How to Use Blogs in the Classroom
Blogs can be a great educational tool and give students complete freedom to publish web content. However, it’s important to know just how to use blogs in the classroom. With that in mind, today’s article will tell you all you need to know to make the most of this tool.
Getting children to write, especially when they haven’t developed the habit, can be a challenge – both for students as well as educators. So, imagine, for example, that you want your students to write about mathematics. That probably sounds even more challenging. But, if you use blogs in the classroom, it can make all the difference.
The writing in blogs tends to be fairly informal and familiar sounding. Academic writing, however, tends to be very formal and can even be intimidating to many people. Therefore, the fact that students are writing for a blog can help relieve the pressure of formal academic writing. This context gives students a voice, but in a comfortable and unthreatening way.
What is a blog?
The word “blog” is an abbreviation of the words web log. It’s sort of like an online diary or journal, except that they’re not necessarily private. Rather, in most cases, they’re created for a specific audience. Just like in a diary, blog writing is relaxed. So, with that in mind, it can be a great way for students to start feeling good about writing, without pressure.
People use blogs to write about all sorts of subjects. What’s more, readers can leave comments, which then lead to debates and discussions about the blog’s content.
For example, a blog about arts education in the classroom can generate dialogue between teachers that are experts on the subject and those that are just getting their feet wet. They can ask one another questions and get the answers and input they’re looking for.
Tips on how to use blogs in the classroom
Guidelines and expectations
As a teacher, begin by consulting with your educational institution about what you can and can’t do with blogs in the classroom. For example, what you can use them for and with what type of content. That way, you can develop clear goals, guidelines, and expectations for yourself and your students.
For example, your school may or may not allow you to publish pictures of your students. Or, you may need written permission from parents in order for students that are minors to participate. It’s essential to know the rules before you get started with your blog. Then, you can publish and update the user rules right on the blog to make them more accessible for parents and students.
Integrate the classroom study plan
You can use blogging to give teachers and students easy access to your classroom study plan and syllabus. From mathematics and science to history and literature, blogs are an excellent way to share the curriculum.
Good writing skills are important for all students and for all subject areas
Blogs don’t just require knowledge on a specific subject. It’s also important to possess and continue developing writing skills. Even if a blog deals with math or science, you should still set aside a time and space to work on writing and grammar.
Importance of comments when using blogs in the classroom
The comments section within a blog entry is a place where students can share their thoughts, opinions, and questions. In this way, you can generate a discussion or debate on the subject, as well as address any doubts your students may have. It’s a good idea to teach them what they should and shouldn’t do when making comments, of course.
As a teacher, you can begin by writing the first blog entries and ask your students to post comments. Then, you can discuss the comments during class time. It’s important to encourage students to contribute with quality comments and use correct language when doing so.
Don’t forget to be realistic
Creating a blog takes time so, for example, you can start with a blog that focuses on a subject that allows students to contribute their own articles, under supervision. In this case, you’ll need to choose something that your students can get excited about.
You can also create a thematic classroom blog. And once the theme is over, you can create a new blog on a new topic. For example, the importance of eating healthy, animals that are in danger of extinction, favorite songs, etc. The blogs you no longer update will stay as they are and remain available for others to see.
The learning curve for using blogs in the classroom
As with most new tasks, there’s also a learning curve when it comes to using blogs in the classroom. Learning to work with platforms like WordPress can take some time. However, it may just turn into a task that students become passionate about, which will help them take it more seriously.
With older students (from fourth grade on), you can ask them to manage and supervise blogs and comments. Create management roles and then rotate the task among students over the course of the semester.
Traditional classrooms are a thing of the past, and new professions depend on knowledge about information and communication technologies. So, blogs can help students develop the abilities they need in order to have a well-rounded education.