Benefits of blogs
Blogs are easy to create. You don't need any advance and expensive softwares to create a blog. You just have to sign up to blog providers (Blogger, wordpress, typepad , etc). Then you have to follow a few steps and and start posting. Blogs are easy to maintain. You don't need any software to maintain your blog. You can maintain your blog online. After you sign in to your blog account you can create a post, edit post, change blog template, customize your blog and change blog settings easily. Blogs automatically move your newer posts at the top, while archiving older posts by date or topic you don't have to bother to move your pages around. Blogs are search engine friendly. Since each post of the blog is assigned with different URL address, each of them will have its own and separate web page. If you care of making good posts focused on a specific topic and carefully choose good keywords describing your posts then it will have more chance of ranking well with search engines. Blogs allows you to interact with your students. Blogs allow you to interact with your students and give them feedback. Since blog offers you the option of enabling a comment field to your posts where readers can give you their feedback. It not only makes the students come back but also it gives you a great chance to know your students better. Blog are for free. Anybody can start blogging in just few minutes and you can display any information to other teachers or your students. Blogs give you lots of space. You can make as much number of posts as you like in your blog. You can upload many documents, videos and images.
Suggestions for implementation of blogs
• Blog sites should be developed with the help of students following simple procedures.
• Teachers and students blogs should go public at the educational institutions, in other words, they could be accessed and read by everyone in the community to foster interaction.
• The usage of blogs is very convenient and it should be used by students more frequently..
• Students can improve their writing skills and blog articles should be reasonably good enough and free grammatical mistakes.
• Blogs get students into the habit of writing, which helps them in all their future endeavors.
• Blog sites should be used as online class forums that enable students with various personalities to participate in discussions far more effectively.
• Using blogs students can learn to express their opinions and exchange their views on topics of common interest, which not only keeps them updated but also allows them to contribute new ideas.
• Language students get a chance to read other blogs, which indirectly helps them to improve upon their language skills.
• Language teachers of online classes get an opportunity to know what students feel about the class and help to find ways to improve students’ progress.
• Blogs can also be used for language students to share their articles and opinions with people outside their educational community.
My preferred blog platform
I prefer using the Blogger platform within only five minutes you can be set up and bloggin. A feature called ‘Blog This!’ on the Google Toolbar lets you use the toolbar and have Blogger accounts to put links directly to your blogs. It allows establishment of group blogs as it supports multiple author entries. It has individual pages to archive comments, posts and email postings. It supports Google AdSense service while running a blog. And last but not least, Blogger is free.
Benefits of wikis
It is an online space where any number of users can post, edit and sort ideas and tangents for a project. You can make your projects much more straightforward because instead of jotting down ideas in notebooks, sending files via e-mail and constantly having to ask where your colleagues are, you can keep it all organised online, and access all this information from anywhere with an internet connection. Wikis are good for projects that require collaboration, where information needs to be archived, and where several individuals need access to the same information and need to be kept up to date on changes. Wikis can be used by educational institutions to connect students in different departments and create knowledge bases for various projects, Wikis have the ability to compress space allowing users from all parts of their organizations in essentially the same space. Wikis are a great way of keeping track of ideas and removing clumsy methods of communication and administration.
Suggestions for implementation of wikis
I suggest teachers to use wikis for getting their students more involved in curriculum. They’re often appealing and fun for students to use, while at the same time ideal for encouraging participation, collaboration, and interaction. The following are some examples of how wikis could be implemented in the classroom:
• Asking groups to use central documents in a wiki to ensure that everyone’s documentation is uniform.
• Allowing class members to post their ideas in a wiki, and you can cut down on duplicate ideas, while at the same time allowing them to build upon the ideas.
• Starting fan clubs for your students’ favorite figures from history and ask them to contribute their favorite quotes, photos, and other information together.
• You can use wikis to make it easy for students to see which tasks have been completed and which ones still need to be fulfilled.
• Assigning a wiki page to a group project, and then individual pages for each student to show their participation.
• Selecting two class candidates against each other and perform a debate on your wiki.
• Starting a creative writing unit, and getting students to write a short story together, each writing a small amount of the story.
• Posting articles for different movies, books, and TV shows, encouraging students to share what they thought about them.
• Hosting a book club on your wiki where students are required to read the same book, then discuss it on the wiki.
My preferred wiki platform
I prefer Wetpaint wiki platform because it is built on the power of collaborative thinking. Here, you can create websites that mix all the best features of wikis, blogs, forums and social networks into a rich community; it is a social website that is easy to use and anyone can participate. Wetpaint features are very basic and things such as tables, links, and photos can be added by just a few clicks of your mouse. When you hit easy edit a toolbar appears with many options for you to choose from. You can easily browse pages in the navigation on the left. by clicking the arrows you are able to view the sub pages of a certain page. In my opinion Wetpaint is quick and easy to learn.