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Blogs Spark Creativity

Updated: Feb 23, 2022

Brian Solis discusses on his site how the above Conversation Prism "gives you a whole view of the social media universe, categorized and also organized by how people use each network." Although Brian is an analyst who studies the effect of social media and disruptive technology on business, marketing, entertainment and culture; his insights are very useful to education. In his work, he shares with organizations best strategies that enable the business to achieve its objectives and priorities. I believe that we can use our knowledge of educational pedagogy and Brian's insights to help us discover how blogs (among other Web 2.0/social media tools) can be used to engage students in listening, learning, sharing and most of all creating.

Blogs are just one of the cool Web 2.0 tools that can foster creativity in students. They are the other news engines. Forget newspapers, magazines and even "official" news websites. Blogs are one of the fastest growing information providers. They are created everyday and for a thousand different reasons. Kids blog and teachers blog (independently) so why aren't they being used in the classroom where the two can come together. Blogs give students the opportunity to share their voice, their knowledge with the world. As one education blog states, bloggers "immortalize their life events". What if educators allowed students to do this? Immortalize what they have learned in a particular course? How great would that be? Students and moms would not have to worry about saving old notebooks and flashcards or trying to remember if that old History book was sold at the yard sale last month. I am here to tell you that innovative educators like yourself can easily start blogging with your students. Let's go over some basics first and then we will dive into how to get started.

A blog is......

"a personal website that contains content organized like a journal or a diary. Each entry is dated, and the entries are displayed on the web page in reverse chronological order, so that the most recent entry is posted at the top. Readers catch up with blogs by starting at the top and reading down until they encounter material they’ve already read. " It is like a digital magazine with cool, new content everyday.

Is is unlike a website because....

-A website remains mostly the same.

-In blogs, each post has its static page ( its own URL ) although content can be edited.

-A blog has short posts/entries, follower widgets, and a commenting system.

-It is updated often (daily, weekly, monthly).

How to start a blog:

1. Visit a free blogging platform such as edublogs, kidblogs, wordpress, or blogger to sign up. Edublogs and Kidblogs are perfect for teachers who want students to have their own individual blog. If your school uses Blackboard or other learning management system, it is likely that a blog tool is incorporated. Check with your LMS administrator.

A. Understand all of the features on the platform and decide which you will use. For example, many platforms have widgets that allow users to subscribe to the blog among other tasks. You may want to include this feature to allow parents and other teachers to share in your students learning.

B. Ask for parents permission if you are using blogs in K-12 education.

2. Decide what you would like to cover in your blog (specific coursework such as projects or unit topics)

3. Decide who will be the blogger (students or teacher). There are benefits to both. If you make students contributors on your blog, they can add related content whenever or as part of a particular assignment or during a specified time in the course. If you are the blogger, you can choose a topic such as intro to each unit and have students make comments about the post as part of homework or to get students engaged/motivated.

4. Set rules for students and teach them how to comment and post properly. You also must choose if you will use the blog as part of the grade.

5. Create a code of ethics and teach students about online safety.

6. Make sure that all of your students have fair and equal access to computers. For example, if you know that many students do not have access to a desktop computer but may have a smartphone, use a platform such as blogger which has an app for iPhone and Android users. Students can read and make posts through the app.

7. Challenge students to think, analyze, synthesize and more. The goal is for blogging to enhance students higher order thinking skills and to encourage 21st century skills.

Check out the resources below for more information.

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