Blogging in the Classroom

Instructor: Vanessa Botts
Blogs and blogging enable teachers to augment instruction and give students a place to stay connected, informed, and engaged in the classroom. Blogs can also help students improve their writing skills. In this lesson, we will discuss some easy ways to integrate this effective tool into the curriculum.

What is a Blog?

You are probably already familiar with what a blog is, but just in case, a blog is an informally written website, created by an individual, most often in a journal-like format. Originally, blogs were online diaries where individuals shared their daily activities or talked about their passions. Over time, blogs have developed into much more and can be used in the classroom for a variety of educational purposes.

Blogging for Student Engagement

As you know, students of most ages and levels enjoy being online in just about any form. So, with the help of blogging, you can motivate students in your classroom to take an active part in their learning. With this technology tool, students can work online completing writing projects, journaling, collaborating with other students, and even keeping track of and turning in assignments.

You could create one blog for the entire class, or you could have students create their own blog, using online platforms such as Edmodo, WordPress or Weebly. You will likely want to decide which platform works best for you and your class, depending on student age and level. Spend some time familiarizing yourself with the different formats.

For instance, Edmodo is used specifically for the educational space and as such, it provides privacy settings that are especially recommended for the online safety of younger students. A blog in Edmodo is created and moderated by the teacher.

With WordPress and Weebly, students are also able to create their own blog. These platforms offer less privacy as they are shared with the public.

As you can imagine, with all the uses for blogs, you can transform your classroom into an educational playground! Below are some ideas for classroom blogging to get you and your students started. But first, a few brief details on the differences between class and individual student blogs.

Class Blogs

With class blogs, the teacher acts as the operator of the site. On the blog, you can post class announcements, prompts, resources, and assignments, as well as provide a space for students to collaborate by sharing drafts, ideas, or providing each other feedback on their work.

Individual Blogs

In addition to a class blog, you can have students create their very own blog. In this individual space, students can brainstorm, journal, or work on projects. A blog can also be a place for students to showcase their work.

Blogging to Improve Writing

To improve their writing skills, students benefit from journaling, and blogging can help them do just that. The goal of journaling is for students to develop the discipline to write on a regular basis about anything that is important to them. Journaling can also be a creative outlet where students do not face the pressures of more traditional writing assignments.

With journals, grammar and spelling are not as important as the fact that students are writing. When needed, though, there are other blog entries that offer opportunities for students to receive feedback on the mechanics of their writing. The teacher can offer positive comments on the writing but not criticize the content. Of course, inappropriate content has no place in the classroom. The teacher will always have the ability to moderate and oversee content.

You could assign a specific prompt for students to write essay responses, or you could have students summarize a reading passage or even write a book report on the blog. Then, through the blog, you can offer comments and feedback on your students' work.

Announcements and Assignments

Do you ever get tired of having to repeat class announcements or assignments to students who were either not paying attention or not in class? Then, a class blog is the perfect solution for you!

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