Since early 2006, I’ve been trying to convince teachers to blog with their students. It all started when Will Richardson spoke at the Illinois Computing Educators annual conference. After hearing him speak, I walked up to him, handed him a check and went away with his book. After reading it, I was totally convinced of the value of facilitating a blog for students. Since then, my personal blogging experience has been a bit limited, but really valuable. I have set up blogs for teachers that I have worked with, as well as facilitating a collaborative blog with a few middle school students. Overall, the process was really positive, but never really sustained. As I reflect on the process of using blogs with students, I would say that any opportunity to publish writing is important, particularly when students for these reasons:
- They are publishing their writing for an authentic audience and really enjoy knowing that others are reading their work
- We are giving them first-hand experience in a supervised manner to be content creators
- Students must write all the time for all content areas – and this medium is flexible and engaging
I wish I could say I was an expert because of my personal experience, as some of my PLN blog with their class every year on a daily basis, but I can say that I’ve done a great deal of research. I have done numerous workshops with teachers, and administrators about the process and am happy to say that they have been influential. Here’s my page of presentation materials (although I’ll admit the examples are out of date), Blogging in the Classroom.
Recently, I came across a nice post from another educator, Patrick Higgins that pointed me toward some empirical data that supports how useful blogging can be in the effort to improve writing. Drexler, Dawson, and Ferlig’s research paper also covers concerns such as time commitment and keyboarding skills, so it’s worth a careful read.
Teachers have used blogs as a means to developing writing skills for a while now…what’s holding you back?