WordPress. Blogger. Xanga. Tumblr – These are all websites you’ve heard of before. Ever since the Internet has become interactive, blogging has been one of the best online outlets for expression and communication. But how can it pertain to the classroom, other than another distraction for students using laptops? There are actually plenty of ways you can usea blog to learning in your classroom.
As a refresher, a blog is a website that allows writers to easily post text, images, videos, links, and other materials. The use of blogs has grown from just one author writing a personal diary online to multiple authors contributing to one blog themed on similar subjects. Most blogs are interactive and allow readers to comment.
Terms that are helpful to know
- Post: A single blog entry is a post. Each blog post is time-stamped, and typically these posts appear in reverse chronological order on the blog home page.
- Category: Each blog post can be categorized into a broad grouping of post topics. These categories help with the organization of the posts.
- Tags: Tags are similar to categories, but they are more specific. Each blog post can be “tagged” based upon the content within the post. These tags help readers identify what the post is about and find content quickly. Tagging posts is optional.
- Subscribe: When you subscribe to a blog, all posts on that site appear in a reader application. You can view all of the latest posts from all of the blogs you follow. An example of this would be using Google Reader (google.com/reader).
Blogging as a tool for teaching
Your blog can be used in a number of ways, depending on what you want the students to get out of the experience. While the set-up of your blog may be the same as a typical blog, it can be used in entirely different ways. You can:
- Have your students blog as a way to reflect on class discussions
- Encourage interaction between students by having them read each other’s blogs and post comments.
- Open the course blog up to the public, so students can write for a real, public audience.
- Start a conversation before class. Get your students thinking prior to class by posting a question or something thought provoking.
- Continue a conversation from class. Keep your students engaged after class by posting a question or something thought provoking.
- Hear how Elon instructor Victoria Shropshire uses blogs in her writing course. Visit