Ed Tech Tips with E. Mosier

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Positive Blogging Options for the Classroom

Overview

Every time a brand new semester rolls around, teachers tend to evaluate their classes and see if they'd like to change anything from the previous year, unit, or weeks to make their instruction more meaningful and engaging to students. One quick and easy way you can do this is through blogging with your students. There are several possibilities to include this in your curriculum and even fits across several content areas. I have pledged to do more of this on a professional and classroom level this semester. So, here are a few sites to consider if you'd like to join me on this blogging expedition.

Benefits to Blogging

Aside from the obvious benefit to the student's writing craft, blogging can actually be a springboard for many positives in the classroom. For example, those "reluctant to participate" students can have a voice to express their thoughts in a more comfortable medium. Additionally, this could be a terrific way to showcase what's happening in your class. If each student is blogging about a book they're reading, friends and family members could see the work the students are doing. Finally, there's a global component as well. Imagine blogging about a topic or a book and having a professional in the field or the author of that text respond to the writing? Can you imagine the student's reaction if that happened?!

A Few Blog Samples

Blogger

Perhaps the "go-to" blog as I know it is Blogger. This is probably due to its ease of use and lack of other distracting features. But, the main reason this is a worthwhile option is if your district is a G Suite for Education District, there's very little additional registering for a student to do. They can title a blog, customize its look, and begin working on their post within a matter of minutes since it's all connected to Google. So, if Blogger is unblocked in your district (unlike mine), this is a nice option for students.

WordPress.org

WordPress is another option for students to set up a blog. It has a fairly detailed toolbar for students to not only customize the look of their blog, but each individual post. There's also an option for unlimited customization whereas that's an additional charge with other blog services. However, the neatest option available is that this has a mobile app component with it. Since there are a good number of students who are tied to their phones, they have the option to draft a blog as they're lounging around in the evening.

KidBlog

The blog service I find most appealing for the classroom setting would be KidBlog. There are a few benefits to this. For example, there's an option to make the blog private, so only classmates see it. Or, you can make it global and share it with the world. I appreciate that flexibility. Also, I enjoy the ability to have students join with a Class Code. Similar to Google Classroom, teachers can set up their Classroom, advertise a join code, and invite students in that way. This allows the teacher to keep track of who's in the class and see each post. Even though there isn't a mobile app capability with this, I still believe is worth a look if you're considering blogging for your classroom.

Blogging Resources

If you're interested in learning a little more about the blogs in this post (or even more options), I highly recommend checking out Richard Byrnes's excellent chart that nicely organizes each function of several blogs and offers his thoughts on each of them. Additionally, the guys over at the TeacherCast Podcast dedicated an entire show to KidBlog. Check each of them out and let me know if you end up blogging in your classroom.

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