Why Student Blogs?

This is the first year that my students have had their own blogs.  Recently one of these students has questioned the purpose, so I thought I'd address why I believe in the importance of students have individual blogs.

Writing for an audience:
I believe that it is wise for students to learn to write for the worldwide internet audience. What is your purpose and who are your readers?  They also learn to write for an audience using different mediums.  For example, it may be visual, abbreviated, using an infographic, or a thing link.  Thre are a huge number of different apps I’d like my students to learn to use.

Connecting family with school:
It is important that parents/caregivers can know where their children are at with their learning; a blog is an ideal way for them to see this.  It gives an insight into not only their learning, but their skills, attitudes and work levels. 

Writing mileage and NCEA exams:
Nearly all high school NCEA exams are in short answer or essay questions.  A number of the teachers (from this level) I have spoken to have said that this can disadvantage boys, because in their experience, boys write brief, circumspect answers, whereas, girls can ‘waffle’ more, meaning they have more chance on touching more of the key concepts/ideas markers are looking for.  By regularly writing, I am hoping that all of my students will become more skilled at writing longer, well thought out, robust pieces of writing. 

Internet safety (developing a positive digital footprint):
There is no denying that students now have a digital footprint.  As a teacher, I don’t think we can ignore or suppress this, which is why I believe in students having an educational blog. I think it is important for students to learn how wide-ranging anything they write on the internet is.  Through their blogs, they learn about using photos wisely, not using their last names, realising that what is posted can never go away.  Students learn about moderating comments and spam.

Global connections:
We live in a global community.  A blog is a way to begin connecting with this community.  We can learn a lot about the world through the way students are educated.  Through their blogs, students can connect with students in schools all over the world.

Blogs invite feedback:
It is important that we learn to both give and receive feedback.  Through our blogs we have learned about giving feedback in a skilled way (Brooke made a neat Prezi about how to do this: http://bit.ly/1R4QPH7).  It is also important to know how to respond to feedback, blogging gives students the opportunity to practice this.

Recording their schooling (both academically and the activities):
A blog is a great place for students to journal their school (and sometimes their lives too).  It provides a record of things that can be forgotten over time.

So those are some of the reasons why my class are learning to blog this year.

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