Extend the Discussion with Blogs

As I wrote in an earlier post, if I had to choose one Web 2.0 tool to use to enhance my classroom practice, it would be the Blog. Today, I’m giving a presentation on Blogging for some of my colleagues at the college, which has led me to put some of my thoughts into rather more focussed points: what exactly are the pros and cons of blogging in education?

You can find the outline of my presentation on SlideShare

You might recognize some of the points in my “reading” and “writing” pages for students and instructors as adapted from a matrix created some years ago by my friend Scott Leslie. I am constantly enriched by the activities, both online and otherwise, of my local cohort of ed-tech gurus, starting, of course, with our own Clint Lalonde.

A very interesting article from The American Historians Association
debunks some of the myths surrounding blogging.

Blogs Mentioned in Presentation

Cabinet of Wonders
Mirabilis.ca
Science Blogs (a blog that also lists and links to other blogs)

Recommended Blogging platforms:

WordPress I like WordPress for its clean, professional, look. It is not the most user-friendly of the blogs, so I might suggest it for more advanced users. It also does not lend itself quite so well to community or collaboration as does LiveJournal.

Livejournal is unfairly dismissed by the ed-tech elite as too “cutesy” and “teenage angst ridden” – like any of the blogs, the content determines the quality. There are as many thoughtful and serious writers in LJ as there are on any platform, and LJ is without parallel for its aggregation tool – the built in “friends page,” which allows a one-stop shopping place for students to find each-other and for you to find them.

I don’t recommend allowing students to choose different blogging platforms, as it becomes too complicated for commenting. Thus, I have tended to choose LiveJournal for student work and I maintain my own “professional” blog here on WordPress.

Edublogs is a WordPress type blogging service set up for educators.

You’ll notice that I haven’t mentioned Blogger. I find it the least user-friendly of the top three services, and don’t find it as customizable as either LJ or WordPress.

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