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Reasons and Tips for Launching Your Own Classroom Blog

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At this point, it’s time for all educators to admit to themselves: students don’t like our old-fashioned ways of teaching. These generations need a different approach. More specifically, we need to inspire them to learn through technology. Blogging, as part of the aspiration of contemporary educators to infuse technology into their methods, is getting incredibly popular lately.             

In February 2013, PBS LearningMedia published the results from a survey that showed how the majority of teachers (74%) were confident that technology motivated students to learn.

The Edublogger surveys educators and students each year, with a specific purpose to find out how they are using blogging in the classroom. The 2015 survey came out with interesting results: Over 40 of the respondents were mainly using their blogs for class blogs, and less than 15% were specifically using them for student blogs. “Most class blogs were used for: assignments and class news (48.4%); share information with families (40.3%); share links and resources (34.2%).” It’s okay to use a blog only for sharing assignments and news, but this practice offers many more opportunities.

Reasons for Launching a Class Blog

A class blog can be very educational. If the teacher maintains it, they can introduce new facts and interesting information related to the curriculum. When students blog, they will improve their base of knowledge with each new post they write.

Blogging promotes critical and creative thinking. Uniqueness is one of the most important factors that determine a successful blog. Students will have to find their own voice and present their ideas in a completely new way.

Blogging inspires research.   

Through this project, students will improve their communication skills. If the blog is collaborative, they will work together throughout the outlining, research, and writing stages. If they are writing individual blogs, they will comment on each other’s publications.

You can use the blog to post useful tips and suggestions for online tools that would make learning easier for your students.

The Strategy in Practice: How to Start Your Own Classroom Blog

Choose the platform

Edublogs is arguably the best platform for class blogging. It has all features you need, and it’s safe. You’ll be in control over the privacy, users, and content, so you’ll make sure your students are avoiding inappropriate content.  The alternative platforms can be Blogger and well-known WordPress.

Ask each student to write a guest post for your blog

This will be a major challenge for them. They will need to conduct online research and write a blog post on any topic related to the blog’s niche. Uniqueness will be the main requirement.

Ask your students to write a blog post and send it to you in an email message. Take use of PlagTracker or EssaysOnTime to create polished and unique posts. Then, you’ll publish all guest posts on the blog, and everyone will be able to read and comment. Don’t give word count limitations; allow your students to decide on the length. You’ll get different submissions that will make the blog a fun place to explore.

Start posting discussion questions

This is a great way to allow your students to suggest their own ideas and topics for future blog posts. Ask them to share any opinions about the project. Ask what they would love to learn through the blog. Then, you’ll develop a posting schedule in accordance with the feedback you get. Buffer and AddThis are great tools to help you share your classroom blog posts with as many readers as possible.  

Ask your students to start individual blogs

This is the final, most advanced stage of the blogging project. Once you show your students how it’s done, they will start their own blogs. Tell them to stick to the niche (according to the class you teach), but allow them to be creative with the focus and blog topics. You can assign the minimum of required posts, but they can publish them according to their own schedule. Then, you’ll evaluate different aspects of each blog:

Uniqueness

Value

Quality

Style

Creativity, and more

Blogging can be very fun for students of all ages, it’s an activity that turns them into exceptional writers and researchers. If you need inspiration for the project, check out the top 100 classroom blogs and you’ll see how great this method can be.

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Sophia Anderson is an associate educator, language tutor and freelance writer from Australia. She believes that learning something new every day is a must. Her inspiration comes from reading books and online blog posts that cover a wide range of her interests.

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Guest Wednesday, 29 March 2017