Thursday, February 14, 2008

Blogging in the Classroom

I have blogging for almost two years now and I can honestly say that I love it. I have a personal blog, the Life of Loonyhiker, that I use to tell about personal subjects and do prompts from my Digital Scrapbooking friends. I also have a professional blog, called Successful Teaching, to share ideas and strategies with other teachers. I also read lots of other blogs written by all different kinds of people because I feel like I am connected with these people and their ideas through their blogs. I also read some blogs because they make me think and challenge me to understand why I think the way that I do. Once I started understanding this, I wondered why more and more teachers don’t use blogging in their classrooms so I started looking into teachers who did use it in the classroom and how they did this.

I want to share some general information from others about why blogging should be used in the classroom. Technology and Blogging as a Learning Method talks about a new way to get students writing. Top 10 Reasons to Use A Blog in the Classroom is a video that shows studenta who tells why they like blogging in the classroom. Blogging in the Classroom is a video where teachers tell different ways that blogging can be used in the classroom. Not only can blogging improve reading and writing on any grade level but it also enables students to connect with other people and cultures in order to exchange information and ideas. Some teachers are afraid of this open exchange but if we teach the students the appropriate way of communicating (what to say, what not to say, how to say it) then aren’t we teaching them a vital life skill?

Atomic Learning actually has a blogging workshop for people who would like lessons on how to set up a blog. I sure wish I had seen this a couple of years ago because I had to learn by trial and error but I didn’t give up because I really saw the value of blogging. There are so many websites out there that anyone can find to help with developing a blog. I use Blogger myself because it seemed easy to use.

There are many educator blogs out there and a couple that I like to read are: So You Want To Teach, Blogging on the Bay, and Christine Southard’s Blogspot. I actually read a lot more but those are just two examples. Examples of classroom blogs are Students 2.0, and the Kinderkids Classroom.

Blogging can also include collaborations with other classes in your school, district, state, country or even in other countries. 1001 Flat World Tales according to Blogging on the Bay "is a creative writing workshop made up of schools around the world, connected by one wiki. This blog will be the home to the award-winning stories from each group of schools that participate in the workshop, different topics, different grade-levels, different cultures, brought together by the power of stories." I can’t wait to keep up with this one. Here is a teacher doing a Guerilla Season Book Blog Project.

There are so many ways to use blogging in the classroom and this is only a taste of what a teacher can do. If you have other suggestions or links you want to share, please add it in the comment section. I really believe if blogging was used, you would have a successful teaching experience!


Jeff Lewis said...

Excellent post. Check out what my class is doing with blogging. We use it mainly as a publishing and reflection tool for our writing. We also embedded our Twitter updates.

loonyhiker said...

Thanks Jeff! I added the link to your class page to the wiki I'm using at a teacher's meeting:

Taylor said...

Check out Damian's use of twitter and wikis in the classroom as well.

We started blogging, but getting access to computers on anything like a regular basis has proven difficult. I really believe in it, though.

Check out one of my students' blog: She really took off with it on her own. Kaelie's blog

God I hope I did that a href thing right. I've looked it up about a million times. It just won't stick in my brain.

Taylor said...

Oh, yeah. I didn't tell you who damian is:Apace of Change

loonyhiker said...

Taylor: I read Damian's blog too. I'm glad to hear that you are using bloggin in the classroom. Your student's blog is awesome and I can tell that you are a great influence in her life. Glad to know there are great teachers like you out there.

Mr. McGuire said...

Great blog! Thanks for all of the time you have spent finding resources. I will enjoy checking them out.

Jim McGuire

Anonymous said...

All great but let's be sure to check ourselves against the realities of ten years+ of youth and counter culture using these tools. I read educ blogs and a lot of them sound like Columbus arriving on a "new" land - that they've just discovered.

No offense, but many of our students think we're deeply uncool and VERY late to the party -- and they're right. If we're going to connect with youth in an authentic way we should start listening more to their channels - rather than the idealistic echo chambers of our own networks.

This is the problem with teachers - we spend far, far, far too much time listening to each others ideas and not nearly enough being tuned in to youth. And no, we're not going to get the real story in "student" blogs but a performance of what they think we want/need to hear.

Remember, they know they're being evaluated and assessed - always. Power mediates their relationship with us. They are not going to say things that piss us off in mediated spaces. Just as we cannot be our true selves. They know this. Unfortunately, we don't.

Power mediates all of this. Let's keep it real and make sure we're listening to them.

Go spend an hour on YLive - don't tell them you're a teacher. Just lurk. Get the real broadcast of who and what our youth are. Then think about the kind of content they're producing for you for school and consider the ways you might tap into more authentic expression.

My suggestion: take them - as a group - to some of these spaces and, as a group, have a discussion about the content. That way, they can mediate their own feelings through others expression - which is safer and less risky than telling you what they really think.

loonyhiker said...

anonymous: great points and suggestions. I just heard a live broadcast between a teacher and student with a chat room, where the student reviews e3. What a great experience it was! This student was only in 8th grade and was far more advanced than many of us teachers. We all can learn something from someone so if we can get students blogging, maybe we can get an idea where they are coming from.

Susan said...

Thank you for taking the time to comment our our students' blog posts. They will be absolutely thrilled on Monday to read your comments.

I wish I'd found this post before we started blogging. I would have liked to use some of these with them as we learned about blogs.

Bill said...

Thanks for another great post. We have so much to learn.


Bill said...

Thanks for the quotes from my blog. I think blogging has so much to offer our student in our classrooms. A blog can be a portfolio to show what students are learning and what they know.


heather said...

I ran a blog last year for my Year 3 class. It was a great way to inform the parents about what we were doing in class, and also a place to publish student work and post photos from their day etc. The parents, in particular, loved it!

Christine Southard said...

Hi Pat,
I'm a special education co-teacher in a fifth grade classroom. We've been blogging since the spring of 2007 and our students love to blog and comment. Recently, my co-teacher and I have been discussing the progress our students have made in reading, writing and editing since we've started blogging. While we are by no means at 100% grade level for all students in our inclusion class, the kids have impressed us with their progress on our informal reading and writing inventories. With regards to editing, all students are encouraged to independently use our Franklin Auditory Spell Checkers and/or the edit their own work in Microsoft Word by copying and pasting their work between windows. Since the students have vested interest in their blog and writing on the web, they are actively involved in using these modifications. We are very proud of the student progress in our classroom.
Here is a link to our class blog:

P.S. Thanks for including me in your list of educator blogs. You're the best. :)