[Teacher's Insight] Best Ways to Use Blogging in the Classroom
As we know, the Internet has become a crucial tool in today’s classroom, educators try to make its usage as effective as possible. Of all the effective ways of using the Internet, blogging stands at the top because of its easy to use as well as
 attractive content representation features.  A blog is an informational site published on the World Wide Web.

It provides users with a platform to share their ideas, views and works in the form of blog posts that include writings, images, links to other sources, etc. Blogs can be probably the work of individuals or multi authors. Educators choose blogging as it provides them with effective tools to communicate with students and parents, guide them to additional resources and improve their digital citizenship as well as social skills. Let me share with you about how effectively some educators are using blogs in their classroom.

Interactive session with Karen Lirenman, A grade one teacher in Surrey, BC, Canada:

Karen Lirenman is a grade one educator and a life long learner dedicated to helping other educators in the effective use of educational technology. She loves to provide her students with choices in how they learn, show, and share their knowledge.

After watching her interview (by EduSlam) on the usage of Twitter in Elemenatary Classroom, I’ve been very much inspired as she has covered much information in a very detailed manner and in a short span. I’ve interacted with her and was amazed to know about the classroom practices and technological approaches she follows with her grade one students. I’d like to share with you the interaction I’ve had with her about the use of blogs in the classroom.

Note: This is the second post of a four-part series about using technology in the classroom. You can read the first post on the usage of Twitter here.

Technological practices in her classroom:

“The three main tools we use for learning in my grade one class are Twitter, blogging, and video conferencing. I have a class blog and each of my students have their own individual blogs. We Skype as a class and we also Skype 1:1.”, said Karen Lirenman.

When was the first time your school started using these platforms ? What motivated you to adopt new technologies ?

“I started finding ways to integrate technology into my classroom in Sept 2011 after joining Twitter and learning amazing things from fantastic educators. It snowballed from there. We started blogging in Sept 2011 as a class, and students that October. I can't imagine not having my students’ blogs. Then we turned the blogs into digital portfolios with the introduction of the Kidblog app. Last year when the app came out their blogs exploded. We also do a lot of collaborative projects with other classes around the world. As a connected educator Iwanted my students connected too. So I'd say I'm starting my third school year as a connected educator with a connected class.” 

The above statement justifies how blogging has turned to be a crucial tool to improve group activities of students.

Collaborative projects:

Divide students into groups, assign them a work project and ask them to present their work as a blog post. They’ll collaborate with each other, contribute their work and give feedbacks to other groups as well (through comments). With Blogging, educators improve group activities of students, critical thinking and peer assessment skills.

Can you share your ways of using blogs and Twitter in your classroom? Have you received support from the parents of your students ?

“Many of the parents of the students I am teaching this year are fascinated by how children are learning now. As a class we have tweeted our learning and have received feedback. Our first tweet as a class was to the author of the book we read in the first week of school. Students were amazed that he tweeted us back. Now I am modelling commenting on other blogs and responding to comments. I do a lot of modelling before they do it independently. Slow and steady in the beginning is super important.” Said Karen Lirenman.

Meet the author, engage students and make learning interactive:

As we know commenting makes blogging interactive, this is the reason Karen Lirenman helps her students start writing quality comments through which they can ask their doubts and express their views on a blog post to the author. Through social networks such as Twitter, meet the author and ask students to discuss and post questions to him. This helps students learn interactively by clarifying their doubts.

Learning links for students:

In addition to blog posts, educators can provide students with many resources by giving the links to sites. Through this approach, students are exposed to numerous resources and learn effectively.

You may visit Karen Lirenman’s classroom blog for a better understanding of these approaches.

Blog, Twitter and Skype!! Which is more efficient in your perspective ?

“They all have a place in my classroom and fill a different need. Twitter can happen 24/7 which makes it easy. A class in a totally different time zone can respond to a tweet when it works for them. Skype requires planning and time zones that work but it's worth it for the face to face interactions. Blogging is a bit of both - can be accessed at any time, sharing of work/photos. Interactive through the comments.”, said Karen Lirenman.

From this, we can conclude that blogging is a very effective strategy that includes social, work sharing and resource providing features. We hope this information is useful for you to know about a few effective ways to use blogs in the classroom. We’d like to have your views as well. Please share with us your ways of using blogs in the classroom. The comment box awaits you.  

About the Author
Author: Santosh Bhaskar KWebsite: http://www.twitter.com/SantoshBhaskarK
Devotee of Dr. Abdul Kalam. Following his path of Creating Creative Education in India. Contributing my works in "India Vision 2020". Former EdTech Blogger/Researcher at ETR India

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