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Tuesday, March 22, 2005

Blogging for Teachers (Part 1) - What are blogs?

Objective:

Participants will be able to correctly define and use a blog.

Exploration:

You may be wondering what a blog is. Well in 2004 you would not have been alone. Merriam Webster Online proclaimed "blog" the #1 Word of the Year for 2004, based on the number of times the definition was looked up on their web site. Check out the page they dedicated to it... and read your first definition of a blog.
http://www.m-w.com/info/04words.htm

The powerful and popular search engine, Google, offers these additional definitions.
http://www.google.com/search?q=define:blog&ie=UTF-8&oe=UTF-8

The Wikipedia, an open and collaboratively edited online encyclopedia offers these definitions.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Blog

People are blogging, or writting blogs, for many reasons. Some of these are covered in the definitions above, but here are a few specific reasons, or lists of reasons, for you to explore.

10 reasons why blogging is good for you.
Blogging for business: Top 10 Reasons for Blogging
Why do we blog?
Weblogs can be your backup brain!
Blogger Moms talk about their reasons to start blogging.
Why blog?
Why blog?

Now, you may be wondering what good it does anyone other than the authors to have all this content on the web. Below are links to a few very good reasons why you should be reading blogs.

Blogs - why read, why write
Why Read Blogs?
Why US Bloggers read blogs (with bar chart)

There are many reasons to read blogs, some very personal, some very pragmatic, but some of the most important reasons may be touched on by recent debates about the role of blogs in relation to the mainstream media, and to politics in particular. Explore the links below to gain an understanding of the power of blogs.

Blogs vs. Mainstream Media
The impact of weblogs on mainstream media
Blog: Understanding the Information Reformation That's Changing Your World (A book - explore some of the reviews)
HughHewitt.com (The author's blog)
US Campaign Blogs Articles
Paper on the power of blogs in politics

There may be many advantages to reading and writing blogs, but if you are to begin doing either in your own life, it pays to understand the potential disadvantages as well. The following links will lead you to discussions of the advantages and disadvantages of blogs.

Blogs and blogging: advantages and disadvantages
Blogs - News - Disadvantages

Reflection:

The information and links above will help you to answer the following questions, but you may need to head on over to Google and do some additional searches of your own. You will also find yourself needing to think to compose your answers.

1. Define a blog.
2. Explain three reasons why people use blogs.
3. Select three blogs you might want to read.
4. What is the relationship between blogs and main stream media?
5. How might you use a blog in your life?
6. What are some potential disadvantages of reading blogs?

Please click on "comments" below to post your reflections as a comment on this post. Others will then be able to benefit from your thoughts, and will be able to add their own comments in response. This interactivity is one of the most valuable benefits of the read/write web as opposed to traditional read only web sites.

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