Blogging has truly come a long way in the years since it was first introduced on the internet. What used to be a hobby that essentially boiled down to an online journal, is now a means for businesses, experts, and even teachers to expand their craft and reach new people for all kinds of different purposes.
The sky is truly the limit with blogging and now that technology is making its way into our classroom, it’s time that educators start implementing classroom blogs into their curriculum. Today we’ll look at the many benefits of a classroom blog, followed by a step-by-step guide on how to start a classroom blog.
Benefits of blogging in the classroom for Students & Teachers
Now a days, there are many teachers using blogs in classroom. Depending on the approach you wish to take, your classroom blog can be used to keep parents updated on upcoming events and news, or it can be something that students themselves contribute to. It can also be both, as there are plenty of flexibility.
Here are some amazing benefits you and your students can receive with a classroom blog:
- Valuable writing practice.
- Increased social skills through discussion and comments
- A hands-on experience for students (more engaging than reading a textbook)
- The opportunity for students to express their opinions and thoughts
- Ideal for all levels of education.
Blogging is something that all teachers can take advantage of, regardless of their subject. Let’s take a look at how you can start using blogs in classroom teaching today.
How to start a Classroom Blog
Now if you are a teacher and wondering, how to create a blog for my classroom, then here is a step by step guide to do it with ease.
Step 1: Choose Your Platform
Your blogging platform refers to the website or program you use to create and publish posts. If you want to create a free classroom blog, then there are numerous free blog sites to choose from that can easily fulfil your needs for a classroom blog.
There are also certain blogging platforms that are specifically designed for educators. These are also great options. Here are some of the top options to choose from:
WordPress is one of the most popular blogging platforms in the world. If you’ve ever used programs like Microsoft Word to write documents, then you’re already halfway there. It’s a very user-friendly option that can easily accommodate your classroom needs.
This platform is also great for giving your blog a unique look. There are numerous free WordPress themes to choose from that can be installed with just a few clicks!
Edublogs is a platform entirely tailored to educational blogs. It actually uses WordPress as its basic technology, but it differentiates itself with a series of features and custom plugins designed to accommodate teachers and students.
There’s an option for a free blog, or paid options that provide additional features. In terms of the overall experience and approach, this is one of the best educational blogging platforms.
Blogger is the Google-run platform that strips the concept of blogging down to its bare bones. If you want something simple and to the point, then this is the platform to choose. It doesn’t offer as much in the way of customization that other platforms have, but the very low learning curve makes it easy for anyone to jump in and understand everything.
Kidblog is another rising classroom blog platforms. It has a structure that allows teachers to moderate and monitor any and all activity on the blog. In addition, the simple layout is easy for students to understand as they begin writing.
You can also use this platform to connect with other teachers and classrooms to expand your network. It allows you to create a wide variety of content for all kinds of blogs. The website offers examples like digital pen pals, science blogs, book clubs and more.
Step 2: Establish Your Structure and Schedule
This next step involves understanding your blog’s purpose and how it will function as part of your classroom. If we start by looking at the blog’s ultimate purpose, you should consider your curriculum and how blogging can be used to enhance it.
For writing or English teachers, the connection is simple, but any subject matter can be incorporated into this style of teaching and learning. For example, if you’re covering history, wouldn’t it be more engaging to have your students write their opinions on specific events, than having them simply read about it and move on?
Once you’ve begun to envision how your blog can interact with your subject matter, the next step is to create a structure that is mutually beneficial.
Here are some ideas for blogging in the classroom that will help you to get started:
- Create an ongoing rotation of student authors for one blog.
- Construct multiple blogs for each student to manage.
- Encourage students to comment on each other’s content
Remember that the key benefits of blogging are most prominent when your students are able to directly interact with the platform and write blog posts themselves. The hands-on approach is the key.
Step 3: Implement Best Practices for Ongoing Success
Once your classroom blog is up and running, you’ll need to maintain it and ensure its ongoing success. At some point, you’ll probably want to expand your efforts and the ultimate scope of the blog’s reach.
Consider these tips for new bloggers that will help you to ensure your own classroom website runs smoothly:
- Write eye-catching headlines.
- Separate content with headers
- Keep paragraphs down to 3-4 lines in length.
- Use bullet points to create lists
- Moderate comments.
- Always include images
You can read the full list of checklist about how to write a blog post. Following these practices will ensure that your students’ posts are easy to read and understand by other students and any potential readers. It’s also important to monitor your blog’s ongoing success and performance. This can be done with tools like Google Analytics.
Finally, a great way to bring your blog to attention is to promote it on social media platforms. For security purposes, only the teacher should have access to social media, but this is a great place to show off your students’ work or connect with other teachers.
Blogs are a great way to enhance a student’s education and overall experience in the classroom. By choosing a great platform and providing structure, your students can reap the benefits of this awesome technology. How do you implement blogging in the classroom? Let us know in the comments!
This article is contributed by Paul Heinsohn. He is a blogger with over a decade of experience in teaching. He has a passion for finding new ways to incorporate technology into the classroom.