Blogging is a great way to reflect on a topic or share a perspective. In classrooms, blogs can be a fun and engaging tool for students to create and publish on their own site about their interests and to document their learning process. The article ‘Happily Blogging @ Belmore South’ shows a year 4 classroom in Belmore South that is privy to this case. The teacher, Ms Pericles, noted the skills and knowledge students have developed over a year of blogging, and the extra-curricular benefits of this exercise for her students. Here are three points that stood out to me about the advantages of classroom blogs for learning:
1. Students’ ownership of their learning and creating/publishing process
The teacher starts off the article by listing all the different activities her students are involved in for their personal blogs, many of them working collaboratively on posts that link to their personal interests as well as classroom content. Through the outlet of blogging, these students can be motivated to reflect and evaluate their learning of a topic when creating posts. Pericles (2008) calls this process “re-think, research and re-explain” (p.5), through which students have a firsthand opportunity to creatively engage with content and publish their understanding (through videos, slideshows, and document uploads alongside posts) (p. 4-5).
2. Builds a Quality Learning Environment
Not only does blogging ‘fit’ into most of the curriculum areas and beyond, but it engages students personally in a structured activity for authentic learning. Ms. Pericles (2008) has worked towards co-constructing working guidelines for blogging with her class, and these are re-evaluated and built upon as students become more fluent (p. 5). Explicit criteria and purpose combined with authentic learning and audience has enabled these Belmore South students to create and review quality posts with reference to the criteria.
3. Networking and connectivity within and outside classroom
The students’ blogs are connected to schools and classrooms in Scotland, England, India and New Zealand – information about cultural content like Scottish dance in these classrooms is exchanged with knowledge of Australian history for their Scottish peers (p. 4, 6). This again reinforces the authenticity of content while building values of intellectual & cultural exchange, appreciation of multiculturalism and a sense of oneness with their audience, along with skills of collaborative learning and dialogue across national and cultural boundaries. The comments and questions are also reviewed daily in the classroom, which provides opportunities for students to collectively work on problem-solving, encounter different viewpoints, and construct responses to any comments or questions while working purposefully and respectfully as a team. As Pericles (2008) notes, “we are connected to our learning and to our friends around the world” (p. 6, emphasis added).
Pericles, K. (2008). Happily blogging @ Belmore South. SCAN, 27(2), 4-6