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There are 1,518,207,412 websites in the world as of January 2019. These websites can be a personal, commercial, government or non-profit organisation website. Websites are typically dedicated to a particular topic or purpose – ranging from entertainment and social networking to providing news and education.
Blogs are another form of a website and they have been in use for years, but it is only recently that teachers are incorporating them as a learning tool in the classroom because it provides many positive aspects to their students.
When speaking about blogging in the classroom, we are running away from the academic writing and practising informal writing, which in many occasions takes off the pressure and gives a voice to students in a ‘safe environment’. This does not mean that it may be also used to publish assignments and essays, which do contribute to sharing and educating in particular topics and to practise writing.
Blogging is an effective way to take literacy across the curriculum; it may be used for all kinds of subjects, such as maths, science, sports, languages, etc. It is an innovative way to share ideas, make comments, open discussions and engage in critical reflection.
Blogging can be more than just a hobby; it has its applications within the classroom:
- Owning your content. Blogging is a safe option is to house all your work and then use other platforms in ancillary ways.
- Online hub. A blog can be a place where all the bits and pieces you create and explore in the online and offline world can be housed. This could include videos, podcasts, graphic designs, articles, links, etc.
- Traditional literacy. Through integrating blogging into the literacy curriculum, not only can students’ literacy skills improve, but engagement levels can also be increased.
- New literacies. These new literacies include things like digital citizenship, curation, critical evaluation, visual literacies and so on. And then there are essential skills like problem-solving, critical thinking, and cultural awareness.
- Creativity. Of course, there is an element of creative writing and the opportunity to explore different topics. But there’s also the aspect of problem-solving and coming up with different solutions (a skill a blogger always needs).
As you know, students of most ages and levels enjoy being online in just about any form. So, with the help of blogging, you can motivate students in your classroom to take an active part in their learning. With this technology tool, students can work online completing writing projects, journalling, collaborating with other students, and even keeping track of and turning in assignments.
You could create one blog for the entire class, or you could have students create their own blog, using online platforms. You will likely want to decide which platform works best for you and your class, depending on student age and level. Spend some time familiarising yourself with the different formats.
As you can imagine, with all the uses for blogs, you can transform your classroom into an educational playground.
How to incorporate blogs in teaching is the topic of a book chapter I wrote, which explores the role that blog psychology can play in teaching. As an emerging field, blog psychology deals with the applications and principles of blogging.
This chapter also offers strategies for creating an effective classroom blog. Also, it will point out some of the benefits of blogging in education such as: allowing students to articulate their views. It is more engaging than simply reading a textbook; and, it increases extroverts’ satisfaction in the classroom, and has a host of other classroom benefits.
Finally, the chapter will address one of the biggest challenges of blogging in the classroom. One of which is that many educators are not sure what a blog is, how to set it up, and how to use it in the classroom.
The book is entitled Handbook of Research on User Experience in Web 2.0 Technologies and Its Impact on Universities and Businesses, edited by Jean-Éric Pelet and published by IGI Global
Image credit: Freepik
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