Happy Friday everyone 🙂
Today, I am writing a post on the benefits of academic blogging because there are so many and I feel this post ties in with the publication and announcement of the Digital Strategy this week for all Irish schools.
What is a blog?
A blog is short for web log. It is like an online diary or journal and can be public or private. Blogs are an easy and comfortable way for students to get writing and improve their literacy skills. Some benefits of academic blogging below are derived from Focus on Technology: Taking Advantage of Web 2.0 Technologies: Classroom Blogging Basics by Hanai Morgan which is the basis of this post as I found the article to be extremely informative, helpful and relatable.
- Students become motivated. The students start to take pride and responsibility in their blogs and want to write posts.
- Blogging is cross curricular. Blogging can be used across the curriculum. From History to religious Education, logging is great way to take literacy across the curriculum.
- Students participate with less fear and gain confidence (McGrail & Davis, 2011). Students can blog about themselves, specific topics, projects and gain confidence in their literacy skills or perhaps class presentations on their blog.
- Blogging catches on in schools. If one class blogs, other teachers and classes may want to get involved also.
- One of the advantages of classroom blogging includes interaction with an outside audience.
- Classroom blogs create more opportunities for more reserved students to express themselves (Lacina & Griffith, 2013). For quieter students, blogging is an excellent way to participate and build up confidence to speak in class and to also communicate with their peers online particularly in giving and receiving encouraging comments. As a teacher, I feel that it is vital to encourage students to contribute quality comments to one another and provide feedback to all students about their blogs in order for them to be implemented successfully in the classroom.
Students may use blogging for numerous learning activities in the classroom including;
- A response to readings / homework
- Class presentations
- Maintaining a class journal
- Posting personal, reflective, exploratory, or open entries
- Sharing student-generated research or links to class-related articles
- Practising writing and improving literacy skills
- Digital Portfolio – Students may be assessed on this (which many students would rather than the traditional notion of an exam or test)
Class Guidelines for Blogging
As teachers, we need to take the appropriate precautions to avoid internet abuse at all times (Morgan, 2014). Guidelines can be published and updated right on your class blog for easy access by students and parents. These may be drawn up previously by your school or you can draw up your own. A really good Irish website for Internet saftey and daily updates is Webwise and is definitely worth checking out when drawing up guidelines/rules for your classroom/ student blogs. One suggestion I would have is collaborating with your students making a set of rules for the class when using the internet and blogging and have them in your classroom or posted on all your blogs. A well designed plan when establishing a blog is highly recommended and Morgan highlights a useful step by step one in this article.
One really useful website I found that might be of use to some of you is Using Blogs in the Classroom. Previously, I have done a short blog post on fantastic educational blogs which you can find here.
As the traditional classroom is changing both worldwide and nationwide and current and future careers are dependent on strong ICT skills, blogging helps students develop the essential skills for their education and future employment (Morgan, 2014). Blogging also ties in with the brand new five year Digital Strategy plan for all Irish schools, incorporating ICT in all classrooms and providing collaborative learning between teachers and students. Classroom blogging is a creative, fun way encompass literacy across the curriculum and cover other methods of learning along the way!
- Hani Morgan (2014) Focus on Technology: Taking Advantage of Web 2.0 Technologies: Classroom Blogging Basics, Childhood Education, 90:5, 379-381, DOI: 10.1080/00094056.2014.953890
- Lacina, J., & Griffith, R. (2013) Blogging as a means of crafting writing. The Reading Teacher, 66(4), 316-320.
- McGrail, E., & Davis, A. (2011). The influence of classroom blogging on elementary student writing. Journal of Research in Childhood Education, 25(4), 415-437.
- Jerles, J. (2012). Blogging in elementary school: Why, how, and what teachers can do to encourage writing. National Teacher Education Journal, 5(3), 85-88.