There is a growing body of research which suggests that blogging can enhance education through reflective practice and can help you to look at your own experiences to improve the way you work. In addition, the emerging field of blog psychology tells us that blogging brings a host of mental health benefits, and it offers us opportunities to expand our knowledge.
Through my experience blogging, I learned about writing for a range of audiences, Search Engine Optimization (SEO), HTML coding, and web design. Similarly, it’s amazing how much potential blogging has as a supplement for teaching. In fact, a classroom blog can act as an excellent starting point for encouraging students to harness the power of the internet to share what they have learned.
With a classroom blog, a teacher can be in complete control for publishing blog posts to share with the class or even the general public.
However, teachers are not usually webmasters, so here are some tips to help you if you want to become a teacher-blogger:
- Choose a domain name and a platform. – Your domain name will be the name of your classroom blog; be catchy and creative because you want to encourage your students to visit your blog. There are many platforms to choose from, such as Wix, Weebly, and Tumblr, but WordPress is by far the most popular blogging platform in the world, with around 30% of websites using it. The platform itself is also free and open source, though if you have a blog hosted at wordpress.com (e.g., ‘classroomxblog.wordpress.com’), rather than having your own domain name, there will be some limitations.
- Set effective short-term and long-term goals. – As a teacher blogger, you have to be clear with what you aim to achieve with your classroom blog. Otherwise, it will just be an additional chore for you and your students. Are you setting up a blog to improve literacy? Or are you trying to interact more with students and parents?
- Have a content plan. – Whether it’s a classroom blog or for a different genre, you need to blog regularly. You don’t have to do it on your own, you can ask someone from your class to write a guest post as a way to share what they learned that week. You can also invite other teachers to contribute articles.
- Write for a wider audience. – One of the key features of a blog is that it’s written in a fairly conversational style. If you write easy-to-read pieces you can reach a wider audience. Long, complex, convoluted posts can be confusing . Very often the longer a piece is, the greater likelihood you may lose the reader’s attention – all the more so on small screens. As such, your students would do well to get right to the point: a skill they’ll find valuable as they continue up the academic ladder.
- Link to external sources. – It’s always a good idea to link out to other sites that have useful information that may be helpful for your students. For instance, if you mention a particular piece of research or news, link to it. This also demonstrates that your credit other people’s work
As I have mentioned in another article: ‘It is remarkable that many teachers today are implementing digital technology in the classroom such as blogging and it is undeniably opening doors to new ways of learning. Teachers who are looking to adopt digital technology should not dismiss the power of the blog to revolutionise learning inside the classroom.’
As technology makes its way into classrooms, don’t forget to take advantage of the blog. Whether it is used for a class website or for stand-alone student projects, blogging in the classroom can easily connect students, parents, and teachers.
Can you talk about an academic’s tendency to write at a higher reading level than the average reader can understand? It’s important to think about your audience before writing.