The educational blogging community continues to expand at a rapid rate as evidenced by the over four million blogs on Edublogs, and countless more on other platforms.
In the traditional classroom, the only audience for student work was the teacher and sometimes classmates and parents. Blogs provide a much larger audience for student work and an avenue for feedback and self-improvement through commenting.
When we establish an authentic audience for our students we help them connect their classwork to the real world. After all, isn’t that what education is supposed to be about?
As author and educator, Howard Pitler points out:
With an authentic audience, learners are able to focus on their process and their intended results instead of merely focusing on pleasing an audience of one – a teacher with a red pen and an answer sheet.
When high standards are set, and explicit teaching is embedded, a blogging program can be a powerful catalyst to improved literacy skills.
Well known children’s author, Mem Fox, states that:
“We’re currently wasting a lot of time by giving unreal writing tasks in our classrooms….You and I don’t engage in meaningless writing exercises in real life – we’re far too busy doing the real thing.”
Traditional literacy skills are also no longer enough for our students. As innovative educator Silvia Tolisano points out, there are now many types of 21st literacies including: digital, media, visual and global literacies. A classroom blogging program can help integrate these literacies into your classroom seamlessly.
Creating a class blog requires teamwork and collaboration. Students and teachers can learn and share together.
Blogging is an excellent way to learn about being a responsible member of an online community, digital footprints, netiquette, making safe choices and more. As Connect Safely identify, the key messages educators need to teach are: ‘think before you post’ and ‘be kind and respectful’.
The process of blogging allows a lot of scope for personal development, for both students and teachers. Blogging offers reinforcement and feedback through comments beyond the immediate classroom community. This can drive self-esteem, personal reflection and growth, as well as confidence. Students and/or teachers may realize they have something important to say, and blogging may encourage individuals to speak their mind, reflect deeply and share their understandings.
Blogging is also a fantastic creative outlet.
Lifelong Learning: Effective teaching and learning
Whatever position we are in, we must take advantage of the tools we now have for connecting beyond our immediate surrounds.
A blog is merely a website that can be customized to meet your individual requirements.
Blogs offer you the versatility to create a unique online space to represent yourself and/or your students and community. Unlike some online tools, blogging is completely free yet the potential uses and advantages are incomparable.