Here are some of the benefits that I see:
- Authenticity --Blogging gives students an authentic platform for their writing and the other projects they create. That has an impact on the quality of their posts. No longer are they only creating for their teacher and their parents. They are creating for all of the visitors who come to see what we are doing. That is very engaging and exciting.
- Global Connections --Blogging gives students a global perspective, the chance to communicate with and learn from other students from across the United States and the world. We learn about geography as we track where our visitors are from. We have worked on an area and perimeter problem with friends from New Zealand, created similes and homophones with a class from the UK, and did a shared writing project with a class from Australia. The excitement of working with friends across the world was incredibly motivating.
- Literacy Skills --Students need to take the time to craft well-written blog posts, which includes both careful thought about the content and then careful proof-reading before they publish their post. Commenting skills also are extremely important. Learning how to write quality comments is an excellent way to practice literacy skills. We practice the friendly letter format when we comment. Students must read the posts and comprehend them, and then put a lot of thought into the comments they write. If someone takes the time to write a blog post, we also need to put thought into our comments.
- Internet Safety --Learning to blog in a classroom gives teachers the opportunity to teach internet safety. The internet is a fact of life and it is becoming a part of our children’s lives at younger and younger ages. It is important for teachers and parents to make sure that we instruct our children in how to stay safe as they start to build an online identity in the years ahead.
- Technology Skills --My third graders learned how to embed videos in their blog post. They learned how to do an advanced search in Google to find images they are allowed to use in their work. They know how to share documents in Google Drive. I know many adults who are not able to do all of these things! These and other skills are connected to our blog.
- Home/School Partnership --As excited as students get when we get comments from our friends around the world, it is even more exciting when parents, grandparents, uncles, aunts, and other family members contribute to the blog. We love having our loved ones share in our learning and comment on what we do. Those conversations are so meaningful and remind us that you are listening and that you care. Those comments mean the world to us.
- Reflection --Students revisit and reflect on lessons after they are presented in the posts and comments. The learning doesn't stop when we are finished with the chapter or the book, it continues to live in the posts and comments long afterward.