It seems like every time we turn around lately, there is another piece of useful educational technology pushing its way into the classroom. A great, but often overlooked online platform is that of the classroom blog. Class blogs have been around for years. They benefit teachers, students, and parents alike.
What are some of the good things about having a classroom blog?
It improves communication, reflection, engagement, and breaks down barriers between the school and home. It gives students a platform to discuss topics and share ideas. There is a plethora of free sites available to use. There is no longer any excuse to procrastinate on starting your own class blog.
Below is some practical advice:
- Use your blog on a regular basis. If you do updates once or twice a week on the same day, your students and followers will know when fresh subjects are live and will tend to contribute more.
- Outline a list of blog topics that interest you or are related to your current curriculum. That way, if you get writer’s block and can’t think of an idea, you have a group of subjects that are ready to go.
- Be sure you control who adds what to your blog. Don’t let yourself get in hot water over what a student or member of the public writes on your page. Privacy settings can be used to require pre-approval of any posts. The notifications can get overwhelming at times, but it’s better to be cautious.
How can teachers benefit from a blog?
A blog encourages you to share what’s happening in your classroom. We so often operate in a vacuum, not getting reinforcement or suggestions from others, due to the fact that everyone is too busy to see each others’ classrooms. A blog is also an opportunity to reflect on lessons that went well, as well as those that needed more preparation. Inviting your students to comment on what they learned, or answer questions about the subject matter covered, provides evidence of higher-level thinking and technological involvement. You can scan other teaching blogs for inspiration and ideas. You could break it down by subject or grade level, and include pictures and documents (common sense: no students’ faces in this region without permission!).
How do students benefit?
Students enjoy classroom blogs because it gives them an opportunity to discuss topics outside of the classroom. Many students will want to share the photos and ideas with family members, which in turn will encourage parents and guardians to become more involved as well. When the classroom becomes open, the sense of collaboration and cooperation expands beyond the school building to students’ homes. Administration also appreciate classroom blogs because it shows a level of extension outside the school.
Start small. Use your blog to showcase your favorite lessons, websites, resources or teaching aids. Remember to always use prudence when posting, and never write anything that you wouldn’t want your principal to read. In this age of increased Internet presence, make yours a positive one that inspires not only your students, but also other teachers across the world. You never know who will be reading.
Use these tips to ensure a responsible and productive classroom blog. Happy posting!
By: Betina Fuentes