This guest post by Alexis Montgomery discusses the many skills that students can develop by blogging.
Kids today inhabit a technological world that few of us could have imagined even a couple of decades ago. They practically live on the internet, spending untold hours on social networking, games, videos, and just plain surfing. But the internet can also be put to good use as a teaching tool. Not only are there plenty of educational sites that cater to children with games that promote math, reading, and any number of other subjects, but students can also hone their writing skills by starting a blog.
At any age, a child is in the process of figuring out who they are, what they like, and how they are unique. They may have long-term interests or pick up every passing fad. But one thing is certain, the more they work through their opinions or feelings on a particular subject, the more self-assured they become. And blogging is a great way for them to solidify their ideas on a topic in a way that focuses on improving their cognitive functions, both in terms of reasoning and coherent communication. In addition, they can unleash their creativity not only through their writing, but also in the visual design of their site, with backgrounds, pictures, and even personal videos.
As a teacher, you can make assignments that center on blogging by creating a classroom blog (this way, you’ll be sure to include students who don’t have the requisite computer skills or may not receive the help they need at home). You can have them post reactions to reading assignments, comment on their favorite subjects or best and worst moments from class each week, or even evaluate each other. You could also have them do online journaling (private or public) for class. Even encouraging them to start their own blog outside of class could do wonders for their academic advancement.
Blogging, like other types of writing, is an excellent way for students to express themselves in a creative way, whether they do it for their own enjoyment or as a method of social interaction (through feedback). But it can also engage them in analytical thinking, help them learn to organize their thoughts and write with purpose, and expose them to an entire world of information and ideas through the use of technology. Approaching students at a level they understand and enjoy can make a world of difference in terms of what they put into it, and what they get in return.
To set up a blog in your classroom, check out sites like Class Chatter, which offers options like individual student blogs, group blogs, and assignment blogs, Ning, which facilitates the creation of your own social network, and Edublogs, which allows teachers to run student blogs and offers cool extras like customizable themes and uploading for images and videos. The best part is, all of these services are free.
Alexis Montgomery is a content writer for Online Universities, where you can browse through various online degree programs to find a college that suits your needs.
Related Posts (if the above topic is of interest, you might want to check these out):
Blogging in (and out of) the classroom
Education Related Blogs & Blogging Resources
Another great example of blogging and other tech uses in the Classroom
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