I have spent my whole teaching career in small, high tech charter schools, and I have seen educational technology grow symbiotically alongside Web 2.0 advances. I have embraced blogs for their power to tackle a variety of classroom teachers’ challenges.
At our schools, there has always been the expectation that teachers will maintain an informative website so students can access homework, handouts, calendars, and other class information. My first school was using RapidWeaver, a desktop program where teachers designed websites whole and then uploaded them to the school servers. As the school year progressed, the upload times got longer and longer as teachers’ sites got more complex. As a result, busy teachers gradually fall off, leaving their websites as a wasteland of outdated and useless material.
I have discovered that blogs are the ideal way to provide information to your students. Why? Because:
- the most up to date information (like tonight’s homework or today’s assignment) is always at the top
- old posts are saved and can be organized in whatever ways you can imagine
- blogs are free and easy to operate
- teachers who don’t want the extra hassle of “updating a web page” can even post to blogs by email!
- Students can “follow” or “subscribe to” your blog posts so they never miss an assignment
- Blog feeds can be combined so, for example, assignments from all the school’s teachers can appear on the same page.
- Your blog feed can even be embedded in your school’s main web page.
- You can maintain various blogs for separate purposes. I even have a private blog that nobody can see that I use to take notes on confidential student situations.
The beauty of them is that they are so flexible that you will continue to find new and interesting ways to use them. Blogs are a powerful technology that can be used in a variety of ways to make your classroom management more efficient.
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I agree, blogs are a great way to disseminate information to students. They are also a way to showcase good writing skills. Each of my students have their own blog in my class. I also communicate assignments to them through Twitter. Those who have cell phones (about 80 percent) will receive my tweets on their phone in real time.