The benefits of student journaling are well-known. Research has documented that journal writing helps enhance student confidence in their writing, provides insight into the lives of the students, and aids in student learning of grammar and usage. There is a reason why educators everywhere have continued to use this strategy.
Journaling must evolve with the times to continue to engage present day students who have access to so much more. Pencil and paper just can’t cut it any longer. Journaling must enter the electronic age.
Fortunately, there is an opportunity to do just that. Blogging has become commonplace on the Internet. Whether writting about entertainment, news, or personal narratives, there is no denying that bloggers are everywhere. With students already exposed to the concept, it makes perfect sense to take the next step.
Combining the research-based technique of journaling with the real world application of blogging provides the best of both worlds. Blogging online brings today’s tech-savvy students all the advantages of journaling, as well as all the familiarity of the Internet culture in which they have been raised.
The possibilities are endless. Taking journaling to the next level will both inspire and encourage a generation of students as comfortable with technology as any before them. I can speak from experience that it is often difficult to get students to write. Many of them find the task tedious and therefore fight against it. However, by providing them with the chance to write online for a wider audience, it can help make any writing assignment more enticing to the students. Once you are able to tap into students’ excitement, you will quickly see an improved result.
Over the last couple of years, my classroom has used Kidblog to write a variety of assignments. We have set goals for students both within a current school term, as well as longer term goals for the entire year. We have created fictional stories manifesting the students’ creativity. In many of these stories, the student ends with a cliffhanger or a “to be continued.” We have used blogs as a forum to review, analyze, compare and contrast specific content within the curriculum. The writing of blog posts has become a way for students to strengthen their writing stamina as well as a way to target areas of weakness with their grammatical usage.
Blogging allows students easy access to their peers’ work, providing them with the chance to approach writing—their own and their classmates’—with a critical eye. The ability to comment on posts is a high level skill and is important in the development of students’ cognition.
The days of pencils and paper are over. There is no longer the need to keep little booklets in the classroom, taking up space, for the students to write their journals. Students’ blogs are promoting a skill that could become a life-long habit.