Blogs can be defined as “a Web site containing the writer’s or group of writers’ own experiences, observations, opinions, etc., and often having images and links to other Web sites.” (http://dictionary.reference.com/browse/blog)
Blogs in some ways reflect a student’s brain, as both are dynamic rather than static. Blogs are constantly changing, updating, growing, responding and linking to other parts of the internet.
Commoncraft have created an outstanding video describing blogs. See it below
Benefits of blogs
- motivating to students, especially those who otherwise might not become participants in classrooms, such as encourage ‘shy’ students to express themselves;
- provide opportunities for students to read, write and practice technological skills;
- are effective forums for collaboration and discussion, including encouraging students to create and receive constructive feedback;
- enable scaffolded learning or mentoring to occur
- are generally be easy to set up and maintain;
- only need an internet connection;
- can contain samples of students’ work.
Supportblogging has an education page listing the uses of blogs in education, and the benefits to students. Some of these are providing a student voice, creating enthusiasm, engagement and empowerment. Edublogs lists 10 ways to use blogs, and Kathleen Morris outlines the benefits of blogs through the concept map below and her website.
The teachers’ experiences found in the video below outline their use of blogs in the classroom:
However, rules and expectations and other parameters related to technology need to put in place both before and during the use of blogs. Students with no or limited access to the internet outside of school hours and those without a basic knowledge of using computers are also potentially at a disadvantage, so these avenues would need to be addressed before the use of blogs is required for schoolwork outside of school hours.
I had fun creating an avatar, but thought the Simpson’s one was a bit limiting as I’m not a fan of the show. Create your own Simpsons Avatar here. Since I had to wait to finalise my WP blog registration, I used the time to looked around at another avatar websites and ended up creating a fairly lifelike one through voki.
Here are both, what do you think?
How and why would we use avatars in the classroom?
Avatars can be used to tell stories, give context to historical events and people, role playing, as tour guides and to promote active discussion and participation.
As Avatars can also promote community for remote learners, I anticipate that these would be beneficial to Australian school students enrolled in ‘The School of the Air’.