What is the big deal about blogs? You've probably heard about blogging and possibly even read hundreds of blogs over the past few years without realizing it. Blogs are becoming more and more popular over time, especially in classrooms.
The question is how can a blog have a positive impact in my classroom? Firstly, blogs are not something that will revolutionize classrooms. They are, however, a new avenue for communication and feedback - one which students are more accustomed to seeing and using on a regular basis. Like a classroom discussion, blogs allow students to react to and comment on a topic through the internet. The end of a 55 minute period does not have to signal the end of a great discussion. Blogs allow the continuation of conversation where students can not only comment on the topic, but comment on the comments left by other students. Students who wouldn't normally voice their opinions during class time now have another avenue for expressing themselves.
Blogs can also be a fantastic reflection and feedback tool for teachers. If a teacher were to blog about a particular lesson or activity, including comments about how they felt it went, students would then be able to let the teacher know how the lesson went from their point of view. Other teachers could also weigh in on certain subjects, whether they were present during the lesson or not.
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Update: Oct. 29/09
Having just witnessed bloggin in a classroom, I am now sold more than ever on the positive benefits blogging can have on student engagement. In a 35+ minute class where students were given the choice of three different articles to comment on, I witnessed something fantastic. Students reading, writing and discussing a real life issue! Without being prompted or told to do so. Only one single student in that entire class was asked to get back on task - ONCE! The teacher had also enabled the option to approve each and every comment, to try and minimize childish or inappropriate comments. Only one comment was declined during that entire class, interestingly enough from the one student who was off task. This is engagement.