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With so many schools blocking student access to blogs it seems ridiculous that anyone would suggest blogging as a useful educational tool, right?

Wrong.

Blogs are tools, and like any tools they can be used or misused. Misuse occurs more often when there's a lack of instruction, so then why should schools turn a blind eye to them?

More and more, teachers are realizing exactly how cool blogs can be as a way to capture student interest and motivate them to learn.

So how can blogs be used to promote education? Let's take a look:


Teacher Blogs


Homework

For years there have been web-savvy teachers who posted their homework on a website for their students and parents. This can still be done with blogs, and with many services teachers can post assignments daily with no knowledge of html, css, rss, and other random combinations of letters.

Keep Parents in the Loop

Of course parents often like to know more about what's going on in your class than just "Do #s 2-106 on page 42." A teacher's blog could become an online newsletter that discusses all kinds of notable events such as units, scans of student work, field trip information and permission slips, and more.

Virtual Inservice

Many teachers have decided to use their blogs as a forum for sharing their views on educational psychology, technology, and so on. Other teachers have the power to post comments in each others' blogs or even write larger responses in their own blogs. The result is a series of conversations where teachers share their knowledge and experiences with each other where everyone comes out better informed at the end.


Class Blogs


This week in class, we...

Some teachers encourage students to work as a group on a single blog, resulting in a sort of online newspaper where different students work on different articles. Knowing that their audience is now not just the teacher but the entire world, students often end up going above and beyond what they would ever do if they just had to submit a report, two pages, double spaced, MLA format.

Student Work

Along the same lines, each student could have their own blog where they can post their assignments. The teacher and classmates could then comment on each student's work, providing concrete evidence of class participation.

Celebrate and Share Class Learning & Successes
Share the achievements, learning & successes that your students are having in your classroom. Parents and relatives from overseas can view and comment on learning taking place. This is also a great way to celebrate the great things that are happening in your classroom.... no longer will students be able to say to parents that they did "nothing" at school today!

Networking
Use your blog to network with other schools within the country or across the world! Perhaps you could exchange mascots/toys via mail and then use your blog to record all the amazing things they get up to on the other side of the country/world. Great to encourage writing and digital photo taking.... plus you would have a REAL audience (the other class!). Students could also find out more about the other students in the class... do they have similar likes/dislikes/hobbies etc.