What are blogs?
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Blogs are social media platforms that let users share thoughts and opinions with a genuine, organic audience, allowing the blog writer to easily communicate with that audience. Blogs typically read like a diary entry and contain a sequence of entries sorted from newest to oldest. Blogs may cover a variety of subjects, including fashion, traveling, budgeting, parenting, and much more. Some blogs are authored by an individual, while others feature multiple authors. Blogging software tends to be extremely user-friendly, but it is also highly customizable in design and layout.
See also: Teaching with Wiki
Why Should Blogs Be Used for Teaching?
Social media can carry negative connotations, but it may surprise you to learn how useful blogs can be in academics. Teachers who aim to help their students learn to communicate and to take a true interest in their own education may find blogs to be extremely effective tools. Students can utilize blogs to write formally or informally, and blogs are versatile enough to feature many media types, such as photos, URLs, videos, and more. This encourages students to be imaginative when it comes to their blog’s content, allowing for originality and self-expression.
See also: Problem based learning
Students can communicate and discuss their thoughts effectively with their peers, both in their real-life peer group and on the Internet in general. This is a unique outlet for written student content, which was traditionally only read by a single person (the teacher). Traditional writing projects might feel boring or monotonous to students, but blogs allow for active peer participation and communication. This could encourage students to put more effort into their writing, and the feedback is an effective self-esteem booster. Because blogs are available publicly, they allow the student to relate to their peers in unique new capacities, finding common ground in a way that would be impossible in the traditional classroom setting. Students can use blogs to explore and convey their thoughts and ideas online in a much more laid-back atmosphere. Blogs combine the rigidity of a classroom writing project with the opportunity for expression of individuality.
See also: Just in Time Teaching
How Do Blogs Encourage Learning?
- Blogs cultivate learning because they encourage students to express their own thoughts and opinions while allowing them to see things from the perspective of their peers.
- Blogs allow students to play an active role in their own education, giving them a place to solve difficult issues, examine potential resolutions, and actively do the legwork required for critical thinking.
- Blogs allow students to express their creativity by offering an outlet for exploring different subjects, which naturally permits expression of individuality by both students and teachers.
- Because blogs are capable of supporting many media types, they are a diverse choice for including visual references in several different forms. Students may choose to include supporting photos, audio clips, videos, and more, which can be exciting, engaging, and add to the unique nature of a blog post.
- Blogs allow students to communicate with other groups, while traditional writing is just for the reading pleasure of their teachers. Their written blog entry could be seen by anyone, from peers to strangers around the world.
- Blogs allow the student to contemplate their thoughts, and they offer a unique opportunity for the student to look back and observe their progress or evolution over a period of time. Students can read through their old content, helping them to notice and appreciate changes they’ve made, ways in which they’ve grown, and things they’ve learned along the way. They are able to visually see proof of their education and progress.
- Using blogs in education offers a unique learning opportunity for students because they are acquiring a useful skill while also honing their own writing talent. That proficiency can easily translate to jobs and other projects down the line.
See also: How to Design a Course
Relevant Considerations for Use of Blogs in Teaching
Important decisions for teaching with blogs
Teachers who are considering introducing blogs as an educational tool should ponder and plan a few different aspects of blog use in the classroom. Important considerations include:
How will the blog and the classroom correlate?
The student’s blog writing should be considered another classroom tool. Clearly communicate the relationship between online and classroom work to your students by explaining that the writing in their blogs should enhance and enrich their education in the class.
See also: Concept Maps
Which blogging site/application is best for your classroom?
There can be a lot to learn when it comes to incorporating blogs into education. Your preferred blogging site and communication guidelines are just two of the considerations you’ll have to make when implementing blog use. Because blogging sites and/or applications offer so many versatile choices and customizations, it can take some time to decide what works best for you and your students.
Should the blogs be personal, or should they be available publicly?
Weigh the pros and cons of allowing comments, access, and interaction from organic visitors. Your school or university may have guidelines in place that prohibit certain aspects of blog use. Ensure that students’ personal writing and photos can be shared publicly.
See also: Flipped classroom
Clearly communicate guidelines before implementing blog use in your classroom
You should have defined, clear-cut guidelines for blog use before you start using them in your classroom. The majority of students won’t have an educational blogging background, so you will need to explain everything to them clearly.
Attention To Detail
The educational content of your class can be conveyed through writing assignments, but blogs do demand that students sharpen their writing proficiency and express their message efficiently. You will need to take the time to educate students on the significance of attention to detail where grammar and format are concerned. You should utilize the blog as a tool to offer writing evaluations and assessments in order to better sharpen their writing expertise.
Communicating Expectations and Guidelines for Comments
The commenting function of a blog offers students the opportunity to exchange ideas and viewpoints. They can collaborate with the blog in a unique way. It is vital that students understand how to craft an effective, useful comment for the blog. You may choose to communicate the rules for commenting through the use of example comments or by setting some ground rules for comments. Students should avoid disparaging comments and foul language, instead opting for well-thought-out, relevant, and reasonable commentary. You should clearly communicate potential consequences for inappropriate or hurtful posts and comments.
See also: The Addie model
Talk about plagiarism and educate students about it
The Internet has made information more readily available than ever before, which means that plagiarism is a vital topic for discussion in the classroom. You should take advantage of the opportunity to educate students on the copyright laws that apply to image use, detailing exactly how to locate and utilize copyright-free images.
Express appreciation for your students’ hard work and dedication when it comes to their blog
Designing and maintaining a blog can be a very time-consuming task, and the addition of digital written elements can make your class more demanding for both the student and the teacher. However, this is an avoidable hurdle. Blogging may be used in place of other forms of writing. For example, in lieu of assigning a reading response essay every week, the teacher can tell their students to share their feedback and opinions on the reading on their blog instead. In this case, the blog would not be any more demanding for the student and teacher than an essay assignment. Another pertinent consideration is the topic of grading. The teacher can set up a grading system for blogs, focusing either on the student’s hard work and creativity, or using a strict set of grading guidelines. The teacher is able to take into consideration more arbitrary elements, such as the creativity, quality, and content of the student’s blog. These factors can be clear indicators of how hard the student has worked on their posts.
See also: Bloom’s Taxonomy