What are blogs?
Blog is short for web log. It’s a bit like an online journal where you share your thoughts, ideas, and news. Not only can you share through written expression, but you can also share images, videos and other content through linking or embedding this content into your blog post. Unlike a journal, blogs are not necessarily private but are created for an audience. Blogs allow you to connect with other people and to communicate your ideas. Ideally, people who read your blog can add their own thoughts by commenting on your posts.
How can I use blogging in my classroom?
There are three general types of educational blogs:
- Class Blogs
Communicate with parents, students, and others. Classroom blogs are platform for sharing assignments, homework and announcements, school or class news, showcasing student work, or for collaboration and discussion.
Edublogger keeps an update Class Blog List. Check it out to get ideas and inspiration for your own class blog and to connect with other classrooms.
- Personal Educator Blogs
Teachers can blog about the subject they teach or about an aspect of teaching they are passionate about. They can share information and resources with students or other educators.
- Student Blogs & ePortfolios
Students can use blogs to master content, share their own content, reflect on their learning, and improve their writing and communication skills. Please keep in mind that parent permission should be attained for students under 13 to have their own blogs on an educational blogging platform and that these blogs should be kept private.
What are the benefits of blogging in the classroom?
Blogging provides the following benefits to students:
- It provides students with an opportunity to openly reflect on what they are learning, make meaningful connections, and deepen their understanding. (This same benefit is provided to teachers when they blog.) The comments and connections provided through blogging enhance that reflection and connection as well.
- Blogging provides the opportunity for students to share content and develop their communication skills and literacy in multiple mediums. Not only can students share their ideas through written expression, but they can also share using audio, video, or other visual presentation tools. “This gives many different opportunities for students to share their voice while becoming fluent in ‘21st century literacies.’”*
- Blogs give students a space to share their voice in a meaningful way – a space to share what they have learned and what they are passionate about.
- Blogging provides an archive of student learning. Through the posts and work students have shared on their blog, students and teachers can look back on what a student has learned and how they have developed.
- Not only does blogging provide an opportunity for students to practice and apply the digital citizenship skills they should be learning in the classroom, but they are actively beginning to create their own positive digital footprints.
*Couros, George. “5 Reasons Your Students Should Blog.” The Principal of Change, 13 Mar. 2013, georgecouros.ca/blog/archives/3721.
- Student privacy is a concern to students, parents, and educators alike. Make this a priority by creating a private blog and/or leaving out student-identifiable information.
- Remember that you are representing yourself and your school. Quality counts!
- Think about why you are blogging and what platform will serve your classroom’s needs best.
- Research before you begin. Take a look at other teachers’ and classroom blogs to get ideas about how they are being used.
- Start small. Begin with a single classroom blog before beginning student blogs. This will allow you to learn and get comfortable with the platform.
- When creating a classroom-run blog, allow students to suggest ideas for the blog topics. Assign them responsibility for writing the posts and creating the content for the blog.
- Use your blog as a tool to communicate with students and parents. Make announcements and provide reminders of due dates for assignments. Share what you and your students are doing in your classroom.
- Promote your blog and develop an audience. This gives students an authentic audience and purpose for writing. Allow students to read and comment on others’ blogs. Invite parents and other classes to follow your blog.
Educational Blogging Services
If you’d like to try creating a classroom blog, educator blog or student blogs, there are several blogging services available that cater to educational and classroom uses. These include:
Weebly for Education
Weebly works well for a class blog, student blog, or personal educator blog. If you’re already using Weebly, blogs are just another type of page. With a Weebly Education account, you can create accounts for your students to create their own Weebly webpages and blogs. A basic free Weebly Education account allows you to create up to 40 student accounts, though you can upgrade to a paid account for more students and features.
Tutorial to Start a Blog on Weebly
Edublogs is educational blogging tool that can be used to create a class blog, educator blog, or student blogs. You can create classes, student user accounts, and student blogs. Powered by WordPress, there are a lot of features. You can create your own blog and student blogs for free, but storage and features are limited. You can upgrade to more features and storage for a fee.
Getting Started with Your Blog
Kidblog is a simple-to-use student blogging platform. It works well for younger students and has some great features. It has a free one-month trial, but there is a subscription fee after the trial.
Learn More about Blogging in the Classroom:
- The Current State of Educational Blogging (This resource provides a thorough overview of Educational Blogging, information about different blogging platforms, and links to examples of the different types of Educational Blogs.)
- Video of one teacher’s experience teaching blogging in her classroom
- 5 Reasons Your Students Should Blog
- How Blogging is Being Used in the Classroom Today Research Results
- 9 Reasons Why Teachers Should Blog
- Getting Started with Classroom Blogging
- Blogging in classroom – How to get started
Educational Blogs to Follow
There are countless blogs that you can follow to get new ideas and strategies to try in your classroom. You may want to begin your use with blogs just by finding and following a few that cover topics you’re interested in. Here are a few to get you started: