Blogging – it’s nothing new. People have been doing it for the last 10-15 years. And the idea of having a class of students blog is also nothing new. But my juniors have started to blog just this year, and we have had some experiences that I just had to share…
I, myself, started to really blog last summer when I started my Masters program in Instructional Technology. Since then, I have been able to reach a fairly large audience and connect with other educators across the globe. This is what led me to integrate blogging into my class of Juniors.
Helps them find a voice –
I have one introverted student that does not participate in class discussions. He becomes very uncomfortable, so I try not to put him on the spot. So his thoughts never get voiced, which he might be ok with. But after posting a few blog entries, he approached me after class one day and said, “I like blogging. It helps me get my thoughts out there.” I try to comment on his posts as often as possible.
Creates enthusiasm for writing and communications –
I also have a student that never came across as one who likes to write. He’d rather work on his trucks and other mechanics. But just today he said out loud in class, “We should really blog more. I like doing it.” I was not expecting that from him, but it made my day, and it made me feel good about our blogging.
Engages students in conversation and learning –
Shortly after starting our blogging, I jumped on Twitter (@jbormann3) and put out there that I was interested in collaborating with another class on some blogging. Mrs. Skotnicki (http://enr4.wordpress.com) from New York state contacted me. She has a class of juniors that happened to be reading the same book as us, Huck Finn. Our classes began commenting on each other’s posts regarding themes and ideas from the book, and conversations have been more fulfilling. They make connections with the text and real-world events and have deeper conversations that otherwise wouldn’t take place in just a classroom.
Provides an opportunity to teach about responsible journalism –
We talked A LOT about this prior to setting up our blogs. We even looked at other blogs to see if the authors are being responsible. We also talked about how these blogs would be based through school since they are using their school gmail accounts to set up a Blogger account. I chose Blogger, because I wanted them to feel like this blog is their own – they are responsible for this blog. They can post to this blog whenever they want. But I made it clear that I would be reading all of them (I subscribe to each of theirs with Google Reader)!
Practices writing concepts –
Good blogs, which is what we try to work on, utilize all the writing concepts that I try to teach (articulation, organization, mechanics, etc.). We peer review our posts before posting them, which strengthens their perception of the value of peer editing.