Integrating Technology In K12/Using Blogs in the Classroom
What is Blogging? 
Definition and Components of Blogs 
What is a blog? What does it include? Who came up with the idea? What are the types of blogs? And lastly, what are some examples of actual blogs? These are some questions people have about blogging because blogging just came about and never really was explained. According to the article, “What is a Blog?,” a blog is defined as “a type of website that is usually arranged in chronological order from the most recent post at the tope of the main page to the older entries towards the bottom.” It consists of a theme which can be about basically anything the author of the blog, a blogger, wants it to be about. The author will choose this theme, for example a theme about family. Then, whenever the blogger wants to write a little something, they will usually in a shorter length paragraph. For a good blog, the blogger needs to stay with the theme of the blog and not linger away from it. Also, in order for a good blog, the blogger needs to be making regular blog entries so the audience will stay interested in the blog. Finally, for a really good blog, it should consist of interesting blogs, relating pictures, and links to other websites that relate to the theme. This is what a blog is and what should be included with the blogs.
History of Blogs 
Who came up with this concept of blogging? Well, according to the article, “Blog turns 10: Who’s the father?,” there are two men who believe they came up with this idea of blogging. The first man was named, Dave Winer. He was a “pioneer of web syndication techniques and editor of Scripting News” (Broache and McCullagh). He came up with the blogging site, Scripting News in 1997. It was a blogging site that started this trend of blogging today. It changed the face of blogging. This website was one of the longest web blogging. But, Winer isn’t the only who thinks he came up with this fade in blogging. A man by the name of Jorn Barger was also the other blogger who came up with the idea of blogging. Barger was a programmer who came up with the idea believes he was the first one to come up with “web log” or blogging. In the same year Winer came up with his web blog site, Barger also came up with his site called, RobotWisdom.com. This site had the theme of things that he found interesting such as culture, politics, etc. Today, Barger believes he was the first one that came up with this idea of blogging, but no one will actually know for sure. Basically, Winer and Barger both came up with this great idea of blogging that has changed the World Wide Web for forever.
Types of Blogs 
There are many types of blogs out there. In the article, “Types of Blogs,” it lists several different blogs that people can start and be interested in. The first one the article talks about is the personal blog. This blog is the “broadest category” (wordpress.com) among the blogging world because it consists of the themes politics, music, family, travel, health, etc. Many people write personal blogs when they first start writing blogs. The next type of blog is business. The business blog is for “shar[ing] expertise” (wordpress.com) and for business people to “engage with their customers” (wordpress.com). Another big blog that is becoming more popular is school blogging. In these blogs, “teachers and students…collaborate on classroom projects” (wordpress.com). Here a classroom can be established outside of the school. Personal, business, and school blogging are the top blogs, but others include nonprofits, politics, military, private, and sports to name a few of the other blogs. Anyone can participate in blogging because there are so many types to choose from. These are the types of blogs on the internet.
Examples of Blogs 
Finally, what are some famous blogs that are used today on the internet? Well, according to the article, “25 Best Blogs 2009,” the top three are Talking Points Memo, The Huffington Posts, and Lifehacker. These may sound unfamiliar, but other blogs include PerezHilton.com which is about gossip in the media dealing with celebrities. These blogs aren’t the only blogs out there. There are many more people can follow and comment on. These are the popular web blogs from people. Blogging is such a fun way to get your ideas and opinions out there. It’s so easy to start a blog, all one needs is a computer and internet access and find a theme one wants to talk about and update on often. Since, computers are so popular and it seems like everyone has one, it’s a great way for people to read your ideas and opinions on a subject. It can be the new newspaper. Even if one is not comfortable with computers, they can still web blog because all they have to do is follow instructions and start. It’s simple and a good way to get your ideas out there.
No Cost 
It is nice for people to be able to utilize blogging because it can be free. Although some websites may require a charge or cost, many of them do not. Anyone can use them as long as they have access to the internet. This is also why they are easy to incorporate into classrooms, is because there is no cost.
Blogs also allow people to use or form opinions on activities, objects, movies, books, or anything! After finding a trusted blog, people are able to use these blogs to rely on other peoples’ opinions. Blogs allow for freedom of speech to be practiced, within reason.
Improves Reading and Writing Skills 
Blogs are also beneficial, especially in classrooms, because writing experience and grammar can improve. Students learn proper online etiquette when using blogs online. It’s important to remind students to stay professional on blogs. If people do not sound professional with proper grammar, spelling, and punctuation who will take their blog seriously?(Himanshu, 2009) Since blogs improve writing skills, then it is obvious that they also do increase reading skills as well. Students can become better readers simply by reading all kinds of blogs they find online. Some blogs will be more advanced and will incorporate lots of new vocabulary into their writing forcing students to look up these new words, and add them to their own list of everyday vocabulary.
Creates Jobs 
Another advantage to blogging is that it can become a full time/ or part time job that people are paid to do. If writing is something enjoyed by someone and done really well, they often can submit their blogs to magazines or websites. These magazines and websites often reciprocate people based on readership or creativeness of ideas. (Ajith, 2009)
Writing on blogs with deadlines can improve self discipline and motivation. People learn to work hard without procrastinating until the last second to finish blogs. (Ajith, 2009) Time management skills increase by quite a bit since usually you only have a certain amount of time allotted to complete a blog. Blogs do not just create themselves. Since they take a lot of time just to come up with material to write, they also take even more time to sound educated and reliable. This idea forces people to plan ahead and work hard on their blogs.
Another advantage that blogging has is the networking. While blogging, people are able to connect with other people of the same interests, hobbies, or opinions. You can learn from each other and help spread new ideas or thoughts into other peoples’ lives. Even though you are not face-to-face or talking on the phone with each other, it is amazing that somewhere around the world someone could be reading your blog and changing their mind about something, or writing you back to tell you how much they agree with the writer. This is why it is always important to keep blogs professional because someone could read a blog and decide to publish it.
Difficult to Maintain 
One major disadvantage of blogging is that although blogs are easy to start up, they are very difficult to maintain, or "keep up." If people do not keep writing on their blogs on a regular basis, readership can be lost. Also, the topics on blogs need to be kept up to date and interesting for readership to stay strong as well. If bloggers are slow to update, or incorrect with information, people may begin to lose interest or reliability on the blogger.Also, blogging can take an immense amount of time. A lot of people already feel they live their lives on the go, and don’t have enough hours in a day so blogging would just suck even more time up. Unless it’s something you feel incredibly passionate about or are an expert in, then it’s probably not worth the time for most people. Especially if there is not much for monetary benefit.
Computer Access 
It is also difficult to incorporate blogging into classrooms because all students need access to a computer. Students would be able to work on their blogs in the classroom, study hall, or lunch but not all families own computers in their house. Teachers would have to work out due dates individually with students based on availability of computers. Otherwise hopefully teachers could provide sufficient lab time during class for students to work on blogs ("Blogs – advantages," 2009) Besides needing a computer to write blogs, you also need a computer to view the blogs. Students without access to computers will have a difficult time reading other blogs, or commenting on them.
Accurate Information 
Sometimes blogs are not accurate, or cannot be trusted. Since anyone can create a blog anywhere online about almost any topic, blogs are not always reliable. Sometimes people are unrealistic, dramatic, or flat out lie on their blogs. It’s important to teach readers about censorship, and staying cautious when reading other blogs. A guard must be kept up, and anyone should always double check sources before using blogs in support of papers, or opinions of their own.
Some people need to be cautious of blogging online about certain opinions or thoughts. Either a future employer, or current employer may somehow hear of what people are blogging and either disagree, or think these thoughts will hurt the employee. Once you go online, all expectations for privacy disappear. If this happens, it could end a career or prevent someone from being hired at all.
Benefits of Blogging in the Classroom 
Today there are so many new technologies and many of those can and are being used in classrooms all around the world. One of the most recent technologies is blogging and there are many advantages to blogging in the classroom. It is a great interactive tool that teachers and students can both use. It keeps students engaged and is a fun way to organize information.
Motivation and Participation 
The first advantage of blogging in the classroom is that it encourages participation from students. Often times in a classroom, some students might not feel comfortable giving their opinions in class, so this is a great way for students to still participate and discuss without having to feel embarrassed. Some students might also be more opinionated and passionate if they are commenting on a blog rather than speaking in class. Students will also be more engaged in this type of tool because it is interactive and everyone can add to blogs. Besides feeling more comfortable participating through blogs, students might also be more motivated through blogs because they won’t feel like it’s a boring worksheet or assignment. Most children love going on the computer or internet and providing information or asking for information from students seems much more interesting through a blog than any other way.
Different Viewpoints 
Another great advantage is that the class will be getting many different viewpoints of topics and issues because everyone can participate. The whole class and teacher will be able to view everyone’s opinions and can also comment on them. It’s an easy way to have a large discussion and also view other classmate’s work.
Improving Reading and Writing Skills 
A third advantage to blogging in the classroom is that students can log in from different locations than just in the classroom or with the teacher. Students can visit blogs anytime and from any computer with Internet access. This is beneficial because students would be able to work at home as well as at school. If they wanted to put more thought into an assignment or reflection, but didn’t have enough time at school, they could finish at home. Speaking of reflecting, students can write reflections on any reading they’ve done or on classroom discussions through a blog. They can reflect on their own work or on another classmates. General improvement on reading and writing skills is also a huge benefit to classroom blogging. Because students will be reading and writing so often, they will be getting a lot of experience and practice.
Another big part of blogging is researching and reporting out. Students can do research online and report their findings on the blog. This way, everyone can see each other’s work and research. Also, students would be able to record progress on group projects. This brings me to the last and probably most important benefit of classroom blogging, communication.
Blogging in the classroom is extremely beneficial for communication between students and the teacher. Communication between students is a big benefit of blogging. Students will learn and experience collaborating with each other and what it means to work as a team. This is a valuable lifelong skill that is very important for students to learn. As far as communication with the teacher, they can post almost anything he or she needs to announce to students. For example, if teachers assign some sort of research project and students don’t know where they can get information, the teacher can create links on the page for students to find resources. Blogging also requires students and the teacher to indicate more specific thoughts and questions. In order for people to understand and know exactly what someone is talking about, things need to be as specific as possible because it is all online.
Future Use of Blogging in the Classroom 
Although blogging in the classroom may not be that common right now, it will surely become more and more popular in the future. Using these types of technology in today’s classrooms are organized, efficient, time saving, and overall effective. So I don’t see the use of blogs fading anytime soon. As future teachers, we need to become more and more familiar with blogging and other types of technologies out there because more than likely they are going to be used in schools we may eventually work at. These are tools that teachers should become almost experts at so we can better benefit our students. All of the previously mentioned benefits of blogging in the classroom show that it is effective and can most definitely be used in a positive way at school, so the future of blogging in the classroom is looking good.
The information used for this is put in APA style.
Ajith, Initials. (2009, June 14). Advantages of blogging. Retrieved from http://www.dollarshower.com/advantages-of-blogging/
Benefits of Blogging in the Classroom (n.d.). Retrieved November 22, 2010, from http://stealthed08.blogspot.com/2008/02/what-are-benefits-of-classroom-blogging.html
Blogging: Advantages of Blogging as a Teaching Tool. (2009). In Webupon. Retrieved November 25, 2010, from http://webupon.com/blogging/blogging-advantages-of-blogging-as-a-teaching-tool/
Blogging in the Classroom. (2008). In Change Agency. Retrieved November 28, 2010, from http://www.ed421.com/?p=406
Blogs – advantages and disadvantages. (2009, June 19). Retrieved from http://www.onlineedublog.com/blogs/
Broache, A., & McCullagh, D. (2007, March 20). Blog turns 10: Who’s the father. CNET News. Retrieved from www.news.cnet.com/2100-1025_3-6168681.html.
Rowse, D. (2005, February 5). What is a Blog. Problogger. Retrieved from www.problogger.net/archives/2005/02/05/what-is-a-blog.
Unknown. Types of Blogs. Wordpress.com. Retrieved from www.en.wordpress.com/types-of-blogs.
Himanshu, Initials. (2009, November 5). Top 10 greatest advantages of blogging. Retrieved from http://www.blogtechnika.com/top-10-greatest-advantages-of-blogging