At the CAL Conference last November, I attended a session on "Keeping Current with Technology," led by Emilie Satterwhite and Steve Lawson, two Colorado Librarians. It covered Blogs, Wikis, Feeds and Podcasting. I was struck by what a great marketing tool blogs could be, and how feeds could be utilized to track postings. Wikis and podcasting went over my head at that point.
As I was about to facilitate a class that was more like a book club, I decided to use blogs as one means of turning in book reflections. That is when I began my blog - I wrote book reflections to use as examples. About half of my class chose to blog, also. While I had not figured out feeds at that point, I did receive e-mails when they posted, and could see a count of how many times they posted. I enjoyed seeing how they set up their blogsite, and just reading about their impressions of the books they read.
Once the course was over, I was going to delete my blog, but an author about whose book I had written found his name and sent me some positive comments. That was exciting enough for me to give my blog a new lease on life.
I was able to connect my students to authors of books they had read. Encountering local authors at the Colorado Teen Lit Conference in April, I explained what I'd done with my lit course. They were interested in seeing what the students had written, so gave me their e-mail addresses to share with the students. That was a positive experience all the way around.
Another useful way to use blogs: I attended a conference about the Autonomous Learner Model, led by George Betts, and blogged about the sessions I attended on a nightly basis. I then directed our Head of School to my blogsite - and she was thrilled to see what I had been learning.