Middle School:
The first blog I would like to discuss is a middle school blog.

Blog: The Plugged in Portable
It was nominated for the 2010 Best Class Blog by Edublog. The blog was developed by 6th grade teacher in Ontario, Canada. The title, The Plugged in Portable, is not only catchy, it captures the teacher’s philosophy that students should not be pushed to “unplug” when they go home from school. He states in his about page, “The use of technology shouldn’t be something students are only exposed to in the computer lab, it needs to be integrated on a daily basis in the classroom to keep our students engaged and keep learning relevant.” (Carruthers, 2012). He set up the blog to have numerous components to it. One is a teacher blog where classroom ideas are shared. The other is a class blog that is shared with another class. The third is that students also have their own blogs linked to the main blog. It is quite ambitious but seems to work to keep the blog active and fresh. There is a twitter feed attached to the blog  and Mr. Carruthers seems to tweet every day. I would believe he has expectations of how frequently the students blog and the quality of the responses. A good example of the connection between his posts on the teacher blog and the students’ blogs can be found at the claymation post.
You have to check out his video about the lesson! It is short, but polished and professional. This teacher is obviously proud of his students. In his blog he writes about the claymation lesson in which students created characters, script, storyboard and backgrounds. If you click on one of his student’s Abby’s blog, you can read a summary of the activity. She wrote about what she did, what was her favorite and least favorite part, and what she would do differently.

I liked how seamless the blog was designed with the different users and audiences. Mr. Carruthers is creating an online community similar to this one. His students are exploring and using technology on a daily basis.

High school:
The next blog I would like to share is one created by a Carroll County Public School teacher for his AP World History Blog.

The address is
His blog was set up to provide information about class assignments and future test while allowing students to ask questions. For instance, he posted information about a unit test essay . A few students posted questions in the comment section. Something that I would find helpful is for the teacher to add something about himself and/or his class. He could also provide more elaborate posts to keep the blog interesting and meaningful to the students. Compared to the other blogs I have viewed so far, this one is a good start with basic information, but more detail and creativity would be helpful.
Incorporating Blogs in the classroom and encouraging others: Blogs are a great tool for education and create a virtual community and support group. Unlike word of mouth, blogs are there to read 24 hours a day providing teachers and students with valuable resources, ideas and guidance. Just like I was, many people are not aware of the benefits of blogs. One way to promote the use to others is by sharing your blog, ideas and enthusiasm regularly. If I want to share a video or presentation, I may share the link to the blog now instead of through email. Having comments to posts archived, creates an ongoing discussion.

Professional Development: Blogs can be used in professional development opportunities while incorporating technology standards. Presenters can use their own blogs, reference others and create a richer experience for the audience. Supervisors could use blogs to disseminate new trends or policies to staff and welcome feedback. By reading blogs on various educational subjects, teachers can share ideas, problems and learn from others creating limitless opportunities for professional development. No longer do you need to spend a lot of money and hop in a plane to travel to a conference in a far away city to network with others.

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