CA Blogging: Alive and Kicking

I really feel like I have been able to consolidate my thoughts around blogging over the course of the last day or two at Beyond Laptops at Yokohama International School.  I would like to shout out to those who I have sat with and collaborated with, but also the great workshop leaders from YIS.

My initial thoughts centered around the concern that student blogs don’t have an authentic audience, blogs can feel like an online worksheet and feel like “work” rather than “learning” for students.

So how do we:

  • help kids see the value of blogging;
  • find that authentic audience for students;
  • make sure that the blog is not just an online worksheet?

Probably my strongest current mantra around learning and student tasks is “give students choice”.  This could be in terms of the platform (are blogs the only way?) but can definitely be in terms of prompt. Can students choose their unit reflection prompt from a menu, such as:

  • In what ways was this unit like Star Wars?
  • What I really liked about this unit was …
  • This unit really bugged me because …
  • I was most surprised by …
  • I realised there is a strong connection between …
  • Choose a colour, symbol and an image that represents this unit…
  • Other visible thinking routines

Students in the class can then read a random selection of other students’ blogs, and can be taught how to comment.  The desired outcome would be that the readers would gain something different from the blog writer’s insights.  A key component of blogging is to build up the community, and the sense of students sharing their thinking.

My conclusion is that blogging is definitely worthwhile.  We are giving students exposure to a platform that they may or may not use in the future, but they have it in their tool belt.  Blog writing is a genre, and as language teachers we all have the responsibility to teach a range of writing genres.

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About eadurkin

Originally a HS Mathematics teacher from New Zealand, currently working as Associate Principal in the Secondary School at Canadian Academy, an international school in Kobe, Japan. Married with two children.
This entry was posted in Blogs in the classroom, Technology and tagged , . Bookmark the permalink.

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