Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Why Use Blogs in the Classroom

In browsing through the Web 2.0 Ning, I found some compelling reasons posted for using blogs in the classroom.

Ways to Use Blogs in The Classroom
The following ideas are based on suggestions made by Anne Davis
"1) Students can use blogs to create a reflective, community-generated journal to reflect on their learning experiences.
2) Provide some how-to type instructions on using specific skills/strategies in the class
3) Explore important issues. "

"Teachers can use a blog to...

1) Post class-related information such as calendars, events, homework assignments, rubrics, and other pertinent class information.
2) Post assignments based on literature readings/content-specific concepts and have students respond.
3) Communicate with administrators, other teachers, parents, community members, and/or anyone else interested in what students are doing.
4) Post prompts for writing.
5) Provide examples of classwork, vocabulary activities, or explanations of concepts.
6) Provide online readings for your students to read, research, and react to.
7) Gather and organize Internet-based resources/rubrics for a specific course, providing links to appropriate sites and annotating the links as to what is relevant about them.
8) Post photos/links to downloadable files and comment on class activities.
9) Invite student comments or postings on issues in order to give them an opportunity to develop a writing voice.
10 Publish examples of good student work completed in class.
11) Showcase student questions, observations, work, ideas, art, poetry, and creative stories.
12) Create a dynamic teaching site, posting not only class-related information, but also activities, discussion topics, links to additional information about topics students are studying in class, and suggested/selected readings to inspire learning.
13) Create a reading circle based on content-specific reading passages.
14) Create an online book club (note: books can be fiction, nonfiction, or merely related to a concept being explored).
15) Make use of the commenting feature to have students publish messages on topics (thereby giving them an opportunity to practice giving constructive feedback).
16) Post tasks to carry out project-based learning tasks with students.
build a class newsletter, using student-written articles and photos they take.
17) Link your class with another class somewhere else in the world."

Anne continues, "You can encourage your students to use a blog to share...

1) their reactions to thought-provoking questions.
2) their reactions to photos you post.
3) journal entries.
4) results of surveys they carry out as part of a class unit.
5) their ideas and opinions about topics discussed in class."

And, Anne goes on, "You can have your students create their own weblogs to...
1) complete class writing assignments.
2) create an ongoing portfolio of samples of their writing.
3) express their opinions on topics you are studying in class.
4) write comments, opinions, or questions on daily news items or issues of interest.
5) discuss activities they did in class and tell what they think about them (You, the teacher, can learn a lot this way!).
6) write about class topics, using newly-learned vocabulary words and idioms.
7) showcase their best writing pieces."

Anne concludes, "You can also ask your class to create a shared weblog to...
1) complete project work in small groups, assigning each group a different task.
2) showcase products of project-based learning.
3) complete a WebQuest."

With all these ideas that Anne Davis has listed, perhaps you have found some that appeal to you. Which would you consider?

Cartoon image found on Dave Walkers Cartoon WebBlog. Other images are readily available online and found at numerous URLs.


Scott Kossbiel said...

I use blogs in my classroom. My teacher website has a blog that I update every week with the weekly happenings. Not only does it allow me to organize my thoughts for the week, but it gives all my kids parents a place to log on and see what is going on in class. All too often students are asked by their parents, "So what is going on in school this week?" and the kids respond "nothing" they can show them on the computer what is going on!

Judy said...

Hi Scott, does the website platform that your school uses have a blog incorporated? It sounds as though that is the case from what you write. If so, let us know if the blog format is easy to use. If the blog is in another platform, let us know what platform it is. Are we able to get to your website from your school's site, or is a password needed? If we can get to it without a passord, sent along the URL. Thanks.

Gina said...

I have yet to see a blog in a secondary math classroom although I think that they are a great idea and I will do a blog for such a class in my final project for this course. I believe that blogging can encourage not just the expression of opinion but also foster critical thinking as concepts are explored. Blogging can also create a voice for those who are otherwise silent in class. So much about math is the thinking and the connection. On the other hand, I heard that they are difficult to monitor as we also want to teach our students blog etiquette. But it can be a great place to share work and ideas and other links to similar topics. I have seen concepts for language arts classes like literacy circles. While I cannot imagine teens sitting around discussing a math concept face-to-face, I sure could see them sitting around discussing it online.

Kylie said...

I like the idea of using a blog to interact with parents and students. Alot of elementary teachers have websites that parents can visit and see whats happening in the room, but websites are one sided. I feel like if more teachers used a blog the information would become interactive. I invision parents posting that they can help out at the upcoming classroom celebration, or having a link to download important classroom work. I like the idea of a classroom blog and see how helpful it could be.

Victoria Rich said...

To be honest, I wasn’t a huge fan of blogs. I saw them as the stereotypical person glued to a laptop writing about every second of their life. Why not live it instead? It's been interesting looking through blogs because it links to information that I can use but would I really want to blog about it if it wasn't a class requirement? As to using blogs in the classroom, I was unsure why I would blog with my students if they were sitting in front of me? Since taking Judy’s class and reading what various people say about blogging I’m actually reconsidering. There might be a way to use the concept in a meaningful manner without it being the stereotype in my head. I like the idea of it as a discussion forum. I can’t say I’m sold on the idea 100% but I see the potential.

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