21 Reasons why students Blog?
- It is FUN! Fun!….. I hear your sceptical exclamation!! However, it is wonderful when students think they are having so much fun, they forget that they are actually learning. A favourite comment on one of my blog posts is: It’s great when kids get so caught up in things they forget they’re even learning…
- Authentic audience – no longer working for a teacher who checks and evaluates work but a potential global audience.
- Suits all learning styles – special ed (this student attends special school 3days per weeek, our school 2 days per week, gifted ed, visual students, multi-literacies plus ‘normal‘ students.
- Increased motivation for writing – all students are happy to write and complete aspects of the post topic. Many will add to it in their own time.
- Increased motivation for reading – my students will happily spend a lot of time browsing through fellow student posts and their global counterparts. Many have linked their friends onto their blogroll for quick access. Many make comments, albeit often in their own sms language.
- Improved confidence levels – a lot of this comes through comments and global dots on their cluster maps. Students can share their strengths and upload areas of interest or units of work eg personal digital photography, their pets, hobbies etc Staff are given an often rare insight into what some students are good at. We find talents that were otherwise unknown and it allows us to work on those strengths. It allows staff to often gain insight to how students are feeling and thinking.
- Pride in their work – My experience is that students want their blogs to look good in both terms of presentation and content.
- Blogs allow text, multimedia, widgets, audio and images – all items that digital natives want to use
- Increased proofreading and validation skills
- Improved awareness of possible dangers that may confront them in the real world, whilst in a sheltered classroom environment
- Ability to share – part of the conceptual revolution that we are entering. They can share with each other, staff, their parents, the community, and the globe.
- Mutual learning between students and staff and students.
- Parents with internet access can view their child’s work and writings – an important element in the parent partnership with the classroom. Grandparents from England have made comments on student posts. Parents have ‘adopted’ students who do not have internet access and ensured they have comments.
- Blogs may be used for digital portfolios and all the benefits this entails. Use Labels gadget and then Label each post with creators names e.g. Kim, Mark, Ben As the year goes you will kids names in Labels Gadget with the posts they created.
- Work is permanently stored, easily accessed and valuable comparisons can be made over time for assessment and evaluation purposes
- Students are digital natives - blogging is a natural element of this.
- Gives students a chance to show responsibility and trustworthiness and engenders independence.
- Prepares students for digital citizenship as they learn cybersafety and netiquette
- Fosters peer to peer mentoring. Students are happy to share, learn from and teach their peers (and this, often not their usual social groups)
- Allows student led professional development and one more……
- Students set the topics for posts – leads to deeper thinking activities
This is surely powerful learning!!
Blogs in Plain English
Things to consider!
Susie Vespers Confident and Connected Keynote gives you ideas to consider.
1. Develop a school policy or check with Senior Management first.
2. Create blog and a few posts before sharing with students. Be sure you want to update regularly otherwise students will switch off.
3. Our teachers created the blog (legally kids must be 13 to have a blogger account) and are mentoring students who will be given responsibility of updating in groups of three on a weekly basis. Suggest that to begin with you could co-construct posts at the end of a group teaching session e.g. reading so you are modelling how to. After a few weeks the kids could do it independently or as a follow-up activity.