There is significant debate over whether kids get too much homework. But both sides can probably agree on two things: homework should not stress kids out, and it should facilitate their learning. As a reading and writing teacher, I’ve assigned blogging homework, and I’ve found that it can fit both of these criteria.
First, let’s look at the benefits of giving blogging homework.
1. Students like it more than paper homework
My students enjoyed blogging homework much more than paper homework. For example, some teachers have suggested that assigning reading logs makes kids feel like reading is “work.” Shifting reading logs to a blogging platform can make students enjoy the assignment more. And when kids enjoy an assignment, they are more likely to complete it and do a better job.
2. Kids stay connected to their classmates from home
One reason that blogging is more enjoyable than a written reading log is that it gives students the opportunity to continue the class discussion at home. Blogging can be an interactive homework assignment, because students can read their classmates’ posts and leave comments.
You can require students to comment on other posts as part of the homework assignment. But make sure you give your students examples of what a good comment looks like. Require that the comments be insightful and positive, and that they use correct spelling and grammar.
3. Blog posts don’t get lost
Paper homework can get lost, or kids can forget to turn it in after they complete it. These things can’t happen with blog posts. Assigning a digital form of homework means you don’t have missing assignments.
4. It’s easier on teachers
Grading online assignments is much easier than grading paper assignments. You don’t have to lug home piles of papers or worry about them getting lost. You also won’t have the problem of decoding students’ handwriting.
In the midst of all of these benefits of blogging, are there disadvantages to assigning homework online? In my opinion, there’s really only one, but it’s a big one: some students don’t have internet access.
Internet service can be pretty darn expensive. I’ve had students from all walks of life. You probably do, too. Some only had one computer at home, and one of their parents was always using it. Others simply didn’t have internet access on anything other than their mom’s smartphone…if even that.
For these students, completing a blogging assignment at home might be nearly impossible. It’s also embarrassing for them to have to admit they don’t have the ability to do an online assignment.
So how can you solve the problem of students who don’t have internet access?
Always set aside classroom time for blogging
You should set aside time during class for blogging. Simply call it “free work time” so students have the option to complete their blog posts, or work on something else. Perhaps students could also find time before school, after school, or during lunch if they have the opportunity. Always make accommodations for students who don’t have internet access. Make sure they know that they can come talk to you and work out a solution.
In the end, the benefits of blogging homework outweigh the potential hurdles.