As a technology instructor for grades K-5 I enjoy having my students blog in the classroom. I have parents and teachers ask me often, “Why do you have your students blog?” When I answer them, I tell them there are three good reasons to blog in the classroom.
1 – Students are writing for a captive audience
There are numerous times in the school day when we ask our students to take out their journal and write about something. Answer honestly, how often do the students get to take out their journals and share that entry they just wrote? Because of time constraints we cannot have every student read their entry. However, with blogging, each student is allowed to publish and have their own journal entry read by others. Each author can also have comments written below their entry for instant feedback. I hear often students discussing each other’s work in the classroom when they blog. When it comes to writing, the more feedback a student receives, the more they want to write. Even a small number of comments creates positive reinforcement that will motivate students to write.
2 – Students can develop various writing skills
The nice thing about blogging is that the teacher may or may not want to dictate what type of writing students should practice. Blogging is a great way for students to write an opinion piece and then share it with other students. The other students can then encourage the author defend their opinion. Blogging is also a great way for students to stay up to date with current events. No longer do the students have to go home, watch a news report and discuss the next day in class. Now, the students can use the computer to read a news article and blog about the current event. How exciting for the students to share what they just learned or experienced. No matter what type of writing skills the teacher is developing in class, the students can write using the skills they are currently developing. With each student blogging, the teacher then has some great wring samples to discuss in class. Can you imagine having 30 different journal entries to compare in class? With blogging, things like this are possible.
3 – Safety
The first lesson we start off with when blogging is a lesson about safety. The students discuss safety issues on the Internet. Questions such as, “What types of information should you never post?” and “What types of things are safe to post on the Internet?” always lead to good discussions. It is a good idea to write these answers down and have them posted in the classroom so the students can refer to them while they are blogging. By the end of the lesson, the students are reminded to keep it positive, and keep it safe while they blog.
These are just three reasons I like to blog in the classroom. Of course there are many others. I am sure you will have your own reasons as well!
Photo Credit: Tambako the Jaguar via flickr cc