How can blogs be used in the classroom?

Saturday, December 4th, 2010 | Blogging, technology

While reading the blogs of experts and fellow teachers is most beneficial to you, the greatest value of blogs will be experienced when you create your own for use in your classroom.  Yes, you must become a blogger!

Here are two of many ways in which you can liven up your teaching by means of blogs:

The most basic method of exploiting a blog in the classroom is by using it as an electronic notice board.  Every time you want to inform your class about something, just post it to the blog.  These announcements may include homework assignments, handouts, lesson notes, reminders of forthcoming tests and examinations, reminders of due dates for handing in assignments, useful tips for learning, or any other snippet that you may want to share with your class. 

When all your learners understand that this is the way you communicate with them there are no more room for misunderstandings.  If any of your communications are not clear, learners can leave a question as a comment to which you can respond for the benefit of the whole class.  Imagine how much time you will save if you have to explain something only once!

The next step would be to use a classroom blog to develop literacy skills – it is the ideal space for you to work with your learners to improve their reading and writing skills.  Post a writing assignment on the blog – for example, instruct them to write hundred words on a topic.   Ask the learners to post their responses as comments.  You are providing an immediate audience to all learners.  Shy learners are often hesitant to make verbal contributions in class – but they may feel more inclined to participate in a blog situation.  You can, in turn, comment on their work, either giving commendation, or offering suggestions, or making corrections.  Learners could learn from reading each other’s written work, even more so when they read your comments on the work of their peers.

The opportunities for using blogs for other classroom applications are limited only by your imagination – and if that fails, look on the internet at what other teachers have done with blogs in their classrooms.

For more technology tips for teachers click here.

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1 Comment to How can blogs be used in the classroom?

Tuesday, 7 December, 2010

This is so true! When I was lecturing at the college, I set up a blog for my students using Moodle, and it was brilliant! I mainly used it for posting assignments and reminders about due dates, and that in itself was invaluable as there were very few excuses that they could come up with regarding late hand-ins. I also sourced extra on-line tutorials about topics that the learners might have had difficulty with, and posted the links in my blog. I found that even the learner’s who were not having difficulties loved using them as extra references and examples. And some of them even posted links to other web resources that they had found useful.

Another side to it though, that I had not anticipated, was that the students started using it as a social network within the lab. And many students who had been very reticent about speaking up in class before, started coming out of their shells and began to participate fully in the class.

Blogs (or Blabs as my students renamed it) can be very useful, and far from creating an environment where socialising is restricted, I’ve found that it actually encourages communication outside of the blog itself.

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