How Can You Start Using Blogs in the Classroom?
If you’re an avid reader of online websites, you’ve likely come across quite a few blogs in different genres, all with a unique style and approach. Blogs can be a fantastic way to get everything from news and information to fun and engaging entertainment.
If you’re an educator, you may be wondering how to get all of the advantages of blogging and the blogosphere and make them part of your students’ educational experience.
Below are some of the key ways to integrate blogging into your classroom in a realistic yet valuable way.
Choose the Right Platform
If you’re creating a blog for business or to make money, you’re likely to use a platform like WordPress. When using a blog in a classroom setting, this may not be the platform you use. If you want your students’ blogs to be public, you can still use WordPress, but this is often best for older students.
For younger students that are options like EduBlog.com.
These blogging platforms are designed specifically for use by students and teachers, they are private, and the focus is on offering the simplicity required so that students can focus their efforts on publishing their posts.
What Will the Blogging Schedule Look Like?
When you’re using a blog for the classroom, you have a few different options regarding how blogs will be posted and what the schedule will look like. The first option is only to blog as a teacher and share your posts with your students and parents.
Another option that can be used on its own or with the above approach would be to setup a single classroom blog. This tends to include a more structured approach to blogging, where everyone would be part of a defined editorial calendar and contribute based on a schedule. The entire class would likely vote on things like topic ideas.
Also an option would be having each student have their own individual blog. This is good if you want a lot of freedom and flexibility for students to decide on the topics and schedule that appeals most to them.
Create Guidelines and Parameters
Using blogs in the classroom can be an outstanding way to foster in-depth discussions and critical thinking, but there should be guidelines as to how students comment on each others’ posts and share their opinions and criticisms.
They should be encouraged to be part of discussions, but educators should set guidelines as to the kind of language they can use with one another, and how to be constructive instead of simply being mean or overly critical.
A few other things to consider when you’re setting up a classroom blog or encouraging students to blog include remembering to be consistent, encouraging local and even global collaboration between your students and other student bloggers, and taking the time to read other blogs.
It’s also important to teach students about the technical considerations of blogging, such as the importance of grammar and readability, as well as citing sources and references.
Blogging can open up a whole new world of opportunities in the classroom, and it represents the chance for students to learn, grow and think critically in ways they might not otherwise have.