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No. 13 Blogs Again (2006年02月10日)

カテゴリー: The Treasure Hunt Club
Marcel Van Amelsvoort
(Kanagawa Prefectural College of Foreign Studies)
Hello everyone. Last year I did column on writing and I mentioned blogs as a possible tool for teaching writing. Well, blogs have been developing a lot lately, especially used together with podcasts. Today, however, I’d like to look at some of the tools that are available to help teachers begin making the most of blogs for reading and writing.

Let’s start with the largest blog hosting site around, Blogger (http://www.blogger.com/start?hl=ja). Anyone can come here and set up a blog in minutes. In fact, you can set up two, or three, or more…It’s a great free resource and a great way to start blogging. “Blogging what?,” you may ask. Well, how about a question a week for students to read and write answers to? Or how about homework assignments with links? Remember, you can give your blog a name to reflect your class. This personalizes the blog and connects it to your class and makes students feel more comfortable.

Recently there are more and more sites that allow users to set up free blogs. Two of them are aimed particularly at students. The first is Learnerblogs (http://learnerblogs.org/ ), a site to which you can send all your students and let them set up their own blogs. There is also Uniblogs. It’s also free and for students, but it is aimed at university students (http://uniblogs.org/).

The problem with asking students to set up their own blogs is that you have to go and visit those blogs, read the content and write comments. Remembering all the links is a lot of trouble. Waiting for pages to load takes a lot of time. But help is available. First, by registering a class page at Del.icio.us, you can load all the class blog links to one place that is then accessible for everyone ( at http://del.icio.us/ registration required). And for the teacher who needs to visit all the student blogs regularly, there is Boglines. This site, which is also available in Japanese, allows you to subscribe to all the student blogs so that when any student writes anything new, it will automatically show up at your site. You can also set up your own blog here as well as search for blog content. http://www.bloglines.com/

With a few minutes of work setting up a blog and doing some registration, any teacher can have a smoothly functioning blog system in place for a whole class, for free!