Blogging in the Classroom

Technology is constantly evolving and schools are struggling to keep up with new I.C.T developments; and the cost of new I.C.T equipment is one of the reasons for this.

Nevertheless the internet has unlocked hundreds of avenues for schools to pursue; from Social Media and email to an endless source for resources and shared ideas. As already discussed in previous blog posts, Twitter and blogging is being utilised by teachers to improve pedagogy across the globe. Can this same effect be seen in education if young people start blogging?

David Mitchell (@deputymitchell), a Deputy Head teacher from Bolton, introduced blogging to pupils at Heathfield CPS when he first arrived. A school with low literacy rates and poor end of KS2 results that have been transformed, and David puts it down to blogging.

  • Attainment raised from 9% <level  5 in 2009 to 60% <level 5 in 2010.
  • Pupils achieved 2 years of progress in 12 months in 2010.
  • SEN pupils made 3 years of progress in 12 months in 2010.
  • On top of this, is has improved pupils social interactions with family, peers and teachers.

Heathfield CPS, Bolton: Primary School Blogs across all year groups, including a ‘Well Done’ Blog.

The Power of an Audience


There is a mountain of problems educators are trying to overcome, ‘pupils attitude’, ‘not cool to learn’ and ‘behaviour issues’ only cover a small part of this. So how can blogging help turn this mountain into a hill?

  1. Blogging can help engage students, parents and teachers
  2. Make learning cool
  3. Raise standards
  4. Breed competition
  5. Motivates pupils
  6. Innovative use of I.C.T

Blogging will create an audience for your pupils to perform, to boast about their school work to an international community – not just an interaction between pupil and teacher anymore.

A secure educational blogging site is www.edublogs.org

A teacher from America has listed a number of benefits of student blogging:

Authenticity                                authentic writing for authentic audiences

Affordability                                blogging is free

Builds                                                confidence as students shine, share & respond

Carries                                              across the curriculum

Collaborative                              discussions as students respond to & learn from one another

Communication skills         writing for an audience necessitates & builds effective communication skills

Connections                                between students & classes, between home & school

Develops                                         higher order thinking skills (as students write, read, reflect & respond)

Digital Age                                     learning about, creating and leaving positive digital footprints

Digital Citizenship                  students learn about proper etiquette & cybersafety

Editing skills                               undertaken in manageable, bite sized chunks

Constructive criticism

Focus

Flexibility

Fun!

Improves typing skills

Motivates                                        independent writers & readers

Organic (not static)

Peer mentoring

Reading skills

Reflective practice

Responsibility                             provides an authentic opportunity to teach & monitor both

Student driven                           teacher facilitated

Technology                                  Introduces, interjects & integrates technology into all subject areas

Writing skills                               skills include writing for meaning, organization, sentence structure, spelling, grammar, etc.

 

Case Studies
Here are some examples of some student blogs.

Learning Support @ EWS, The Elizabeth Woodville School, Northampton – work in progress.

Heathfield CPS, Bolton: Primary School Blogs across all year groups, including a ‘Well Done’ Blog.

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4 Comments Add yours

  1. benpimentel says:

    Nice post. I’m a big fan of using blogging in the classroom and I do think it is a way we can get boys motivated about writing. However, I still havent found the magic formula for it to work in my classroom. I Australia we have a Department of education bogging platform (BlogEd) which is a little clunky. Many other platforms are blocked from use in schools.
    By the way, we have different aconyms here. What does CPS and CPD stand for?
    Keep up the great work!

    1. mrwickenspe says:

      Thanks for your comment. I too still haven’t found that magic formula for it to work successfully and efficiently at my school. Working in a secondary school has made things very difficult as only see students for 2/3 hours/week. I have been slowly setting up a Learning Support Blog with a student and the staff in there but this is still work in progress as you can see from the link in the blog post.

      I think that I will always use EduBlogs with students, unless I a better platform comes along.

      CPS is Community Primary School (someone will tell me if I am wrong on the one.
      CPD is Continued Professional Development.

  2. Richard Walmsley says:

    Going to attempt to use edublog with some BTEC L2 (Post 16) Students who have quite a low level ability in English. We will (hopefully) document their Unit 2 Practical Sport for Table Tennis! I will let you know how it goes!!!

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