Over the past few years I have been a big fan of pupils blogging, both internally through our VLE system and publicly. I have seen some major benefits in learning and I want to share with you some of the key reasons you should start, and maybe a few tips to help you on your way. There can be some pit falls, but when it work it WORKS! Lets go through some of the reasons you should start:
Helps to develop writing skills
Obviously writing a blog will give pupils opportunity to improve the quality of their writing. If the topic of the blog is something they are interested in mean they will get passionate about what they write. With peers in their classroom looking at their blogs it will give them responsibility over what they write. Adding a rating system will also improve this. Do people like what they are writing? What could they do to improve? Speaking to pupils about putting their work publicly online can also be an inspiration for improved writing. Let them know the whole world could see it, is it good enough for that?
Showcase for pupils work
Giving pupils a blog gives them an open forum to share their world worldwide (potentially!). Often when pupils complete work in the classroom that’s where it stays, not even parents know what has been going on until parents evening! With a blog pupils can post their work and their audience knows no bounds. It could be a simple as the class next door, to schools on the other side of the world. If you make comments available it also allows for these schools to leave feedback on your children’s work, a different look at peer assessment. when a child receives a positive comment on their blog it goes far beyond anything I could say as their teacher!
Encourages independent thinking
Blogging in the classroom can really inspire pupils to become independent in their learning and thinking. When they are able to publish what they have an interest in they take ownership of the quality of their work. They take the lead when finding the required information, think about how they want to present their work, and what they want to include in their posts.
Using a blog in your class allows for teaching and learning to take place simultaneously with your pupils. By using research skills, multimedia posts, instant feedback and comments your pupils are teaching others around them as well as learning without realising it! If you train your pupils to leave good questions and effective feedback on posts, you are allowing pupils to take on the role of student and teacher.
Engages with your wider community
With OFSTED taking a greater look at how your school gets involved with the local community a blog is a great start. You could start blogging to other classes in your school, posts to parents, communicating and sharing work with other schools around you. Get comments back from parents and people who live in the area. Linking your blog on your school website is a great way to ensure you get traffic.
Now here are a few quick tips to make your blog successful:
- Use a wide range of media in your posts, not just text
- Find a platform that is easy and engaging for your pupils, do they want to use it?
- Connect your blog to your school website
- Start up links with other classes and schools
- Stick with it, it might take some time to take off
- End your post with a question to encourage comments and feedback
- Teach them how to use the platform before you go public.
- Tell parents about the project, get them involved early. Its more than likely they will be the ones commenting to begin with!
- Gets pupils to look at other blogs for inspiration
- Teach pupils about the importance of drafting, then posting.
I hope that’s enough to get you started, and has given you some ideas to try out with your class. If you think I’ve missed something, or have a specific question please get in touch, I love a comment as much as the kids do!