It’s amazing how engaging and empowering students blogging can be, some educators may be daunted by the prospect of students in their class offering views for the world to share. I’ve introduced blogging with my Year 9 students for the first time this academic year and would like to share my journey so far, I hope this honest insight will offer an understanding of how I have gone about implementing this as a digital literacy tool. Of course I’ve had many teething problems, however the enjoyment, learning and engagement of students completely outweighs these minor issues. Here’s my journey and what I’ve learnt so far:
- Communicate with parents/carers – I sent a letter home outlining the educational use for starting a web blog, students would not be able to work without signed consent.
- Introduce history of the web blog, set the context, show examples of good student blogs – I found this YouTube clip very useful.
- Discuss the why? What’s the point? Determine what students think blogging is or what it can be.
- Set up: decide upon a platform, there are lots out there, I decided that WordPress would suit my students in terms of their ICT capabilities. However other platforms I did consider were; Blogger, edublogs, kidiblog
- Spend time exploring the user interface, it’s amazing how articulate and particular students can be when deciding upon the template and colour scheme of their blog appearance.
So what’s next for me and my students, well, we are going to network and build a class community. We are going to comment on each others’ blogs introductions, offer a debate on a topic that’s linked to current affairs and generally explore the possibilities. The ultimate goal is for students to blog at their leisure about their work across the whole curriculum, at points throughout the year when they feel it beneficial. I have also prepared a variety of themes to tighten the focus and add structure to blog topics in the early days, these include:
- If you could go anywhere in the world once, where you have never been, where would you go and why? What would you see? What would you do?
- How many ways can you use a toothbrush?
- Which school rule you would change, how you would change it and why?
For further reading on implementing student blogs I recommend visiting edudemic.com. The journey has only just begun for me, check back for regular updates as I learn with my students!Follow @gary_s_king