Classroom blogs can be a great way to teach online skills, such as blog management and article writing, and can help students learn teamwork, collaboration and leadership skills. It is also a great way to show off your students work to family members and the wider world, and keep them updated on classroom developments, events and projects. Students can write articles, post videos, discuss projects and upload documents. But, there are many issues that teachers have to address before pressing the ‘publish’ button on a classroom blog.
There are a huge range of blogging software sites that teachers can use such as Blogger and WordPress, and microblogs like Tumblr and Posterious have also become popular. Edublogs is an educational specific blog software website that caters especially for classroom blogs. It is fully customizable with lots of different templates, and can be made private or public depending on how you want the blog to be publicized.
Depending on your own IT skills, you can choose software that suits you and your classroom. Make sure that any software is compatible with all computers in the school, and that it is relevant to the skill-level of your students.
Most schools have a section in their blog where they outline what guidelines they have put into place to ensure that students are kept safe from potential hazards, and that they behave appropriately online. This is a very important section, especially to inform parents about how their children will be using the blog.
Some key issues to discuss with students, parents and other teachers before starting the blog:
Before starting the blog, do some thinking into what you want out of the blog.
Write a list answering these questions to keep track of how your blog is developing over time. You will have a frame of reference to refer to you can stop the blog becoming either dead or full of useless content. Once you have this baseline covered, outline what you would like your students to publish on the blog. For example:
Read some other classroom blogs to give you ideas and see how they have been used in other schools. Here are some great examples of how to do it right:
There is a great list of classroom blogs from Edublogger here, where you can search by grade and by country to give you some more ideas.
Silvia Gallagher is the Head of Content for AvatarGeneration. Her background is in online learning, virtual worlds, and educational games. In her spare time she likes riding bikes over mountains and playing around with new technology.