Chris Pappas, a contributor for eLearning Industry, provides a "crash course" of best use tips, types of blogging platforms, and ways to steer clear of potential issues. There are also a couple embedded videos that give screen shots of a working classroom blog, which so you can visualize what yours might look like. This is a really good, broad list of resources so you won't have to look far for any questions you might have about a classroom blog!
Bright Hub Education gives you an overview of the most popular blog platforms that are specialized for use in the classroom. This page also offers short reviews for the recommended platforms, so you can see how one may be more conducive to your needs than another. Many of these platforms listed are great customization options, as well as ways to link various materials like documents, videos, and test scores.
English teacher, Shannon Baldino, writes this article on how a classroom blog can boost student engagement and performance. Baldino also explains some of the challenges, such as the extra workload you take on as a teacher in maintaining the blog. The general feel of the article is that if it can get organized with ground rules, it can be a wildly successful (and popular) tool. There are references with recent (less than 10 years old) research on classroom blogging topics as well.
Steven Krause details some very interesting classroom blog scenarios, most notably when they failed or got really complicated. It's a comprehensive memoir, for lack of a better term, in which Krause offers advice to educators who wish to incorporate a blog into their classroom. Some stories are funny, and all of the are definitely relatable. It's a must-read for any teacher going into their first school year with a blog.
Thom Gibson introduces you to vlogging, and explains how a video blog can be a great new addition to your classroom. Whether you're interacting with students, parents, or other classes, a vlog is a fun, lively way to share information. Gibson even extends to integrating a vlog with social media, such as by creating a class Instagram. This article will definitely get you camera-ready for vlogging with your class!
Grade school students in Australia explain why they enjoy blogging and how it helps them learn. The video illustrates how blogging is quickly becoming a component in transliteracy, and why it's so important to blog in the classroom. In this 15-minute video, you will see how every class, whether it's Math or English, can use blogging to enhance the learning experience. It's especially interesting to see how both students and parents have such a positive reaction to classroom blogging.
Ronnie Burt for EduBlogger puts together a 50-item list of great blogging writing prompts. The prompts are categorized by subject and format, so it's easy for any teacher to find one that is the right fit for an assignment. Burt also details some of the fantastic web tools which can liven up the blog, as well as links to their websites. I highly recommend using one of the recommended web tools, such as classroom polling, as much as possible!
Annette Vee talks ethical issues in classroom blogs on her website. She stresses the importance of explaining to student what it means to have a public post, and who will see it-- such as family members and future employers. Vee provides some useful tips for students as well, such as using a nickname, and not putting up otherwise identifying information. This is a great page to share with your class and their parents prior to beginning a classroom blog.
Jackie Myers points out how your classroom blog can help you connect with parents. From keeping them updated with test scores to responding to questions on an open forum, parents are happy to have another way to connect with teachers. I like Myers' idea for sharing a "Student of the Week" image and profile, since it's great positive reinforcement for the student, and makes the parents really proud, too. I think it cuts down on the number of phone calls, too!
It's very important to use either your own images or stock images on blogs, so you don't infringe on any intellectual property. Here is a list of websites where you and your class can download free stock photos to make their blogs more colorful. The list tells you which sites are user-friendly, and whether images require attribution. My personal favorite is Pixabay, since it's really easy to search for images!