All of our middle school students now have their own blogs hosted by Learner Blogs. You can find links to all student blogs here on this blog (on the sidebar), or sorted by class on the individual teacher blogs (listed below). Feel free to read what they are writing and to participate in the conversation. Learning is no longer limited by our classroom doors.
These blogs are part of:
“Helps them find a voice
A benefit to educational blogging (and wiki-writing) is the opportunity for the student to find a personal “voice” and to develop individual interests. Much like journal-writing, blogging gives wings to ideas that otherwise may can stay trapped in the mind. Many individuals find that blog-writing changes their lives in a significant way by allowing them to express their ideas in a medium that appears to have life and longevity–and that might find a kindred audience.
Creates enthusiasm for writing and communications
It is not expected that all students will take to blogging (just as not all students enjoy writing), but it is believed that blogging has a unique ability to create enthusiasm for writing and the communication of ideas.
Engages students in conversation and learning
Educational Blogging is more than just being about writing, just like writing is more than just writing business correspondence or a lab report for Chemistry class.Unlike traditional forms of publication that are one-way, when the work is done at the end of the publication process, students can be engaged in ongoing conversations about their ideas and thoughts. This can be threatening for some administrators afraid of endangering children, yet, it brings a reality to the classroom that was not previously possible.
Provides an opportunity to teach about responsible journalism
Because students who are posting blogs reach an audience with their posts, whereas a personal diary can be kept private, students have the opportunity in blogging to learn about the power of the published word. Whereas they might be tempted to criticise or make fun of someone in private conversation or in a diary, they can be taught about responsible journalism, and that the consequences of these kinds of remarks in the new world of the read/write web can be serious and long-lasting.
Student blogging is incredibly empowering in the following ways:
1) Instead of writing as a mechanized approach to empowerment where we learn to write well enough for school and work, we learn to write for life-long learning purposes.
2) Writing and blogging and life are intertwined as difficult issues are exposed and dealt with in a transparent community of voices. Although this type of writing entails risk and trust, growth and teamwork naturally result.
3) Writing and blogging encourage students’ initiative to write, to be engaged at more than just the head level. It involves writing from head and heart. Children often have not learned to do more than live from the heart, while adults have concentrated their efforts on more cerebral approaches. This means adults and children can bridge the gap that exists by writing together, creating a community of writers in their classrooms where there is no pseudo-community, only community where humans write.”
“What Blogging Does for Students.” Support Blogging Wiki. [http://supportblogging.wikispaces.com] Retrieved on 1 December 2006.