The Educational Benefits of Website Blogging

Blogs all over the world are being used for very different reasons, from social commentary to making money. Blogging thus has become a vital source of business, information and social interaction. It has also begun to be used within the teaching system, enabling interaction on educational issues outside the normal classroom experience.

The blogging community is vast and varied, making it the perfect way to speak out and discuss topics you are interested in. Discuss particular political issues, hobbies, social debates and information particular to your course. Like online educational journals, blogs can be used for sources of information for you interest or course, with the added bonus that you can directly interact with author and other bloggers to debate and discuss the issue.

Blogging is becoming particularly valuable to shaping the way we learn in an educational setting. The debate element encourages outside of the box thinking and enables a student to articulate themselves in a debate. It is particularly useful for the shier student, who shies away from speaking out load in class, as it allows them to still interact, get across their opinion and debate the topic without feeling uncomfortable.

So what are the main pros of using a blog in an educational setting? It encourages class mates to share, discuss ideas and debate an idea. It essentially allows people to develop their own opinion and enables them to express themselves with not many limitations. It’s a great way for an individual to develop their sense of self, their beliefs and opinions, which is vital to confidence and self-esteem levels and in turn educational performance. Not only this, a blog allows for a great amount of autonomy, allowing the person to keep any information private.

Furthermore, a blog also creates a community in itself, enabling the sharing of information and the creation of friendships. It is a great way to boost teacher-student and student-student relationships by breaking down some of the barriers in the normal classroom setting.

There are a few cons of using a blog in an educational setting as the information may be at times unreliable or biased, simply because it is based on opinion rather than fact. This can be a problem as sometimes educational blogs are seen to be factual in nature, which in often more than not true due to the very medium. Regulation can also be another issue, as rude or undesirable comments may appear time to time. This problem does mean you often have to regulate comments, which can be somewhat time consuming.

A blog if monitored and used correctly for educational purposes can be an ideal platform for discussion and self-expression, as well as a place for community and friendships.

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Online Education Blogs

It is a burning truth that students in all parts of the world, today are hardly realizing that writing is a skill. The need to make children and your students aware of the necessity of writing skills has lead to evolution of the online education blogs.

A majority of today’s school children are reluctant to make the efforts with a pen and a paper. Even if in the elementary years, they are somehow compelled to practice writing, the task gets almost impossible once they grow up. Unlike the yesteryears, the world of modern children now occupies a whole lot of different things. They can efficiently juggle between studies, sports, computers and mobile phones. Internet, social networking and chatting have effectively captivated children all over the world. Excess technicality is also taking its toll on their imagination. Children now-a-days are most likely to write only for the purpose of chatting and mailing. At this stage, the traditional classroom literacy, failing to meet the demands of the age, is losing to online education blogs.

Children have learned to associate the only fun of writing with chatting and mails. In the classrooms, writing seems to them a bothersome task. For today’s technology-dependent students, letting them use technology is the only way to teach them learning. The surging interest of the students in writing can be counteracted by introducing them to an exciting world of writing through the technical media. Thus the online education blogs gained significance.

Children must be encouraged by the parents and teachers to compose their own blogs on a regular basis. Online education blogs, besides the networking websites, is considered to play a major role in motivating children to write. Surveys reveal that students who do not regularly access online education blogs have shown lesser writing expertise and improvements than those who have their own blogs. With better performance in schools, the children, referring to online education blogs are showing more interest in writing. This is again helpful in building their confidence, helping them to excel in writing.

Maintaining online education blogs helps the children to develop a positive attitude towards writing and learning. Not only stories, poems or online diaries, in their online education blogs, the children can also express their opinions. With the classroom teaching literacy and addressing serious sections of education, online education blogs are an interesting alternative to keep the children motivated.

Dr. Patricia Fioriello has 25 years experience in K-12 education as a teacher, principal, and central office manager. She currently publishes blogs, articles, eguides and books addressing the critical issues confronting our school’s today. Her writing services include study materials, documents and presentations. Dr. Fioriello also conducts workshops, private online tutoring and consulting for K-12 educators and the community. She is available online at http://DRPFConsults.com.

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Education Blogs – 6 Reasons to Get Your Students Blogging

More and more teachers are starting education blogs and blogging in the classroom. And, why not! There are a lot of reasons to consider blogging in the classroom.

It gives your students an authentic purpose to write. The idea that their stories will be published online for the world to see may motivate them to do their best.
Students have a real goal in sight when using the writing process. Not everything needs to be revised, edited, and published, but because this work will be on public display, there’s greater incentive to polish the work.
It allows your students to share their work with family members around the world. (And if the student work is translated into their first language, it allows dear old grandma who lives overseas and doesn’t speak English the opportunity to celebrate in your students’ success.)
It provides a way to create and explore media texts as a natural extension of the writing process. Instead of just publishing your good copies on your school bulletin board, why not publish your good copies online. Your students may even get feedback and comments from people in cyberspace.
It introduces your students to a new genre and form. Blog posts typically use short sentences and short paragraphs to pre-digest the content in this channel-changing world.
It may inspire some of your student to blog themselves and encourage them to see themselves as writers.

There are, of course, security, privacy, and copyright issues to consider, but done correctly, blogging in the classroom can provide a modern way to engage your students. Education blogs can be an effective way to create authentic learning opportunities for your students.

If you’re ready to start blogging in the classroom, we’re here to help at http://blog.classroomteacher.ca where you’ll find this information and more detailed information about how to use technology in the classroom.

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How To Use A Blog As An Educational Tool

While blogging originally had the purpose of easily allowing people to post their personal thoughts online, blogs today are used for a number of different reasons. Now some of the most interesting and useful blogs are used for educational purposes, where the focus is to educate an audience about a specific topic. When using a blog for this purpose however, there are a few additional steps that you must consider before you create your blog and customize it to your website. Most of these steps are rather straightforward, but should still be taken into consideration.

Determine the Target Market for Your Blog

Choosing your target market is a standard step for any online or offline business endeavor you choose to go into. This is especially true for an educational blog, because in addition to determining your target market and the specific niche, you also have to decide what knowledge level your desired target audience has of your subject material. The knowledge level will also have an impact on the content contained in your educational blog.

Are you educating people who have almost no knowledge of your topic, or are you educating people who have a basic knowledge of the subject and are enhancing what they know? Both audiences will require very different kinds of information, even if it is the same subject or niche.

Determine How You Want to Educate Your Users

In order to know how you want to educate your users, you will need to decide what it is your blog is going to accomplish. Will it be to provide a place to post comprehensive details about specific products you offer, a place to post class homework and lessons, or perhaps a way to share answers to the most frequently asked questions you get in your business? Once you have determined the specific type of educational purpose your blog will serve, you will need to set up the blog to allow it to support your specified goals.

Determine the Format for Your Blog

Once you have determined how you want to educate your users, or target market, you will need to determine the format for your blog, or how you will present the information.

If your purpose is to answer frequently asked questions, you should set up your blog to have many categories, which are listed on the side. This will give visitors easy access to your questions. You would also want to have links to the latest FAQ entries in your sidebar. The title of your FAQ entry, should be the question, and body of the blog post should contain your answer. If you have the ability to put a link in your blog entry, you should link to another part of your site that gives even more detailed information about the related question if available.

If your purpose is to provide instruction sheets about specific products and services, you should set up your blog to have enough categories to define the largest grouping of products. The title of your blog should be the product name and the phrase ‘feature set’, or ‘instructions’. The post body should be the instructions or feature set, or it could be a brief description with a link to a downloadable pdf file of the feature set or instructions.

If your blog’s purpose is to post lessons for students who are taking an online course, then you would typically only need categories if you are teaching more than one course through your blog, and in this case, each category would be named after the course. Each specific blog posting would have the title of the lesson being taught, plus the lesson number (I.E. the category would be Computer Science 101, the title would be Lesson 10: Functions and Procedures). The actual post body could be the entire lesson, or a brief description of the lesson and a link to a downloadable pdf file that the student can print out and use, or both (posting lesson in the blog with a link to a downloadable version of the lesson.

Allow Users to Comment on Your Postings

Allowing users to leave comments on your blog will enable them to ask questions about lessons, or other educational content. Using comments is a great way to get feedback that you can use to fill in any missing pieces that you may have overlooked. Comments from your users will also provide additional perspectives to the subject matter, and will allow other blog readers to answer questions if appropriate.

Allow Users to Download Files From Your Blog

If you use your blog for educational purposes, you will probably have additional resources that you will want to make available to your users such as white papers, lessons, product information sheets, or a syllabus. Depending upon the nature of your educational based blog, some of the information you may want to convey is best done as a pdf file instead of a blog entry. Most of the good blogging software today will allow you to upload files to your site that you can make available to your readers/students. This will give you more flexibility in the way you can educate and communicate with your readers.

An educational blog can be a powerful means of communicating with and teaching your audience about the specific information you wish to share. The power of using a blog is that educating your audience can be done in a number of different ways. Once you have the content in your blog, it can be a great resource and tool for your visitors for years to come, and is very easy to maintain and update as new material becomes available. Your next step should be to learn how to incorporate other features into your educational blog that will allow you to earn revenue so your blog can pay for the maintenance costs required to operate it.

Don’t just stop at creating an educational blog. Create a blog that will pay for itself, so you can put your resources into building it up more or putting it into other things entirely. Find out more about blogging at this content article directory Learn how to make money with your:Educational Blog.

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Computer Security in the Classroom – How to Lock Down Your Educational Blog

There are two situations where you might want to restrict access to your educational blog to just a few specific computers.

First, you might want to restrict the entire blog so it can only be accessed by people using school computers.
Second, you might want to restrict the login pages of your blog, so that students can only edit or modify their work using school computers. (This also helps prevents your site from getting hacked by observant students who have figured out your password.)

If you are pretty comfortable around computers and run a self-hosted blog (or have access to your website’s servers), then you should be able to lock down your class website to a few locations (IP addresses).

Why would you want to prevent your students from logging in at home?

I usually don’t allow my students to take their English work out of the classroom; I’m tired of dealing with lost homework. Besides, you can never be sure how much help a student receives at home.

Over the years, I’ve developed a folder system where all of our work stays in the folder. It’s great. First, students always come prepared to class (because their notes and drafts never leave the room). Secondly, the students have a portfolio documenting their learning over time. It’s great for metacognition because students can flip back through previous assignments in an attempt to prevent the same mistakes from happening again. Finally, I know exactly what a student is capable of because I can see all of their prewriting and drafts leading up to the published version.

However, a blog potentially ruins this keep-it-in-the-classroom policy because students can log in to their user accounts from home. The beauty of WordPress and other blogging platforms is that it can you can blog from anywhere in the world.

Also, some older students might be flexing their computer literacy (or vandalism) muscles. The login page for any blog powered by WordPress can usually be found by adding /wp-admin at the end of the website address. By locking down the wp-admin folder to a few specific IP addresses, you can greatly limit access to the administration back-end of your class blog.

How to lock down your (educational) blog’s administration / login folder.

If you have a self-hosted WordPress blog, the following trick will prevent students from logging in (or hacking your website) at home. Note: You need to have access to the .htaccess file on your website. Our web host provides access to this file, however, apparently not all web hosts do.

Figure out the IP address of the computer that you want to use to access your blog. An IP address is your internet address online. There are various sites that will tell you your current IP address.
Use a text editor (i.e. notepad) to create a file named .htaccess and cut and paste the following lines of code into the file…
Replace 123.456.789.123 and 12.345.678 with your real IP address. Hint: If your Internet Service Provider gives you a range of IP addresses (For example 123.456.789.000 to 123.456.789.999), just drop the last octet number to allow a range. (For example, allow from 123.456.789)
Upload your .htaccess file to your blog’s wp-admin folder. Now the only people who can access any file in the wp-admin folder must be using a computer with an IP address on your safe list (white list).Note: If you want to use the .htaccess file to limit access to your entire blog from specific computers, then you’ll need to copy and paste the above code into the existing .htaccess file on your website’s public folder (or wherever your WordPress blog files can be found). You must add the code into the existing .htaccess file instead of overwriting the file because WordPress has some important information in there already.

If the .htaccess file is modified correctly, whenever you try to login to your blog from an unauthorized computer, you should receive a 403 error.

If you’re ready to start blogging in the classroom, we’re here to help at http://blog.classroomteacher.ca where you’ll find this information and more detailed information about how to use technology in the classroom.

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