Blog. Blogging. Blogger. Doesn’t exactly roll off the tongue, does it? Despite the fact that the word and all its glorious variants have become commonplace in recent years, we’ve come to realize that blogging is still a mysterious, intimidating—even off-putting—word for many people.
What is it then? It’s simply a web tool that allows anyone (the blogger) to journal, reflect and share ideas, pictures and webpage links; it’s also free. Honestly, if you have a couple of working fingers and any sort of imagination, you can blog.
Although blogs have been around since the 90s, using blogging in the classroom is in its infancy. Nonetheless, educators are finding that blogs can be an excellent tool to promote literacy and writing skills; blogging can also increase student involvement because it uses a medium students find engaging and comfortable. Here are 5 reasons you should consider using blogging in the classroom:
1) Blogging Encourages Literacy Across the Curriculum.
Due to federal mandates left over from No Child Left Behind, literacy is now required to be a cross curricular activity. Blogging encourages students to read and write, regardless of the subject matter. Blogs are a great way to meet federal and state mandated literacy requirements while allowing a wide open field in terms of content.
Science students can blog about something in the world that applies to the current lesson. Math students can blog a step-by-step explanation of how to perform a math function (everyone learns best when teaching others, right?) History and Government students can blog about how they feel about current events. Language Arts teachers have endless possibilities. A student has to both read and write in order to blog, making it a perfect venue for practicing both skills.
2) Blogging Reaches Out To the "Others"
The days of the one-size-fits-all classroom are history. Using blogging in the classroom is a less conventional way to capture the attention and interest of kinesthetic learners. They're given something to do with their hands, they are stimulated, and they learn in a forum outside of the traditional classroom setting. Blogs might be the first assignment some of the "others" have ever turned in on time, and teachers may be surprised by the results.
3) Blogging Allows Freedom
Writing can be a free format, but traditionally it has been a more formal means of learning that students have had pounded into them since entering the classroom. Blogging creates a space where students get to think, or express themselves, in a different way. For one thing, blogs can be informal, which makes them less intimidating for weak writers. Students may have mental blocks trying to structure an assignment using academic language, but using blogging in the classroom allows them to get the words out there without the fear of criticism and/or failure.
4) Blogging Builds Computer Skills
Using technology is another cross-curriculum requirement meant to help children prepare for their futures. Using blogging in the classroom combines many of these skills into one activity. Students are using a computer, learning to type, and working with other technological features such as uploading photos or graphics, inserting hyperlinks, creating videos posted as demonstrations, etc. All of these are valuable skills in much of the computer and online based career world.
5) Blogging Is Fun
Anything that makes learning fun is a good thing. Using blogging in the classroom is one of those things. Sharing blogs, reading each others' blogs out loud, creating blogs, commenting on blogs—each of these can become a reason a student might care a little bit more about their classes. Bloggers think about the world in a different way because anything could become the subject of the next blog. Imagine students tuning in just a little bit more because they are thinking about their blog outside of school. For many teachers, that's a dream come true.
At Marygrove College, we provide educators, teachers, professionals and administrators with the knowledge and practical ability to keep up with an ever expanding array of technology resources. Technology is rapidly changing—we want to help you stay current. If you are interested in successfully integrating educational technology into your school or classroom, learn more about Marygrove College’s online Master of Education in Educational Technology program!