This blog post is part of a series of posts following an A-Z theme, as adapted from the A to Z April Challenge.
B is for Blogging
I have always wanted to learn how to utilise a class blog. When the opportunity arose to attend “Technify Your Teaching in 2013” as run by the team behind Tech Tools for Teachers, I jumped at it! Myself and my teaching partner attended both sessions run by Kathleen Morris and Kelly Jordan. They showed us their class blog and it was completely inspiring. I knew I had to begin immediately!
I could sit here and re-type my journey since starting a class blog and my own personal blog but I think I covered it pretty well in this post.
Instead, after blogging for a year and a bit with my class, I think I am ready to analyse the benefits of blogging in the classroom, as based on my own experiences.
While there are many, many possibilities and benefits of blogging with a class, I have noticed improvements in;
- ICT Skills
- Classroom Community
- Home/School Partnerships
- Internet Safety
- Global Connections and knowledge
Let me explain how and why.
In teaching how to post good quality comments and demanding well written pieces for guest posts, these high expectations mean that students are determined to improve their literacy skills. Somehow, knowing that what they are writing will be available on the internet for everyone to see, students acknowledge that poorly punctuated and written comments are not acceptable. Nor should they be – in anything they do! I have seen dramatic improvement in writing – better use of punctuation and expanded vocabulary – and also in reading skills because there is a purpose for students.
Self explanatory, really.
Most mornings, we look at our class blog in our community circle. I can see the excitement on my students’ faces when they notice our ‘global visitors’ counter (Clustrmap widget) has increased. The students feel more connected as a class, and you can certainly tell by the amount of their own personal time that they spend on our blog leaving comments!
Not only do the parents love having a window into the happenings of my classroom but so do siblings of my students! I know parents are extremely grateful to have the opportunity to see what we’re doing in class and participate in online conversations with us.
I love having the opportunity to teach my students how to be safe on the internet and create a positive digital footprint in an authentic setting!
I have never seen my students so motivated as when they are collaborating with other classes on projects. We have worked with classes in New Zealand, Japan, Malaysia and Australia on a variety of projects. We have used Skype to help us form connections. We even had the chance to organise a day where my students met their blogging buddies in person! Not to mention the opportunities for my students to develop their knowledge of other places in the world. This is probably my favourite reason for blogging – flattening those classroom walls!