Blogging provides students with an alternative method of documenting their learning that takes less time and commitment to complete than traditional paper methods. But getting comfortable with blogging requires patience and perseverance from both parties involved.
Here are a few strategies to help your students blog effectively: establishing a home base, setting up individual accounts and navigating between class and student blogs.
1. Encourage students to share their work with others
Blogging offers students an authentic audience for their writing and can bridge the gap between what academic essays require and classroom assignments. Blogging also helps develop digital citizenship skills and communication abilities – key traits needed for today and future careers. As with any new writing activity, blogging may present its own set of unique challenges; therefore it’s helpful for students to have a plan in place on how they’ll use their blog so they have clear purpose while building confidence along the way.
Teaching students how to use blogs requires taking it one step at a time and keeping things straightforward. You could start small and manageable by asking your students to create blog posts about topics that they care deeply about, then sharing those posts with a community who could benefit from what was written or provided. Another idea could be connecting your students with penpals via websites like ePals or teachers at other schools through their blogs as a form of communication between each other – this will give students a sense of audience ownership that increases likelihood they’ll continue blogging.
As students gain more comfort with blogging, it’s advisable to gradually increase the types of posts they create. By providing students with variety through different blog types such as opinion posts, list posts, media (embedding videos/podcasts/slideshares), and question posts they can build their strength while honing their understanding of creating effective posts.
While encouraging students to express themselves creatively in their posts, it’s essential they remember their audience: readers. A post that contains inside jokes or inappropriate language could prove embarrassing or offensive when seen online by parents and peers who read it.
As part of your lesson plans, encourage your students to write about how they’re using their blogs in their own words and avoid plagiarism. While plagiarized material should generally not be posted outside of school environments, plagiarism should be discouraged wherever possible.
2. Encourage students to collaborate with each other
Working on their blog posts together allows students to engage in more dynamic conversations that foster deeper thinking while creating an atmosphere of supportive community. Comments posted by other students can also serve as an effective means of reinforcing and expanding understanding of content that they write about.
One type of blog that works particularly well in classrooms is one dedicated to one specific project or end product. Such blogs can include information such as initial brainstorming and ideation processes, any research conducted before developing a final product, progress updates as the project was being created, the impact and outcomes of said final product and so forth. If your class engages in project-based learning activities often, such a project blog could provide an ideal way for your students to showcase their creativity and mastery of content.
An effective way to get students excited about blogging is creating a class blog where they can easily access each other’s work. By linking directly to their individual blogs, students will have easy access to all the work produced by classmates while leaving comments for each other.
No matter the format of your classroom blog, take the time to show students how to navigate and create their own blogs. Students need to feel at home with this new form of technology before engaging fully in conversations that occur on it.
As your students begin blogging, don’t forget to discuss the importance of digital citizenship with them. This should involve going over the fundamental rules for being safe online such as being kind to others, not posting personal details online and acting professionally online. In addition, make sure that they understand copyright – specifically if submitting their work to external sites such as publishing companies.
3. Ask students to reflect on their work
Blogging is an informal form of writing that gives students an outlet for expression without the pressures associated with formal papers. Blogging also serves as an invaluable opportunity to practice critical thinking; reflecting upon both one’s own work and that of others can strengthen critical reasoning skills and reflection skills. Blogs also provide students with a means of sharing research, opinions and knowledge regarding specific topics.
Instructors looking to maximize the value of blogging assignments should establish clear and unified criteria for assessing blogs, such as using a rubric for assessments across classes. Communicating the criteria early in a project so students understand exactly what will be expected from them will help develop their blogging skills and enhance their work over time.
Teachers should ensure a secure space for blogging. Remind students that their posts may be publicly visible and should never violate school codes of conduct or copyright laws. Educate your pupils that considering audience when creating blog posts will make sure that most readers come back again!
Students should also be encouraged to read other classroom and student blogs to see how other students are using this tool, which will give them an idea of what the finished product should look like and where improvements could be made. As part of their assessment process, students could even be required to moderate other blogs’ comment sections in order to provide more insight.
Starting a blog can be intimidating for students, but once trained on its expectations and learning the details of an assignment, they’ll soon use this tool to meet academic goals while simultaneously becoming positive digital citizens. When high standards are set for their blog writing assignment, students will produce quality posts that demonstrate their comprehension of its contents.
4. Encourage students to share their learning
Make the most out of student blogs by encouraging your students to share their learning with others. This could involve writing a blog post to document lessons they have learned or answering any inquiries posted by other students through a comment feature on your blog. Sharing will not only keep them engaged, but will give them practice evaluating themselves and responding to feedback.
One of the key steps in encouraging student blogging is being clear about your expectations for their blogs. This is especially essential when using an unfamiliar platform as there may be restrictions as to what can and cannot be posted; some sites even may impose age restrictions that need to be considered before launching student blogs.
One way to encourage students to share their learning through blogs is to give them an array of blog post types to choose from. They could write an opinion post, list post or media post (such as embedding videos, podcasts or slideshare presentations). This will allow them to be creative while also prompting critical thought as they consider what they are writing about.
Remind students they are writing for an audience and offer them some guidelines to best engage their readers. One effective strategy would be for students to write about something they find exciting or fascinating themselves; this can ensure posts remain engaging while also helping to foster personal expression and develop their voice as writers.
Blogging can provide an engaging platform for students to showcase their learning in an authentic and personalized manner. Blogging helps build 21st-century skills such as collaboration, communication and critical thinking while at the same time building confidence within safe online spaces.