In the past, I have used blogs to spice up our large-group classroom discussions. Normally, I assign a particular topic to each student and ask him or her to become an expert in that topic and regularly report on it in a blog. In my Eighth Grade Computer class, for example, topics include Internet neutrality, copyright issues, cell phone and iPad apps, new gadgets, government regulations, all things Google, Apple Corporation, Microsoft Corporation, social networking, web 2.0 issues, etc. Students are then responsible for using the blogs and the information contained within them to "co-host" a class discussion with me at least once and to contribute more informally to the class discussions they aren't hosting. I like the way blogs can empower the students as speakers, helping them to solidify their opinions and allowing all of us to keep informed about the constantly-changing landscape of technology.
Right now, we publish to a site that is only visible to other class members. I would love to be able to publish our work to a site that is more public, but I am worried about Internet trolls and cyberbullies. I don't want my students to get hurt and I don't want my school district to suffer any liabilities, so I would have to create an appropriate form for the students and their parents to sign, first, of course. Then maybe it would be more appropriate to have them publish group work to begin with. What do you think?