Blogs Seeing More Academic Use as ePortfolio Platform, and for Collaboration, Discussion, & Resource Sharing
In 2013, PBS.org reported that 74 percent of teachers agree that technology in the classroom helps motivate students to learn and allows teachers to reinforce learning concepts. Furthermore, 68 percent expressed an interest in having more technology in the classroom.
So where have the last two years taken us? Classrooms are becoming more and more technology focused. Online class enrollment, for instance, increased by 4.68 percent from 2013 to 2014. Previous research projected that at least 25 million students would be taking an online course by 2015.
With the rise of technology in the classroom, students are interacting with computers, tablets, and video chat software more than ever before, but there’s still one technology concept that is still working its way into the everyday classroom: Blogging. Read on to learn more about the state of blogging in the classroom in 2015.
About The Edublogger Research
If you sought definitive feedback on how many classrooms, teachers, and students currently use blogging, the question would probably yield few well researched statistics. The concept continues to emerge and not a lot of research has been done on the subject. Edublogs, a leading educational-oriented blogging platform, however, is one institution that has researched the topic.
Each year Edublogs surveys educators and students to learn more about those who are using blogging in the classroom. The 2015 survey has yet to be reported on, but 2014 research findings have something to say about the state of blogging in the classroom today.
In this research, The Edublogger team surveyed 587 respondents. Sixty-four percent were teachers, 11 percent were students, and the remaining percent were a mixture of educators such as principals and coaches. The majority of respondents (71 percent) were in the public school system. Additionally, 37 percent were at the elementary level and 24 percent were at the high school level.
Key findings showed that:
- Universities are using blogging and websites more and more.
- More schools are using blogs as an ePortfolio platform.
Additional research showed the benefits of blogging in the classroom, how blogs are being used, and what platforms educators are using.
Benefits of Blogging in the Classroom
Blogging in the classroom can have numerous benefits depending on how you use your blog. Just some include that:
- Instructors can create a blog about class happenings so parents can stay up-to-date and students can access announcements from anywhere
- Teachers can use their blogs to store lessons online or provide supplemental learning materials to students
- Instructors can use blogs to organize assignments, such as posting them online for absent students or listing due dates so all students have access to the course materials from anywhere
- Teachers can post previous students’ work as examples or publish current students’ work so they can show parents and family who live far away
- Educators can open the comment sections on blog posts to get feedback from parents and the community as well as to create discussion between students
- Student blogs teach children about writing techniques, online publishing, and proper Internet etiquette, which most students will use in future careers
How Blogs Are Being Used
“Blogging in the classroom” may bring up this idea that there’s one way to present blogging to your students, but there are a myriad of ways educators can use blogs. Just some options include:
- Personal blogs for teachers
- Student blogs
- Platforms for assignments, homework, and announcements
- Classroom blogs for collaboration and discussion
What Platforms are Used?
In The Edublogger’s survey, they found that 60 percent of respondents used Edublogs to host their blog. However, it’s worth noting that Edublogs is part of The Edublogger’s services, so the survey likely reached a greater percentage of this audience opposed to representing the full landscape of these platforms used.
Following the Edublogs platform, educators report using Blogger and WordPress most often. Other platforms available include Weebly, Tumblr, and KidBlog.
What platform should you use? That depends on what your goals are, how much money you’re willing to invest (if any), and what platform you want to teach your students about.
A good choice to start with is WordPress. For one, it’s one of the most popular blogging platforms today, and many students are likely to use it at a later point, whether for personal blogging or in their careers. Plus, there are numerous tools that allow you to expand the function of the blog and make it perfect for blogging in the classroom.
For instance, you can set up forums for online discussion with the bbPress plugin, or go ahead and create quizzes online with countless quiz tools. WordPress also allows you to add users, such as students and parents, and to password protect your blog or hide it from search engines to keep the class happenings private.
Before you dive too deep into blogging in the classroom, consider these few tips that will help you get the most out of educational blogging in 2015:
- Keep in mind that parents, students, or other faculty members may have concerns about student privacy. Consider creating a private blog or having parents sign a consent form so you can show student projects, pictures, and names online.
- Remember that you’re representing your school. Quality counts!
- Don’t jump into blogging too quickly. Really think about why you’re doing it and what platform will serve your classroom’s needs best.
- Start small. You don’t want to bite off more than you can chew, so begin your first year with a single classroom blog so you can learn the platform first before beginning student blogs.
- Be sure to set up your blog with the proper tools, such as spam monitoring systems for your comment section.
- Research before you begin. Take a look at what other teachers are doing, and don’t be afraid to tackle tutorials on blogging and the platform you’ve chosen.
Challenges of Blogging in the Classroom
As The Edublogger tells us, one of the biggest challenges of blogging in the classroom is that many educators aren’t sure what a blog is, how to set it up, and how to use it in the classroom. If you’re thinking about implementing blogging into your curriculum, check out this tutorial to get you started with setting up and navigating your classroom’s WordPress blog.
Ready to get started blogging in your classroom? How will you use blogging for education in 2015?