Connecting with your students in an educational way that solidifies what they learn at school with the latest technology is one of the best innovative tools teachers have today. Unlike in years past where teachers taught and students did homework at home, now there is an opportunity to reach out to your students in a fun and educational mode outside the classroom. Here are some more great reasons why starting a blog with your class is a great idea.
1. Social Skills and Confidence
For those students who are too shy to speak up in class, creating educational blogs provide the perfect opportunity for them to finally air their opinions in a classroom-like environment. It might even help them to finally get the courage to finally speak up in class.
2. Internet Safety
While you may preach day and night to your students about the importance of internet safety, a classroom blog gives them the opportunity to learn how to safe guard themselves and their interests from potential predators in real time.
3. Reading and Writing Skills
If students are required to write and comment on blog posts, their practical reading and writing skills will go up.
4. Builds the Connection
Unlike doing homework solo or with a friend, interacting with each other over a blog carries over the educational experience to home where they can get used to continuous learning they will use all their lives.
5. Tech Skills
Contributing to and commenting on blogs helps students to build their tech and multimedia skills in a no-pressure environment.
How to Get the Blog Rolling
The most important thing to keep in mind before launching your student blog is that this is a blog that has to be contributed to by children. Therefore it’s important to keep it simple. Choose a simple free blog platform like Kidblog, WordPress, or EduBlogs.
It is also equally important to teach your students to properly blog. Many may just be used to commenting on forums like YouTube, Facebook, and their personal Twitter accounts without having to pay much attention to proper blogging etiquette and decorum. That’s why it’s important to go over what conduct, writing, and commenting skills you expect from them on your classroom’s blog.
Go over the do’s and don’ts of internet safety and make sure that the parents are involved.
Explain what you expect with commenting and blog posts. Be as specific as possible.
Start with easy topics. It’s hard to get the juices flowing for many students if they’re given a question or requirement that is too detailed or difficult to write on. Start off simple by asking them to write blog posts telling about themselves and their interests.
Give parents the opportunity to become involved with the blog. They can leave their comments and suggestions for the students as well.
Try and find different classrooms across the world that are trying to run a classroom blog just like you and your students. They can easily be found on Twitter with #comments4kids. This will give your students the opportunity to make connections with students from other countries and to learn more about their culture. To make this even more educational, put up a map on the blog or in your classroom with pins that show where on the map these classrooms are located. It makes for a fun and informative geography lesson.
Allow your students to play with multimedia on your blog and have the other students comment on whether they like it or not. This could help build confidence with technical skills.
Remember, the blog should be fun so don’t grade. Make it required but only on a pass fail basis. If your students will see it as another stressful homework assignment, they probably won’t get as much out of it as you had intended.
Once your students get used to blogging and feel confident with it, include a weekly blogging challenge for them to shake things up a bit.
Lastly, give your students the time they need to really hone their blogging skills. They won’t be amazing blog contributors right from the start.
Some Classroom Blog Logistics
To make your blog run smoothly for everyone involved, there are a few housekeeping tips to keep in mind.
Be sure to have students pick easy, relatable user names. Something like zacbrown is much more relatable than z8456.
Make a good blog URL that is short and easy to remember.
Pick a blog name that suits your educational purposes yet is relatable to your students.
Create blog rules and guidelines. For instance: All comments have to be respectful, do not give out any personal information over the blog, don’t promote your personal blog, etc.
With all these tips and places to start, your classroom blog will be the perfect educational tool!
About Author: Kelly Ray is a freelance writer on educational resource topreviewstars.com. She is open-minded person. Her passions are studying, blogging and tourism.