Sunday, February 13, 2011

Why have our students blog?

Blogs have an incredible potential for learning, including the built-in opportunity to practice writing in an authentic way, the chance to reflect upon one’s thinking and that of others in an online community that can be wider than one can usually imagine!
Using a platforms like Kidblog allows a teacher to set up a forum that has many facets that support and enhance reading, writing, viewing, listening, creating, analyzing, responding...  It can be as simple as logging on and reacting to a post by the teacher, to completing open-ended responses and assignments.  As part of an in-class community, being able to interact with classmates about a variety of topics allows for respectful responses and constructive criticism. 
The blog can also be a journal of the class’ experiences together.  Sharing with parents, family, and the community at large provides a chance to highlight classroom activities while learning what to select as worthy of inclusion.  Taking into consideration the immediacy of the audience, the bloggers can be encouraged to write more descriptively; framing their writing with a ‘formal’ language appropriate to the situation.  Having that audience also provides a real reason for applying the conventions of written text-- what you communicate should be as clearly well-written as you can manage!
One of the other key reasons for blogging with our students lies with the nature of the technology involved in blogging.  Students today need to be introduced to the interactive, communicative reality of the Internet where they can create a wide variety of digital texts to share for a multitude of purposes. Blogging can, and should, move beyond the traditional print  level of response quickly as students learn to create, insert and embed audio, video and images from many sources. 
 The possibilities are endless, unique and intriguing!

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