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What is a blog?

A blog is a blend of the words web and log.  A blog is software that lets young students, celebrities, high school teachers, parents, companies, anyone, to publish information on the Internet.  It's a journal, a newspaper, a way to publish ideas, arguments, announcements, and thoughts very quickly, and without technical or time limits. It essentially makes anyone a published writer. In fact, many established writers now publish their own blogs.

In simple terms, a blog is a web site, where you write on a continuing basis. New posts display at the top, so your visitors can read what's new. Then they comment on it or link to it or email you. Your blog is whatever you want it to be.

Blogs have reshaped the web, impacted politics, shaken up journalism, and allowed millions of people to have a voice and connect with others.  There are conflicting statistics on how many bloggers exist but the Blogherald estimates that there are approximately 190 million blogs as of 2008.


Activity 1a:  Here are a few different examples of blogs.  Examine at least three of them.



How To Create a Blog

See Assignment One for details on this activity.

Most bloggers use a blogging service or provider.  This service is called a 'developer-hosted system.  This means that the software is hosted online and your responsibility is limited to filling out a few forms to join.  It also means that you may be limited by their rules or designs.

To get a hands-on feeling for the software, you'll be using an authentic developer-hosted system.  For this course, you will create your blog on Blogger, http://www.blogger.com, which is free and has an easy creation process.  It is also possible to use a Korean language interface if you wish to do so.  There are four simple steps to follow.

As you create your blog, think about how you might instruct your own students to create a blog. 

Read the following directions to learn how to create your own blog.

blogger first page



Step One

Go to Blogger.com

In the top right hand side of the page, select the language you wish to use.  It will be possible to change this later.

Click on the Create Your Blog Now arrow


Permission for the use of these screenshots has been obtained at [Google Permissions]



Step Two

Enter your email address

Create an 8 character password.  Remember to write down this email and password because you will need it to login in to your blog.

Enter your name as the display name. This is the signature that will be used when you comment on any other blog so it should be familiar to your classmates.

Fill in the word verification letters (this is a security procedure) and accept the terms of agreement.

Click on the orange Continue arrow


Permission for the use of these screenshots has been obtained at [Google Permissions]

blogger three image



Step Three

Create a name for your blog.  You can choose any name you think represents you and the purpose of the blog

Create a URL for the blog.  This should be as short as possible. 

Check availability and if your URL is available, write it down.  This is the address you need to send to the Teaching with Technology blog.

Click on the orange Continue arrow.


Permission for the use of these screenshots has been obtained at [Google Permissions]





Step Four

Choose a template.

This template can be changed later.

Click on the orange Continue arrow


Permission for the use of these screenshots has been obtained at [Google Permissions]

blogger five image



Step Five

This is the page where you can write your first post. 

Before writing, click settings at the top of the page and then click comments.  Allow anyone to comment on your blog and then click the orange save button at the bottom of the page.  This will allow your classmates to write comments to you.

You may then make your first blog post.  Don't for get to click on the orange publish post  button at the bottom to create the posting.  You can view your page as soon as you publish.


Permission for the use of this screenshot has been obtained at [Google Permissions]





Working With Your Blog

Here are a few videos to help you with writing your first post, commenting, editing and customizing your blog.  If you would prefer to read instructions, you can do so at; Blogger Help.

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Create a post
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Editing a post
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Writing a comment
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Adding an image to your post
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Adding an image to your header
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Customizing your blog

Permission for the use of these screenshots has been obtained at [Google Permissions]



Blogs for you; the Teacher

Blogs can be useful sources of information for teachers.  They can can be read or listened to, in the case of podcast blogs and they can provide new information on education, classroom management, technology for teaching or subject content.  Read How to Get Something out of Blogs from HuffEnglish.com.   Here are a few blogs that might interest you while you study here at KNUE.

Once you have examined a few blogs, you may be wondering how to find more blogs.  There are numerous sites that list blogs by category or description.  Examples of this are Technorati and TopBlogList.


Activity 1b: After examining at least two of the above blogs, write a short review of one on your blog.  What did you think of the content and layout of the blog? Would it be useful for you as a teacher/learner?  After you have written your own review, visit at least two of your classmates blogs and read/comment on their reviews.

You can visit individual blog websites or you can subscribe to blogs using RSS (Really Simple Syndication).  An RSS feed or aggregator allows you to gather all the blogs or websites you view regularly in one place, and it even tells you when they’ve been updated.  There are several ways to do this.  One method is by downloading software on to your computer and then installing it.  Another way is to use an online format and save the online page to your favorites so that you can return when you wish.   Yahoo.com allows users to create their own pages and choose news and entertainment using RSS.  One of the more popular RSS feeds is Bloglines.com, which allows users to select individual websites or select topics, which will then provide the user with a selection of blogs, podcasts and other source material.


Activity 1c: Get your own RSS feed.  Go to Bloglines and create a free account.  Follow the simple directions and use the quick pick subscription option that allows you to select topics that are interesting to you.  Once you have created your own RSS feed, write a blog post to recommend the blogs you chose for your RSS feed.




Blogging in Education

Why use blogs for education?

A blog;

Read Educational Blogging by Steven Downes and 20 Reasons Why Students Should Blog by Anne Mirtschen.


Here are a few suggestions for using blogs with your classes.

1. Classroom Management

Class blogs can create a community of learners. As they are easy to make and update, they can be used to inform students of class schedules, provide handouts, notices, and homework assignments, or act as a question and answer area.

2. Collaboration

Blogs provide a space where teachers and students can develop writing or other skills with an immediate and authentic audience. Teachers can give instructional assistance, and students can practice and benefit from peer feedback. They also make multi-level teaching possible. For example, a class of higher-level students can help a class of lower-level students develop better writing skills. Students can also participate in collaborative learning activities such as story writing, project design and presentations.

3. Discussions

A class blog allows students to discuss topics outside of the classroom. With a blog, every individual has an equal opportunity to share their thoughts and opinions. Students have time to reflect on ideas and then write.

4. Student Portfolios

Blogs can present student work as online e-portfolios. The postings can be compared as the student learns and materials improves. Additionally, when students realize their efforts will be published, they are usually more motivated to produce better writing. Feedback and comments can be saved on the blog for later referencing.

Read Uses of Blogs in Education, a compilation of ideas for using technology in the classroom. 


Activity 1d: How would you use a blog with your students?  Write a short blog posting describing how you might use the blogging technology.  Read some of your class member's ideas and comment on them.



Blogger.com: http://www.blogger.com

Campbell, AP (2003). 'Weblogs for Use with ESL Classes' The Internet TESL Journal 9(2) Viewed on May 22, 2008  http://iteslj.org/Techniques/Campbell-Weblogs.html

Downes, Steven (2004) Educational Blogging. Educause Review  Viewed on May 22,2008  http://connect.educause.edu/Library/EDUCAUSE+Review/EducationalBlogging/40493?time=1199505737

Helmond, Anne (2008). How Many Blogs Are Out There? Is Someone Still Counting?. Blog Herald. [Electronic]. Viewed on June 01, 2008 http://www.blogherald.com/2008/02/11/how-many-blogs-are-there-is-someone-still-counting/

Huffaker, David (2004).The Educated Blogger; Using Weblogs to Promote Literacy in theClassroom. Viewed on May 23, 2008 http://www.firstmonday.org/ISSUES/issue9_6/huffaker/index.html

Jones, Sharla (2006). Blogging and ESL Writing: A Case Study of How Students Responded to the Use of Weblogs As A Pedagogical Tool for the Writing Process Approach In A Community College ESL Writing Class, Viewed on May 22, 2008 http://www.lib.utexas.edu/etd/d/2006/jonesd17626/jonesd17626.pdf

Kessler, Greg. (2007).Formal and informal CALL preparation and teacher attitude toward technologyComputer AssistedLanguageLearning Vol. 20 Issue 2, p173-188, 16p, http://web.ebscohost.com.ezproxy.usq.edu.au/ehost/pdf?vid=1&hid=101&sid=3608c519-21cc-470f-8850-79792b96e21b%40sessionmgr104

HuffEnglish.com: http://www.huffenglish.com/

Jackson, Lorrie (2005) Blogging? It's Elementary, My Dear Watson!. Education World Viewed on May 22, 2008  http://www.education-world.com/a_tech/tech/tech217.shtml

Farrel, Henry.  Uses of Blogs in Education Pembina Trails Schools Division Viewed on May 22, 2008  http://www.pembinatrails.ca/program/technology/uses_of_blogs_in_education.htm

Mirtschen, Anne (2008) 20 Reasons Why Students Should Blog. On an Ejourney With Generation Y[blog] Viewed on May 22, 2008  http://murcha.wordpress.com/2008/03/14/20-reasons-why-students-should-blog/

 Technorati: http://technorati.com/pop/blogs/

TopBlogList: http://www.topbloglists.com/