By: Ryan Baker, Paige Blaszczyk, Melissa Brothers, Allie Cline, Amanda Fay, Marlee Hollett, Amanda Jones, Brittany Komasinski, Kathryn Padgitt, Rachel Sieffert, Emily Trapp, Blair Wolkoff, and Krystalle Johnson
What is Xanga? What does it do?">What is Xanga? What does it do?
Xanga.com is a web 2.0 application developed by Marc Ginsburg, Dan Huddle, and John Hiler in 1998 ] The original purpose of Xanga was to share book and movie reviews. It slowly developed and is now used for social networking and the sharing of blogs, videos, audio, and photos with others.  Within Xanga's blogs, one can write about their life and views on any subject, just as one would write in a diary or journal. It's easy and free to start a Xanga profile; all one has to do is go to www.xanga.com, click "Start a Blog!", and make a username and password to log in. One can then create a profile, which can be made either public or private 
Table of Contents
I. History">I. History
I.1 Development">I.1 Development
In 1999, Xanga was founded by Marc Ginsburg, John Hiller, and Dan Huddle. It is a very popular blogging website in America and other nations throughout the world. The word Xanga was created by the website's founders and is intended to be pronounced Zang-uh. This name was chosen because it is short and catchy and was appealing to those in Asian nations, where the application became popular very quickly.
I.2 How Xanga Works">I.2 How Xanga Works
To create a Xanga account, a user must first register by clicking "Start a Blog!" on the website's main page. Then, the user will fill out the required information ('Choose Username', 'Choose Password', 'Verify Password', 'User Email', 'Security Code', and 'Birthday') and accept the terms and conditions .
The user will be asked to choose a theme and create a welcome post.
Although Xanga offers a variety of themes, they are not the only options. One can choose to change the layout and edit the theme to give his/her site a fresh look. The beginning menu can be found on the main page next to "Update Your Site." One just clicks on "edit theme" and will be taken to an editing menu (as seen below). Here, one can change the overall layout of the blog, the colors, fonts, dimensions, etc.
Once a blog has been completely edited, the different themes can drastically change the aesthetic appeal to one blog over another. A couple sample themes/blogs are shown below.
After this has been completed, the user can search for friends, write more blog postings, or make comments on the postings of others.
There is also the option to post video blogs onto your page.  Video blogs are becoming more and more popular among blogging. It takes a step out of writing one's thoughts down to simply recording and posting. Many find that video blogging is simpler and a better way to get tone and inflection across, however there are several that stand behind traditional blogging.
When commenting on friend's posts, one has the capability to give eProps, add Minis and other things using Credits (explained later), or leave a simple comment. eProps are a type of "currency," if you will, of kindness. If one really enjoyed a post, one can give out eProps, mostly to let the author of the post know that it was enjoyable to read.
Xanga is free to join, but there are options for more advanced blogging. Premium accounts are $4 each month and allow for more storage space; and for $7 per month, the Premium Plus account is available with unlimited storage. 
Xanga, like other web 2.0 applications, is a social networking site that targets mainly younger or older people with some in between. There are many unique ways to use Xanga; one can even read others' blogs even if they do not have a blog of their own. When one creates a Xanga profile, one can add friends, weblogs, videos, albums, audio and pulse, or a miniblog.
Pulse is essentially the equivalent of a status update, as one would update on Facebook. Rather than writing full-blown blog pieces, one can write a short message (under 140 characters). Because the pulses are so small, they can be sent and received via text message, if one chooses to do so. Writing of Pulses can be accessed through the main page, and the viewing of friend's pulses can be seen from the "Universal Inbox," or the section labeled "Read and Comment" on the home page.
One can also add Plugz to their sites. Plugz are headlines, images, or descriptions that link to specific Xanga URLs. Plugz also allow sites to get noticed and receive more traffic and comments.
One can also join a blogring on Xanga. A blogring connects a circle of weblogs with a common focus or theme. One can meet people with similar interests in a blogring.
There are also six blogging branches within Xanga that one may subscribe to in order to read others' blogs or meet other people: Datingish, Healthkicker, Momaroo, Dollarish, Lovelyish, and Revelife. Datingish is the dating community that focuses on dating and relationships, while Healthkicker is where one can go to blog about a healthier life and focus on dieting and fitness. Momaroo is for mothers and focuses on parenting. Dollarish focuses on financial discussions, and Lovelyish includes blogs about beauty, makeup, and fashion. Revelife is a Christian community and focuses on the mind, body, soul, and Christianity. 
Safety is a very big deal on the internet these days. Xanga offers great protection to those bloggers who want to keep their thoughts among a small group of people. In the "Settings" menu (located at the top of the page), one has the option of starting a "Protected Posting" list or a "Blocked Users" list. The "Protected Posting" list allows one to hand pick who reads their blog posts by compiling a list of other Xanga users. The "Blocked Users" list allows one to compile a list of users whom access will be denied. On top of the privacy settings listed in the "Settings" menu, Xanga offers the chance to change privacy settings on every post. One has three options of privacy: "Public," "Private," or "Protected."
An example of privacy settings can also be seen above with the Video Blogging.
II. How Xanga Relates to Other Applications">II. How Xanga Relates to Other Applications
Xanga is rather similar to other social networking websites in existence. One additional feature that Xanga provides is a currency referred to as "credits," which may be used to "purchase" items, such as animations, called "Minis," that can be added to comments. (Located underneath the comment text box).
Here is what the Minis menu looks like:
Also, similarly to other social networking websites, Xanga now has a feature to make it adaptable to your mobile phone. Comparisons can be made between the social networking capabilities of Xanga to other similar applications, such as Friendster, Bebo, and MySpace. 
III. Real World Application ">III. Real World Application
III.1 Educational Lesson Plans">III.1 Educational Lesson Plans
Teachers can connect with their students this way and make lesson plans easily ready for students who missed class to have an alternative way to find out what homework they missed, or need to do to catch up. Posting readings, problem numbers, and other homework can assure a student to be able to keep up in the classroom, and not worry about being left behind if they become extremely sick and miss several days in a row. It also would give them their own responsibility to keep up with the work and not rely on their parents to find out what they have missed. Students are also able to send messages to their teacher directly to ask personal questions about the lesson plans that they have missed. Xanga can also help students learn and improve their communicative skills, typing, and grammar skills in many different levels of education.
i. Elementary Lesson Plan">i. Elementary Lesson Plan
Xanga can be an important tool in an educational environment at any level. In the age of technology, it is important to involve the students in learning that will be interesting and fun for them. Blogging can not only improve students' typing and computer skills, but it can also improve their communication skills and their ability to freely express ideas. Blogging also plays into students' desires to interact with their peers. By allowing students to comment on other's views, blogs also would give them an opportunity to learn to build an effective argument and work together to find a solution .
Xanga could be a useful tool in an elementary classroom because it contains lots of fun stories and games that will keep the attention of the students. Xanga could be a good source for discussion for elementary students because teachers could read articles to the students and have the discuss them online. Students could also experience cooperative learning on Xanga as they communicate with others 
Frog and Toad Together Lesson Plan (S.T.E.M.)
Overview: For students to understand and comprehend that there are many different ways to communicate throughout the classroom and through the internet with the use of a computer. They will also learn how to write a weblog and make a to do list, and comment on each other's lists.
- Students will learn how to predict the outcome of the story, "Frog and Toad together"
- Students will learn how to use the Web 2.0 application
- Students learn how to create a "to do" list
Famous Artist Project Lesson Plan
Overview: Students will be able to research a variety of artists as well as give and receive input to fellow classmates using Xanga. They will learn the ins and outs of a weblog and proper presentation-giving techniques.
- Conduct simplistic research using a given database
- Find needed/requested information and differentiate between that and information that is of no use
- Make a post on Xanga
- Make a comment on Xanga
- Give a small report/presentation
ii. Secondary Lesson Plan">ii. Secondary Lesson Plan
Xanga could be used in a secondary education setting as a means of satisfying a student's needs for social interaction. Talking to other people on Xanga could help students solve problems or get help with questions they may have. Students in middle school or high school would benefit with this application because they could talk to other students in their class online. Interaction on Xanga could be used as a motivational activity by a teacher to provide information in a more interesting way then just coming to class and doing book work. Students could participate in a conversation on Xanga which could, in turn, motivate them more because it would be more interesting. Xanga could also apply to cooperative learning because students could be assigned to small groups and interact and share ideas .
Science Fair Blog Lesson Plan (S.T.E.M.)
Overview: Students will have the opportunity to create a virtual science fair project by posting their work on the blogging website, Xanga, rather than having a formal demonstration.
Objective: Following the scientific method, students will be expected to complete a complete science experiment and will post their research, hypothesis, observations, data, results, and conclusions on a classroom Xanga blog.
iii. Post Secondary Lesson Plan">iii. Post Secondary Lesson Plan
Like any other level of education, Xanga can also satisfy a student's needs for social interaction. Just as in the secondary classroom, talking to other people on Xanga could help one solve problems or help with questions one may have. Students in college would benefit with this application because they could talk to and interact with other students in their classes through online discussion. Interaction on Xanga could be also used as a motivational activity similar to those that could be used in a secondary education classroom by a teacher to provide information in a more interesting way than lecturing. Students could participate in an online discussion or comment on each others' blogs on Xanga which could, in turn, motivate them more because it would be more interesting. Xanga could also apply to cooperative learning in college because professors could assign students to small groups and have them interact and share ideas on this application, just as students in a secondary education classroom might do .
More information about using blogs in the classroom can be found at http://www.nytimes.com/2004/08/19/technology/circuits/19blog.html?ex=1250568000&en=33627811ca310596&ei=5090.
III.2 Business/Industry">III.2 Business/Industry
Xanga could be used in a business industry in many ways. Instead of meeting regularly, a group could create their own blog and post thoughts and ideas there. Members could get on once a week and chat online. It would be convenient because if a member randomly thinks of a good idea towards a presentation or finds some interesting research, they can immediately post it on the blog for the rest of the group to see and possibly enhance.  An example of this can be seen on http://weblog.xanga.com/business_directory/634191786/businessdirectoryhe.html.
IV. Demonstration of Educational Value">IV. Demonstration of Educational Value
Xanga can be an important tool in all levels of an educational environment. In the age of technology, it is important to involve the students in learning that will be interesting and fun for them. With online blogging, teachers can do just that! Blogging can not only improve students typing and computer skills, but it can also improve their communication skills and their ability to freely express ideas. Blogging also plays into students' desires to interact with their peers. By allowing students to comment on other's views, blogs also would give them an opportunity to learn to build an effective argument and work together to find a solution [7,8&9].
Xanga definitely has a great amount of educational value right now, and it definitely has an even greater potential to increase its educational value. Many schools have discussed using this application in the classroom to help students express their own thoughts and ideas about certain topics related to schooling, which is proof that the use of Xanga is on the rise in today's world of education [7,8&9].
V. How Xanga Is Used Internationally">V. How Xanga Is Used Internationally
Although Xanga is used in other countries in many of the same ways it is used in America, the site also includes a "Xanga HK", or Xanga Hong Kong, component. Here, people from Hong Kong and other surrounding areas can visit Xanga and create their own blogs. Because Xanga created this new addition to their website, the people of Hong Kong can now easily access Xanga and read and write blogs using their native Chinese language. Xanga's integration of another culture's language and ideas is just one example that clearly displays just how far technology has come .
VI. References">VI. References
6. Educational Technology for Teaching and Learning pages 87 and 107