Blogging with students

Our school year is winding down here in New York, so I have been in a reflective state lately.  One of my reflections has been pertaining to the student and teacher impact of the professional development workshops that I have taught.  I enjoy working with educators, especially with technology integration. For me it is like a puzzle, thinking about specific purpose and content then finding the best technology fit for that project.  After all, it isn’t about the technology tool it is about whether students are engaged and therefore learning. One of the best examples this year of engagement and true 21st century technology integration came from Deb Harris, a high school English teacher in my district.  After attending a ‘Digital Conversations’ workshop here at Vestal, she started blogging using the Edublogs platform.  Here’s her reflection on how blogging has impacted her students, and her own teaching.

Blogging has energized my curriculum in ways I hadn’t expected.  In January of 2010, all 86 of my students started their own blogs where they began posting their literary analysis and responses to our Articles of the Week.  In addition, they kept a weekly update of their SSR reading and were required to read and comment on each other’s posts.  The broader audience inherent in the blogosphere has improved their writing.  They take much more pride in their assignments, knowing they will be read by a potentially worldwide audience, and by reading other students’ writing, they have seen quality models of analysis, improving their own thinking and writing.  The discussions they used to have on Blackboard are now connected to their own analysis, and it’s all on a medium that is very modern and appealing to them.  All of my students have personalized their blogs in some way, so that where they go to do their English homework is a place they enjoy, an expression of who they are and what they are interested in.  They are proud of their blogs, and many have said that doing blog work doesn’t feel like doing homework–strange, because they are doing all the same work that they did before we started doing it on the blog.  I believe that is a testament to the nature of the blog: the appeal, familiarity, and relevance of the internet for today’s young people.

For me, blogging has increased my communication with my students.  In the same way as them, having my own blog that I know will be read by my students and others increases my accountability.  I enjoy updating what I am reading for pleasure or what we are doing in class.  I am constantly looking for new ways to bring pictures and videos to the blog that highlight what the students are doing in class.  Blogging has made teaching and learning fun for me, and I’ve been at this for a while.

You can visit Deb’s blog at Head Outta the Book to see what she and her students are up to.  Deb inspires me everyday with her passion for literature and her ability to see what technology can do for her students and simply go for it.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Back To Top
Skip to toolbar