In the second half of last year we were introduced to a child friendly blogging system at Kidblog.org. The idea of blogging from the classroom is attractive in many ways. It is an authentic use of technology, it creates a snapshot of student learning, it is highly motivating and it is an efficient means of communication.
- It’s Authentic
Blogging is an authentic use of technology in the classroom. That’s to say that it is not a stand-along technology lesson just for the sake of getting the kids in front of a computer. Over the last ten years it has been reassuring to see student use of computers and technology become more than just, sitting the kids in front to the computer because it looks good to parents. Blogging teaches long lasting real world skills that students can use long after leaving our second grade classroom.
- A snapshot of learning
Blogging creates a beautiful snapshot of student learning. The way the blogs are used in our classroom lets the parents see how their child progresses with regards to their writing skills. This is somewhat controversial with others, but I do not edit the student’s content or mechanics. Instead, I just let them write. I should qualify this just a bit. I do give the students a purpose for their post so that they have some direction, but as far as mechanics and content go I do not ask the students to follow our regular pattern of writing (idea – plan – first draft – revise – second draft – edit – publish). My wish for the blogs is that it is more of an unfiltered stream of thought coming from the students. The beauty of this is that the students naturally become better writers and editors throughout the second grade and this is all meticulously captured in their blogs throughout the year. A blog post from the second week of school will look very different from a blog post in the 36th week of school and it is all captured for the parents and students to see.
Blogging is motivating. There is a certain amount of notoriety that goes along with publishing something online for the whole world to see. The students love the idea that their moms and dads that are traveling for business can see their posts; they love it that grandmas and grandpas back home can see it. This is especially significant for all of us working and living overseas. This motivation is tied closely with my final thought on blogging, communication.
Blogging is an excellent way to communicate. Blogging allows students to communicate with parents, teachers, other students and extended family. The feedback from parents is incredible. For example, this year within 24 hours of our first blog post our classroom had 150+ comments waiting to be approved. That’s better feedback than I ever get with parent newsletters or email. Right now we have nearly 300 comments on our blogs from students, parents and teachers. Personally, I love seeing a comment from a parent that’s on the road traveling. It is a fun way for the student to stay connect with mom or dad when they are overseas. Not to be overlooked is the student-to-student communication. Students get excited about leaving comments for others and reading comments from their peers.
Just below is a link to a video taken while students comment on their classmate’s blogs. The funniest part of all this is the sound…they are engrossed and s-i-l-e-n-t. They really do like blogging.
If you are interested in seeing some of blogposts from our second grade student feel free to take a look here: http://kidblog.org/mrcollins/