As time has gone on at Sir Edmund Hillary Middle School we have come to realise that blogging brings many educational benefits. Years later we are still discovering new advantages for our students.
The diagram below summarises the most powerful benefits we have found from blogging (so far):
- Social Skills and Confidence: While some people may be quick to say that blogging and online social media can inhibit social skills, we see blogging as a terrific starting point. It can help certain individuals to practise their skills and transfer them into the “offline world”.
- Internet Safety: Everyone will agree that teaching students to be safe online is an important issue. You can’t just do one off lessons on cyber safety. Cyber safety is not a separate subject. Through being heavily involved in blogging, our class has opportunities almost weekly to discuss cyber safety issues and appropriate online behaviours in an authentic setting. Blogging is an excellent way to learn about being a responsible member of an online community.
- Literacy: Teachers often give feedback on the improvement in my students’ literacy skills. Not only are skills improved, but engagement levels increased. Reluctant writers wanted to write for a purpose and students use blogs to purposefully communicate and converse with others. Blogging is part of our literacy curriculum so we use blogging to explicitly teach English conventions.
- Maths: While using blogging as an avenue for teaching and learning literacy may be more obvious, blogs can also be used for maths.
- ICT Skills: Blogging assists students to become more ICT literate which is a crucial 21st century skill. Through blogging, we’re able to incidentally discuss many ICT skills such as keyboard shortcuts, Creative Commons, researching online and troubleshooting.
- Classroom Community: Creating a class blog requires teamwork and collaboration. Students and teachers learn and share together. A real sense of classroom community can be developed through blogging and establishing a class identity.
- Authentic Audience: In the traditional classroom, the only audience of student work was the teacher and sometimes classmates and parents. Blogs provide a much larger audience for student work and an avenue for feedback and self-improvement through commenting.We have found that students really take pride in the work that goes on the blog and want to do their best for their impending audience.
- Global Connections: We have found this to be one of the most exciting benefits of blogging. Blogging can help flatten the classroom walls and over the years we hope to meet and know many classes across the world who we may call our “blogging buddies”. The benefits of these connections are priceless. A sense of understanding and tolerance develops and students can learn a lot about the world in which they live.