Blogging Idea for Educators
There has always been a bit of controversy when it comes to technology in education. We have seen scandals pop up all the time, such as that high school that was found to have been using their webcams to monitor students in their homes. Then there are all the debates on whether or not distance education is beneficial, or the place of the internet in modern classrooms. Even text books may be going to an ebook format, the US following the example of countries like South Korea.
You can’t deny that the face of education is adapting, as it has to in order to keep up with upgrading technology. Teachers who are able to use these changes to their students advantage are some of the best qualified for modern education. So how can you, as an educator, use the internet in a creative and effective way? One way is to have your students blog.
This was once a slightly risky suggestion, as there was no way to properly maintain privacy and safety on the web. But this is also changing, and there are now services created specifically for blogging students. All under the supervision of teachers and other school administration. Services like KidBlog, which is made to allow networked blogs to be created for entire classes, K-12.
But once you have the blogs created, there might be some question as to what to put on them. Here are three ideas for education based blogging in different subjects.
Probably the easiest subject to do on a blog is going to be English. They can share their own writings, from poetry to short stories. That will make it easier to share, and to get comments from the class. You can also ask them to write essays or post school work through their blog, which will save a lot of paper and expense by the end of the year.
One of my favorite ideas I have seen for an English blog were asking students to write on a specific theme, sentence or collection of words. The prompt was the same, but seeing all of their different versions and stories was a lot of fun. They could compare when they published, making it even more enjoyable.
There is a ton of content on geography, cultures and historical facts based on location all over the web. It wouldn’t be hard for students to find those items and post them on their blogs to show their classmates.
For example, they could find different travel videos on YouTube and embed them into their blog posts. This would give them and the other students a first-hand look at someone moving through a region, and it is a great way to learn about it.
You also have services like Google maps, where they could find a location, copy a photo of the image and post it along with facts about the place.
At the end of each quarter, I have my students write an essay with pictures, video and any other media they can find about a place they want to visit that we have covered on our blog.
I usually do the science portion of a blog as a basic log. Instead of writing in a journal, they type out their observations, hypothesis and any explanations of different experiments. It is a good way to write it all down somewhere that can be kept long term. Which is a great tool for long term experiments, such as botany or eco lessons.
At the beginning of term, we all sit down and think of something that we find curious or would like to learn about during the school year. For example, one student last year wanted to know about clouds and why they are always moving. Another wanted to figure out how lava is made. I took all of these suggestions from their blogs and incorporated them into the curriculum.
When we would select a person’s lesson idea we would make a special post that we would share on the classroom website. I would include photos for taken during experiments for the parents to see on the main post, along with links to each student’s individual posts.
These are obviously just a couple ideas. But what makes blogging such a great education tool is that you can incorporate it into your lesson plans in any way you choose. The only limitation is your imagination, and any subject can be covered.
What are some of your own ideas? Are there any teachers out there currently using blogs for their classes? Let us know in the comments.
Bob Smuckateli is a bloggers who writes about various business degree programs and colleges around the US.