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.|
- 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.
- Blogging encourages student voice.
First person writing lets the students share who they are.
- 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.)
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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?
- Teaching Students about Tagging (coolcatteacher.blogspot.com)
- A look in the Mind of Your Toughest Student (coolcatteacher.blogspot.com)
- Blogging With My Students (jackieregales.com)
- Transititioning from Student Blogger to Blogging Mentee (case.typepad.com)
- Our tips for getting blogs ready for the end of the school year (theedublogger.com)
- Web 2.0 Leadership for Students (coolcatteacher.blogspot.com)
- Why Teachers Need Digital Citizenship (coalcrackerclassroom.wordpress.com)
- Upcoming Flat Classroom Projects including the new Elementary Project (coolcatteacher.blogspot.com)
Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-Share Alike 3.0 United States License.
Never miss an episode
Get the 10-minute Teacher Show delivered to your inbox.
Such great info!
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.
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
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.
Wonderful informative blog..
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.
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!
You seem to be more practicable! Keep up the good work!
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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).
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 )
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!
These blogs are part of the digiteen project at http://digiteen.Ning.com
Sent from my iPad
Great work! Thank you very much for that. Greetings from a Dutch colleague.
Thank you for coming over!
Sent from my iPad
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.
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.
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?
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/
Great! Thank you. I will jump over!
Sent from my iPad
Comments are closed.