The term "blog" is a contraction of "web log". Blogs are an important Web 2.0 technology that provide people an easy way publish personal content on the Internet. Blogs can function like an online diary or journal or editorial column. They can also function as a stream of news or announcements from an organization. As one blogger put it, they are a medium, not a genre.

Blogs are organized around "postings". Postings appear in a chronological sequence. Blogs generally are searchable though, so they provide a searchable archive of searchable material from the blog's author.

Blogs can have one author or a group of authors. Blog authors can also accept comments from other people, and so become a kind of user community.

In the classroom, blogs can be used in a variety of ways.
  • A teacher can use a blog as a way to communicate with students and parents. Teachers can post homework, a summary of class presentations (helpful for absent students!), or upcoming class events. Teachers can use the blog's comment feature as a way to allow students or parents to ask questions about assignments.
  • Teachers can use a blog to facilitate online discussions among students. The teacher may post a discussion question as the blog entry, and students respond to the entry via comments.
  • Students can create blogs as the medium for creating a portfolio of their work.
  • Teachers within a school, community, district, region, country or around the world can use a blog to facilitate discussion and collaboration among students on a project. The blog can supplement other web technologies, serving as a point of discussion and reflection.
  • Blogs can be an important source of news and perspectives for students that are unavailable from traditional media.

There are classroom risks to using blogs. Norms for blogging (creating blog entries) must be established, and student postings should be moderated (at least initially). Students should learn to view blogs critically a source of information. Students should also be aware of the Internet risk that they are communicating potentially to a global audience and take the usual privacy cautions.

More information on blogs:
Wikipedia entry on blogs
Using Blogs to Integrate Technology in the Classroom
33 Ways to use blogs in the classroom - A blog entry on blogging in the classroom

Free blogging sites:
Use these sites to create your own blog for free.
Blogger.com (Google's blogging service)
WordPress

Blogs of contributors to this wiki