1. Learners are now writing for an audience rather than their teacher
2. Writing is easier to edit online which reduces some frustrations in the writing process
3. Work is located in one place and can be accessed to mark and assess from anywhere with an Internet connection
4. You’ll be preparing your learners for life in a digital world
5. It fosters a collaborative environment
6. Double whammy: Your learners will be reading and writing simultaneously
7. Opens the opportunity for learners to discuss topics outside of the classroom
8. Every person has an equal opportunity to share their thoughts and opinions
9. Learners have space to reflect and be reflective with one another
10. Provides opportunities for learners to interact, network, and conference with knowledgeable individuals or specialists from around the world
There are several ways to turn the process of journal writing or free-writing from an ‘offline’ activity to an ‘online‘ activity, all of which are simple to achieve and easy to manage.
Use one of the web2.0 tools below to start a classroom blog. For more advanced users, use the tools below to create independent blogs for each of your students.
Here’s a list of commonly used blogging tools:
- Kid Blog – designed for each student to have an individual blog within a classroom blog created by the teacher
- Edu Blogs – designed for each student to have an individual blog within a classroom blog created by the teacher
- Blogger – designed for individual blogging
- WordPress – designed for individual blogging
How to set up and use the blog for student learning:
- All the above blogs are set up in more or less the same way. Some are designed to be use as individual blogs while others are designed for groups of blogs to be created and administered by a teacher
- All blogs need an email address to register, and you’ll be prompted to select a title for your blog.
- My advice is to keep the blog title simple and easy for your learners to remember. A blog title such as “Technology Trooper’s Of 21st Century Learning” may not be the best title because in order for your learners to access the blog they’ll have to type something similar to the following into the URL box in the browser, http://technologytroopersof21stcenturylearning.wordpress.com
- When choosing a blog title keep it short and sweet
- You’ll also be asked during registration for a username and password. Both pieces of information are required to access, manage, and control the blog once it’s live
Two Types Of Blogs And How To Use Them:
1. Teacher creates one blog for the entire class and creates content and learners to comment and respond to
- There are numerous ways to use a blog as an ‘online’ writing tool
- In its basic form one blog is created, a class blog, and the teacher acts as the administrator of the blog
- As an introduction to blogging, perhaps the first half of the year, you set the content of the blogs and your learners respond to your posts
- A post can be defined as content you create and insert (post) into your blog
- Content can be text, images, video, audio, or a file
See example below:
2. Teacher creates a class blog and then creates individual blogs for each learner in his/her class.
- This technique is regarded as blogging in its pure form. Learners generate their own content for their blog.
- Students comment and interact with each others blogs as well as the teachers blog
- Students also comment and interact with blogs of other classmates
Administering The Blog:
I realize it’s super important to monitor the content that is posted on a class blog or an individual’s blog. All of the above blogging tools offer a variety of security options to make sure inappropriate content never makes it to the live blog. I prefer to select the option which enables all comments go through the teacher to be approved before they are posted to the blog. This ensure the blog represents the school and all its students in the best possible way.
See example below:
Content Ideas For Your Blog:
- Respond to a picture – How does the picture make you feel and why? Create a story around the picture. Create a personality for the person in the picture based on what the person looks like
- Post a video from YouTube and ask learners to response. What is Shane Koyczen saying about Canada? Use examples from the poem to support your thinking
- Post a debate question from idebate. Split the class into two groups, for and against, and have them post on their initial views followed by their responses to others comments on the blog
- Use the blog as a math journal for personal reflections and word problem examples.