12 Reasons to Blog with Your Students

I was sent a dozen roses this week by a wonderful, amazing student who found his talent for writing in this year's Digiteen project.

I'm more convinced than ever that blogging and doing it with other students from around the world is essential to helping students connect with themselves and a larger world.

You ask me to give you the reasons. In honor of the dozen roses on my desk, here's just twelve.

Sent by a student unleashed by blogging.

  1. Blogging is a different form of writing than the essay.

    There are so many nuances to blogging. You can write in first person, second person or third person. In fact, when I go through an article and take out the “I's” and put in third person my engagement levels go DOWN with the post.

  2. Blogging encourages student voice.

    First person writing lets the students share who they are.

  3. Blogging creates a stronger connection with the teacher.

    I'm a better teacher when I know my students better. When they blog, I learn a lot about them and am able to design lessons that interest them. (This is an important part of differentiated instruction.)

  4. Blogging gets students writing.

    The student who sent me flowers was literally unleashed. He had three required assignments, he wrote ten and counting. He ranted, he pontificated, he shared his thoughts — but he WROTE. And as he wrote, something magical happened. This student who didn't really like essays loved blogging and sharing his hobbies and others responded.

  5. Blogging engages students in conversation.

    Talking with students outside your school lets you see who you are. I was picked on in school and until I got out and went to conferences, I didn't see that the other kids were WRONG about who I was. I wasn't unpalatably ugly and awful – I was someone else. Linking with other students takes students on a “road trip” without leaving your classroom.

  6. Blogging Helps Eradicate IM Speak from their Professional Writing.

    Ask online professors and they will tell you that IM speak and lack of punctuation are some of the banes of their existence online. Most students don't understand the lines between personal, informal writing and professional writing. They are professional students.

    I heavily penalize for “i” – taking 10 points off for the first occurrence and then just 1 point off for all of those afterwards. I do whatever it takes to teach them to write and THEN EDIT before publishing. Write in stream of consciousness but then EDIT.

  7. Blogging Teaches Digital Citizenship

    You can talk all day about digital citizenship. Blogging is DOING it. In-situ real-life learning happens when you blog.

  8. Blogging Can Teach the Nature of the Internet

    In our group blogs, we delve into site statistics, keywords, and the deep things of managing a blog. The students come away with a powerful technical knowledge, particularly when their work gets picked up by a major news outlet like the Digiteen Dream Team‘s protest of the Google Lively Shut Down.

  9. Blogging is a Real Life Skill

    Few of our students will be hired for their essay writing ability, but many companies are hiring in-house content creators. If they can blog and create video for a Youtube channel or podcast, or understand photography composition – the more the better.

  10. Blogging Can Make Life Easier for the Teacher

    The teacher is no longer the sole purveyor of feedback. Peer review is powerful, some would argue more powerful than teacher feedback. While AT FIRST when you get students started, it is definitely tough on the teacher, but once you've established community guidelines and reinforced any problems with action, students take over and sometimes the work can become a bit viral.

  11. Blogging Can Engage Interpersonal and Intrapersonal Learning Styles

    Many students learn socially. Blogging can be very social. It can also be something that the intrapersonal learner enjoys.

  12. Blogging Can Help Students Find Themselves.

    When students blog with other students not from their school (like on Digiteen) they can often find themselves. When only among their peers in the face to face environment, they can be kept in a box or label of the choosing of that group. Out of the box, they are unleashed to be themselves. This is one reason Walled Garden Blogging isn't enough.

Blogging nor any technology will ever be the savior of education. Excellent teachers in safe school environments with supportive parents make the ideal environment. I'm now convinced more than ever that blogging is essential for all students to do. And I have 12 aromatic reasons sitting on my desk right now to prove it.

What are your reasons that students should be blogging?

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Vicki Davis

Vicki Davis is a full-time classroom teacher and IT Director in Georgia, USA. She is Mom of three, wife of one, and loves talking about the wise, transformational use of technology for teaching and doing good in the world. She hosts the 10 Minute Teacher Podcast which interviews teachers around the world about remarkable classroom practices to inspire and help teachers. Vicki focuses on what unites us -- a quest for truly remarkable life-changing teaching and learning. The goal of her work is to provide actionable, encouraging, relevant ideas for teachers that are grounded in the truth and shared with love. Vicki has been teaching since 2002 and blogging since 2005. Vicki has spoken around the world to inspire and help teachers reach their students. She is passionate about helping every child find purpose, passion, and meaning in life with a lifelong commitment to the joy and responsibility of learning. If you talk to Vicki for very long, she will encourage you to "Relate to Educate" or "innovate like a turtle" or to be "a remarkable teacher." She loves to talk to teachers who love their students and are trying to do their best. Twitter is her favorite place to share and she loves to make homemade sourdough bread and cinnamon rolls and enjoys running half marathons with her sisters. You can usually find her laughing with her students or digging into a book.

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Info May 26, 2011 - 8:09 pm

Such great info!  

Melanie May 26, 2011 - 11:37 pm

I’m convinced! Now how do I convince administrators? All blogs are blocked by a computer organization that handles the web acess for not just our district, but a large number of rural Ohio districts.

coolcatteacher May 27, 2011 - 1:00 am

Even classblogmeister – the free tool that meets all COPPA rules. Or Moodle
which you can install internally? Or elgg an open source platform to use
internally. Or Edmodo.

If they block everything then bring it in onto your server. There is
something you can do. You are right, there are obstacles, but if you look,
certainly there are some palatable options. There are options out there.

Also, read the book The Influencer: The Power to Change Anything by Kerry
Patterson, et al – that book has done wonders for helping me understand how
to influence change.
Vicki A. Davis
Blog: http://coolcatteacher.blogspot.com
Twitter: @coolcatteacher

Allanah King May 27, 2011 - 2:11 am

I would add that it gives children a chance to see out side their world- to communicate with parents/whanau and children in other classes/schools remote in distance and time to where they are.

We are a tiny school in a rural school in the South Island of New Zealand but we communicate with others distant in time and place through our blog.

There’s nothing else comparable to doing that.

Customized Essay May 27, 2011 - 8:13 am

Wonderful informative blog..

Mama Bear May 27, 2011 - 9:12 am

Love reasons number 4 and number 6!  All of my clan has their own personal domain name websites where they had to install Wordpress and write – it’s part of the summer Camp Ling curriculum.  

Wordpress.com also lets anyone start their own blogs for free; it’s a good resource for kids.

Melanie Boyd May 27, 2011 - 10:04 am

I will check out those tools. I just wrote them down so that I can check at school to see if they are also blocked – because your blog is blocked as well. Interestingly, though, I can get to your blog through Flipboard, but not to the comments. For some reason that gets through the blocking. I will also find the book. Thank you!

Corporate Logo Design May 27, 2011 - 7:59 am


 You seem to be more practicable! Keep up the good work!

coolcatteacher May 27, 2011 - 5:33 pm

Love that they all have their own domain name.I guess that the domain name is a school supply What is Camp Ling? Would love to know more.

coolcatteacher May 27, 2011 - 5:34 pm

Flipboard is now blocked in China because it does allow one to get past firewalls! A good 5% of my blog traffic is now through Flipboard on many days and I think this has something to do with it! It would be nice if schools had friendlier filters but they don’t.

coolcatteacher May 27, 2011 - 5:35 pm

I am the tech staff. ;-) We could do this on our hosted website but for us it isn’t doable. I think perhaps you were commenting on an earlier commenter.

Brenda Wamsley May 27, 2011 - 4:14 pm

 Check with your tech staff. Our hosted website has blogging capabilities. I’ve been trying to get a teacher to try it for a year now with no takers. Your school may also have that functionality already.

Tricia's Paws May 28, 2011 - 12:05 am

I love your openness and confidence as a teacher.  Not many think like you do or even appreciate the positive outcome of what you’re doing.  I hope you keep up your simple but life-changing ideas for the future of our world – children.

Wilfred Rubens May 28, 2011 - 8:37 am

Thanks for sharing this, Vicki (again). My favorite reason for blogging in education: bloging helps students re-structuring their thoughts. This stimulates deep learning (research shows).

Wilfred Rubens May 28, 2011 - 8:42 am

Who is in charge in education? A computer organization? Or educators, students and parents? Start the dialogue about accessability. “What’s the biggest internet danger? That you’ll concentrate on the danger and forget the benefits!” (Scott Bramley (AUSD Director of Technology and Information Services), 2009 )

Marilyse May 28, 2011 - 11:19 pm

Very nice post! So inspiring! I was wondering, where can we find one of these blogs you share with your students. I would like to see the kind of topics it covers. Do you simply let the students post questions when they feel so, or do you ask them to participate to a discussion on a specific subject?
I’m a young math teacher and I’m wondering how I could adapt this idea to my domain.
Thank you Vicki!

coolcatteacher May 29, 2011 - 12:56 am

These blogs are part of the digiteen project at http://digiteen.Ning.com

Vicki Davis
Sent from my iPad

Martijn Wijngaards May 29, 2011 - 5:59 pm

Great work! Thank you very much for that. Greetings from a Dutch colleague.

coolcatteacher May 29, 2011 - 6:27 pm

Thank you for coming over!

Vicki Davis
Sent from my iPad

Mr Alvarado May 30, 2011 - 12:50 am

You have very clearly laid out your points to what many teachers would have easily disagreement with. I love this idea, and know that many teachers would like it as well, but they just don’t know how. I’m sharing this post with my co-workers. Thanks.

Melanie Boyd May 31, 2011 - 9:57 am

I did check and classblogmeister is completely blocked. Edmodo is blocked after the intro page. I will check on elgg (still two long weeks of school left for us!). Moodle is not blocked. I checked it a little about a year ago and didn’t realize I could have students blog with it. I will look into that a little more over the summer. Thank you for your help.

coolcatteacher May 31, 2011 - 11:53 am

I would request at your district level to have classblogmeister unblocked. It is free. It meets all COPPA and CIPA requirements and is put together by an educator (David Warlick) who, I believe, has kids’ interests at heart. Do you have a way to ask for things to be unblocked?

Joel Heinrichs June 1, 2011 - 9:34 pm

I’m a big advocate for student blogging. I love all your reasons why students should blog, especially #5, 6, & 7. I discuss them in my blog post here:  http://blog.lightspeedsystems.com/joel/2011/06/01/why-students-should-blog/

coolcatteacher June 2, 2011 - 12:11 am

Great! Thank you. I will jump over!

Vicki Davis
Sent from my iPad

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