Saturday, October 2, 2010

Why Blog in Your Classroom?

What is a blog?

A blog (termed after web log) is a web site - that you create easily and for free - where you can share homework assignments, class summaries, images, links, test and quiz alerts, and any other information you'd like to get out to your students and parents. When you have something to say, you type in a post. It's dated, time stamped, and published for anyone that you've allowed access. Every post is saved, and archived, with the entries being listed from most recent to oldest. You and your readers can email and comment on each post. Sounds easy enough, right? Still not sold on the idea? Here’s why you should be: 

Blogs Allow Flexibility

Today’s lives are hectic. Some students don’t get home until way after dinner time between sports practices and activities. Families are multi-dimensional. It can be difficult for everyone to be on the same page when shuffling back and forth, traveling, etc. Children have absences.  But if you have a classroom blog, there leaves little room for excuses.

If you have a classroom blog, your parents and students can rely on the web for information. It gives them the comfort and flexibility of working at their own paces. No more, “I couldn’t find the assignment.” No more, “But it was too late and I couldn’t call anyone to find out the information.” No more, “I wasn’t here yesterday so I didn’t get the notice.” School doesn’t stop when the bell rings.

Blogs Encourage Dialogue

With a classroom blog, you allow your students and parents to connect with you, each other, and even other teachers. Say you post a math assignment, and Suzie has a question. She can email you privately, or write her question in the comments section of that post. Not only do you have the opportunity to respond, but so do all of her classmates. They feel involved. You feel involved. You are creating a dialogue. You are allowing collaboration.

Blogs Improve Communication

With this dialogue, you provide an outlet for students to improve on their communication. Students will have an opportunity to write to you and each other. By typing questions and responses among teachers and peers, they are gaining communication skills. Think of it as an online journal. They are learning how to illustrate their thoughts on “paper,” in order to be understood by multiple readers. It’s one more tool to communicate their ideas more effectively.

Blogs Motivate Students

Using the confidence in their communication, you encourage students to look beyond one right answer. The conversations motivate them to go find more information, find more sources, and ask more questions. It could start with one simple topic then grow into an elaborate discussion about everything behind that topic. Students want to find the answer and share the knowledge with their peers. Students want to feel confident in their abilities. They want to succeed. Motivation encourages involvement, which can lead to accountability, which can lead to higher test scores.

Blogging really is easy. And it’s free. We have step by step instructions that tell you how to create a blog account. Once your account is ready, we have step by step instructions on how to write a blog entry. Check out our sample classroom blog here. Stay connected. Be a part of the tech-savy classroom. Blog!