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Thursday, May 26, 2011

12 Reasons to Blog with Your Students



I was sent a dozen roses this week by a wonderful, amazing student who found his talent for writing in this year's Digiteen project.

I'm more convinced than ever that blogging and doing it with other students from around the world is essential to helping students connect with themselves and a larger world.

You ask me to give you the reasons. In honor of the dozen roses on my desk, here's just twelve.
Sent by a student unleashed by blogging.

  1. Blogging is a different form of writing than the essay.

    There are so many nuances to blogging. You can write in first person, second person or third person. In fact, when I go through an article and take out the "I's" and put in third person my engagement levels go DOWN with the post.

  2. Blogging encourages student voice.

    First person writing lets the students share who they are.
  3. Blogging creates a stronger connection with the teacher.

    I'm a better teacher when I know my students better. When they blog, I learn a lot about them and am able to design lessons that interest them. (This is an important part of differentiated instruction.)

  4. Blogging gets students writing.

    The student who sent me flowers was literally unleashed. He had three required assignments, he wrote ten and counting. He ranted, he pontificated, he shared his thoughts -- but he WROTE. And as he wrote, something magical happened. This student who didn't really like essays loved blogging and sharing his hobbies and others responded.

  5. Blogging engages students in conversation.

    Talking with students outside your school lets you see who you are. I was picked on in school and until I got out and went to conferences, I didn't see that the other kids were WRONG about who I was. I wasn't unpalatably ugly and awful - I was someone else. Linking with other students takes students on a "road trip" without leaving your classroom.
  6. Blogging Helps Eradicate IM Speak from their Professional Writing.

    Ask online professors and they will tell you that IM speak and lack of punctuation are some of the banes of their existence online. Most students don't understand the lines between personal, informal writing and professional writing. They are professional students.

    I heavily penalize for "i" - taking 10 points off for the first occurrence and then just 1 point off for all of those afterwards. I do whatever it takes to teach them to write and THEN EDIT before publishing. Write in stream of consciousness but then EDIT.
  7. Blogging Teaches Digital Citizenship

    You can talk all day about digital citizenship. Blogging is DOING it. In-situ real-life learning happens when you blog.
  8. Blogging Can Teach the Nature of the Internet

    In our group blogs, we delve into site statistics, keywords, and the deep things of managing a blog. The students come away with a powerful technical knowledge, particularly when their work gets picked up by a major news outlet like the Digiteen Dream Team's protest of the Google Lively Shut Down.

  9. Blogging is a Real Life Skill

    Few of our students will be hired for their essay writing ability, but many companies are hiring in-house content creators. If they can blog and create video for a Youtube channel or podcast, or understand photography composition - the more the better.
  10. Blogging Can Make Life Easier for the Teacher

    The teacher is no longer the sole purveyor of feedback. Peer review is powerful, some would argue more powerful than teacher feedback. While AT FIRST when you get students started, it is definitely tough on the teacher, but once you've established community guidelines and reinforced any problems with action, students take over and sometimes the work can become a bit viral.
  11. Blogging Can Engage Interpersonal and Intrapersonal Learning Styles

    Many students learn socially. Blogging can be very social. It can also be something that the intrapersonal learner enjoys.
  12. Blogging Can Help Students Find Themselves.

    When students blog with other students not from their school (like on Digiteen) they can often find themselves. When only among their peers in the face to face environment, they can be kept in a box or label of the choosing of that group. Out of the box, they are unleashed to be themselves. This is one reason Walled Garden Blogging isn't enough.
Blogging nor any technology will ever be the savior of education. Excellent teachers in safe school environments with supportive parents make the ideal environment. I'm now convinced more than ever that blogging is essential for all students to do. And I have 12 aromatic reasons sitting on my desk right now to prove it.

What are your reasons that students should be blogging?
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