several paragraphs (like this one).
One of the simplest ways to use a blog is to communicate information about your classroom to parents and students. You can create entries students with course requirements, project descriptions, and due dates. You can even attach resources, such as worksheets and presentations.
To get the most benefit from a blog, you need to keep it accurate and up to date. If the latest information is always available in your blog, your students and their parents will get used to checking there first.
3. Borrow Ideas from Other Blogs
Once you and your students get used to using the blog, check out other teachers’ blogs for ideas. Here are a few examples to start with:
A blog used to share information and discuss The Ultimate Gift by Jim Stovell. This site also includes student blogs.
Middle school ESL students use a blog to practice English and share ideas.
A blog for a Spanish I class with multimedia features.
4. Make Blogging Part of Your Teaching
Once you’ve set up your blog, before you know it, you’ll think of dozens of ways to jazz up your blog and use its features to enhance your students’ learning. You’ll be out of the Web 2.0 wading pool and swimming confidently in the deep end. Good luck!