Trying to think about the basic uses of weblogs in education, and I know I probably need to do more research here, but these seem to be the basic areas in order of intensity of time and maintenance:
1. Professional weblogs—where teachers track their own planning/research/thoughts about what’s happening in their classrooms and school. Takes minimum set up and little maintenance.
2. Course weblog—where teachers can update assignments, notes and links for a particular class. Can be “sold” as a way to communicate classroom activities to parents and community, to give students an idea of what the class is about, to keep track of makeup work for absent students. Low setup and maintenance.
3. Group weblog—where students in a class or members of a department or community become active participants in the discussion. Larger group weblogs require a moderator to define groups and lead discussion. In classroom setting, can be used for feedback. In other settings used for idea exchange, dissemination of information, etc. Small group weblogs could be used for students to track/show work on projects. Low setup, higher maintenance.
4. Student weblogs—where each student creates and maintains individual weblogs. Uses include tracking time for individualized work, entering into give and take feedback discussions with instructor, online filing cabinets (Diaryland), research logs, etc. Can be used to encourage metacognitive (thinking about thinking) work. High setup, low maintenance.
5. Combinations—where teachers employ any number of these logs in tandem. A course weblog could keep track of the business and planning side of the class while small group and individual weblogs could focus on student learning and achievement.
Questions to be explored: What are the benefits of weblogs over more traditional ways of classroom management (i.e. giving assignments, tracking notes, organizing and tracking work handed in)? How can weblogs be most effectively introduced into the classroom or community setting? What skills are needed to make the best use of weblogs (i.e. HTML, Internet)? What training and resources are needed? What software/hardware implications are there (served locally or remotely)? Assessment of weblogs (rubrics, requirements)? Internet connectivity of students/groups?