This week I read an interesting article about a teacher who was sharing her experience using blogs in her classroom. More than a tool to engage students, she provides many reasons for why blogs are an effective teaching and learning strategy. Pericles stressed that blogging has made a significant difference to how her class is organised, how she teaches, how the students learn and how they demonstrate their learning (2008, p.4). Such assertions are also supported by Barone and Wright who believe that teachers now need to redefine the concept of reading and writing, particularly with the advent of the Internet (2008/2009, p.292).
There were three key ideas about blogging that I felt teachers would find helpful:
1. The class blog allows for authentic learning experiences. A blog can be a forum to post assignments, class news, summarise particular topics that the students are learning and can be an opportunity for the students to demonstrate and reflect on their learning. Students are also linked to real audiences and are able to engage in a dialogue with them. When students have the opportunity to engage in authentic learning experiences, their knowledge and skills become more meaningful and effective.
2. Blogs are an effective way to encourage self-directed learning. Depending on the explicit instructions and boundaries specified, a blog can provide an opportunity for students to take ownership over their work, demonstrate their understanding in different ways and be able to work towards explicit quality criteria. Pericles asserts that blogging allows for discussion and negotiation with students, with a view to setting high quality guidelines for class and personal blogs (2008, p.5).
3. Blogs provide an opportunity to build a strong sense of community within the classroom. It is something that each student has the chance to participate in and can be extremely flexible when demonstrating knowledge and understanding. This provides a non-confrontational platform and can really help to bond a class together. Having a sense of a belonging is crucial for any student and a blog is an effective tool to keep in your toolkit.
Pericles, K. (2008). Happily blogging @ Belmore South. SCAN, 27(2), 4-6
Barone, D., & Wright, T. E. (2008). Literacy instruction with digital and media technologies. The Reading Teacher, 62(4), 292-302