A Few Cautionary Notes about Blogging

1. It's all about commitment.

creating a teacher blog: To endeavour out into the world of blogs you need to be commited to continuing to use the blog and to getting your students to continue to as well. You will need to get yourself and your students used to coming to your blog

creating a class blog: You will need to get the students organized and commited to the frequency of blogging that you intend the class to produce. If you are planning on daily blog posts (which is a log to start with), you will need daily access to computers with the internet. You will need to allot time for the students to draft and craft their blog and then to post it.

creating individual student blogs: You will need time carved out of your regular class time to start and maintain a commitment to blogging. Blogging requires time to read, synthesize, and write for students. And because of blogging's public nature, students will want to ensure they have quality and this all takes time and commitment.

2. It's all about posting what's appropriate.

All blogging, and arguably all content production on web2.0, needs to be prefaced with "Think before you post".
Ways to approach this challenge:
- Make it a teachable moment
- Read over the School or board "I.T. acceptable use policy" usually found in the student's planner
- Remind students that what they write online, stays online
- Go with the Golden Rule - Do unto others as you would have them do unto you (but replace "do" with "blog about") - works in any religion


3. It's all about Avoiding the Five Most Common Mistakes in Using Blogs with Students

Here's a great (and short) article by Ruth Reynard on the five most common mistakes in using blogs with students:

1. Explain the context of where you will use the blog tool, how often, what you expect, and how it benefits student learning

2. Unclear Learning Outcomes

3. Misuse of the blog environment - it's not a wiki. "The original post remains as the person who posted it wanted it to be." (Reynard)

4. Unclear grading practices - this can destroy all the good you try to do by bringing in blogs. Be sure you know what you are grading and communicate this to the students. Use a rubric ideally that you and your students co-construct after initially looking at some blogging exemplars.

5. Inadequate time allocation

I have summarized Reynard's article, but you can read the whole thing here.

This has been Cautionary Notes on blogging ... because it could happen to anyone...