Monday, December 19, 2011

To Blog or not to Blog...Is that the question?

Blogging.  Kind of a hot topic in the world of tech these days.  One that I was not really in tune with until recently.  Bu the question is still on the table...to Blog or not to Blog?  Truthfully, there is only one answer.  Absolutely!

Now we could spend the next few minutes citing research as to the benefits of blogging, where to blog, how to blog, the audience, etc...(and by the way, all good future topics), but the question that teachers need to ask themselves about blogging, is why the heck are they not doing it in their classroom now?

Ask any good teacher about best practices, and inevitably the discussion will include to student self-reflection, connecting to the world and real life experiences, and freedom of expression.  Research needed here?  Blogging incorporates all of these and so much more.

To this Tech coach, trying to get teachers on board with blogging is way more difficult than it needs to be.  If a teacher would like their students to reflect on the aspects of a certain character in a story, or make predictions about what will happen next - have your students blog!  Should the objective be about making a connection to a character as it would apply to their classroom - write a blog!

Not into Language Arts, no worries.  Imagine a science class discussing the scientific method - steps in a process - write a blog.  Form a hypothesis based on data - blog.  Math?  Sure.  Explaining properties and how they work would be an awesome blog.  Wait!  How about a peer read the blog to see if the property is correctly explained - reflected on in another blog!  Really - a blog on a blog?!

One of the best things about teaching social studies was getting kids to somehow begin to form opinions about certain topics, based on some type of fact.  What better place for them to express their opinion than in a blog.  Pick the topics, pick a side, then blog. 

Regardless of the subject, students should be blogging.  Regardless of the age, students should be blogging. (Actually witenessed second graders blogging on kidblog.org last week).  Regardless of the time constraints, students should be blogging.  So why aren't more teachers using this electronic form of journaling?  Might be the boss?

My guess is that teachers are not blogging for one of a few reasons.  First, teachers may feel the need to read and grade all students entries.  Totally not necessary.  Peer editing is a great tool.  Second is equipment.  "It takes too long to log on", "We can never get into the computer lab", "My kids don't know how to type"  Want to guess how a tech coach would repsond to these claims?  Finally, 'We just don't have time"  Really?  Somehow time has to be made.

To Blog or not to Blog...ask the principal.  Seriously, unitl it becomes important from the top, the status quo will remain.  Unitl administrators see the great value in having blogs written by each and every student, it won't gain the weight that it deserves,.  Heck, I even have a gym teacher getting ready to blog with his PE classes!  Why?  Because he sees the worth in having kids take the 5-10 minutes to refelct on why team building is so important.

Stop, take a minute and think as to how you could get your students to blog on a regular basis.  Many websites allow for free blogging and sign up is quick and easy.  kidblog.org,, EdModo, Moodle, and even a wiki could be used to blog.  Forget journaling....21st century students BLOG!  Not have enough time, you really don't have time not to get started.

So, to Blog or not to Blog...not even a question.


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