The Benefits of Educational Blogging

This in an update of older posts about the benefits of educational blogging.

2013 is the sixth year that I have maintained a classroom blog. When I first began I didn’t know much about blogging at all and I didn’t realise there could be educational benefits to running a blogging program.

I thought having a class blog would be a bit of fun and a good way to connect with parents.

As time has gone on I’ve come to realise that blogging brings many educational benefits. Years later I am still discovering new advantages for my students.

The diagram below summarises the most powerful benefits I’ve found from blogging (so far):

  • Social Skills and Confidence: While some people may be quick to say that blogging and online social media can inhibit social skills, I see blogging as a terrific starting point. It can help certain individuals to practise their skills and transfer them into the “offline world”. I have previously written about how students with ASD and confidence issues can improve their skills here.
  • Internet Safety: Everyone will agree that teaching students to be safe online is an important issue. You can’t just do one off lessons on cyber safety. Cyber safety is not a separate subject. Through being heavily involved in blogging, my class has opportunities almost daily to discuss cyber safety issues and appropriate online behaviours in an authentic setting. Blogging is an excellent way to learn about being a responsible member of an online community.
  • Literacy: I wrote about the improvement in my students’ literacy skills in this post. Not only were skills improved, but engagement levels increased. Reluctant writers wanted to write for a purpose and students were using blogs to purposefully communicate and converse with others. Blogging is part of my literacy curriculum so I use blogging to explicitly teach English conventions.
  • Maths: While using blogging as an avenue for teaching and learning literacy may be more obvious, blogs can also be used for maths. Just two examples are our daily use of Clustrmaps and the Our World, Our Numbers blogging project we’re currently involved in.
  • Home- School Connection: Many parents and families have told me that they love using the class blog as a “window into our classroom”. Through commenting, families can be a part of what is happening in our classroom and have real time access to their child’s education. Encouraging parent participation in your blog is something I have written about recently
  • ICT Skills: Blogging assists students to become more ICT literate which is a crucial 21st century skill. Through blogging, we’re able to incidentally discuss many ICT skills such as keyboard shortcuts, Creative Commons, researching online and troubleshooting.
  • Classroom Community: Creating a class blog requires teamwork and collaboration. Students and teachers learn and share together. A real sense of classroom community can be developed through blogging and establishing a class identity. A class blog mascot can be a fun way to represent your classroom community. 
  • Authentic Audience: In the traditional classroom, the only audience of student work was the teacher and sometimes classmates and parents. Blogs provide a much larger audience for student work and an avenue for feedback and self-improvement through commenting. I have found that students really take pride in the work that goes on the blog and want to do their best for their impending audience.
  • Global Connections: I have found this to be one of the most exciting benefits of blogging. Blogging can help flatten the classroom walls and over the years we have got to know many classes across the world who we call our “blogging buddies”. The benefits of these connections are priceless. A sense of understanding and tolerance develops and students can learn a lot about the world in which they live. I’ve listed some tips for global collaboration in an earlier post.

Student Perspectives

I’ve created a couple of videos with my students in the past to allow them to highlight some of the advantages of having a class blog.

I made this fifteen minute video with my grade two students in 2011.

Last year I presented at ISTE in San Diego with my Los Angeles blogging buddy, Linda Yollis. Our classes have been collaborating through blogging for many years. We put this short video together with snapshots of our students talking about what they get out of blogging.

In the ten years that I’ve been teaching I haven’t come across a program that provides as many benefits to students as a well-run classroom blogging program.

Blogging is a fantastic starting point for introducing technology and collaboration into your classroom.

Additionally, there are so many wonderful online tools out there which have more value when you can embed them in a blog. Blogging can provide a really diverse learning platform and while it takes a lot of work, the benefits to students definitely outweigh the costs!

Have you witnessed any of these benefits in your classroom?

What other benefits can students and teachers get out of blogging? 

30 thoughts on “The Benefits of Educational Blogging

  1. Hi Kathleen,
    I’m a Primary Ed./Special Ed. student, and during the course of my pracs, I have seen strong advantages to educational blogging – or to any online activity which allows students to enact curriculum in context.

    I put together a unit on Cybersafety for my last Sp. Ed. prac in which we constructed a fake email address as a class- my honest students were horrified to find out how easy it was to enter fake details when a website requested accurate ones, and the message “Not everyone online is who they say they are!’ really sank in. (Needless to say, I deleted the address afterwards…)

    Given this post, and the emphasis in an earlier one on the creation of a positive digital footprint, I was wondering if you used your relationship with Mrs Yollis’ class to problematise the cybersafety guidelines your class learned about in ‘Internet Safety Comics’? I noticed in ‘Skyping with Mrs Yollis and her class’ you have effectively posted your full name & location online and that you have also met Mrs Yollis, originally an online friend, in person — breaking two of the ‘rules’ of YAPPY.
    Did you and your students discuss these disparities? I would love to hear the outcome if so.

    Cheers –
    Malena
    twitter.com/edugoggling

    • Hi Malena,

      Thanks for taking the time to comment.

      We had a good discussion with our class about the “meeting people you connected with online”. Obviously, this is not a blanket rule (like a lot of “rules” around internet safety) and the students understand this. In this day and age it would be impracticable not to meet some people you connect with online (I have certainly met plenty) but the children realise it is not something they should do without gaining parent permission. Students do need to know this.

      As for putting our full names and location in a blog post, the children do not post their full name although this rule doesn’t apply to adults of course. Adults can chose how they want to create their digital footprint for themselves. As I have talked about in a previous post, I wonder if having no digital footprint is almost as bad as having a a negative one. Adults would be wise to use their full names for online professional work in order to build their digital footprint.

      Our interpretation of YAPPY is to not give out your home address or future plans but all our students have permission to have their first name and school name on our blog. This is all part of our blog guidelines which you’ll find on our class blog.

      As I talked about in that digital footprint post, there is a fine line between being scared to do anything online and posting too much information.

      In my class we like to use the internet safely but to it’s full potential. It’s up to each teacher to work out what this means for them and as long as they have school and parent permission I don’t see any problems.

      Kathleen

  2. Thanks Kathleen, lovely to hear back from you!
    I’m so glad to hear that the kids understand the rules aren’t blanket bans — and that they understand parental permission is required.
    Yes, the spectrum of online presence between no personal info and TMI is a difficult one to walk – but I agree… like most things with long-term implications it’s so important to get started early with supervision and sensible guidelines (the parallels that come to mind are swimming and bike education).

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  4. Dear Kathleen,

    I so enjoyed your students’ video regarding blogging. Love to hear about it’s worth in their own words.
    I have just begun to explore blogging with my 6th grade students and have been thrilled with their response. While I have kept it “in-house”, they still seem to enjoy the interactions.
    Thank you for sharing your knowledge. I look forward to the process of taking from “in-house” to global, but no rush; I understand the idea of taking in slowly,

    Sarah

    • Hi Sarah,

      That’s great to hear you’ve started blogging with your grade six students. I’m sure they’ll get a lot out of it.

      Good luck!

      Kathleen

  5. Hi Kathleen
    This is a really great post. I like the diagram, it makes it easy to see the benefits. I have shared it with some of my colleagues in the hope that they will see that there are benefits to blogging that they hadn’t seen before! There are so many things that blogging can be used for and the students I’ve taught enjoy seeing their own work on the blog.
    Kate

    • Hi Kate,

      That’s fabulous to hear that you’re sharing the benefits with some of your colleagues. Because blogging does take work, I find teachers really need to see the benefits to commit the time to it. I’m sure you’ve found the same thing.

      Thanks for commenting,
      Kathleen

  6. Hi Kathleen,
    Thanks so much for your informative post. I am a third year pre service teacher and looking for meaningful ways to integrate ICTs into the classroom. The tips you have provided will be invaluable, I especially like the one about starting small, but “oh the possibilities!” I will be conducting my prac in a Year 1 classroom, and using the kidblogs site to set up the blog. I am assuming I will have a lot of control over the project in the beginning, but eventually the children will develop the skills necessary take on more management of their blog, well that is what I am hoping. I have provided a link to your blog via http://jenbrown.edublogs.org/ to share the wisdom of your craft.
    Thanks again,
    Jenni

  7. Hi Kath,

    I think it was one your earlier posts on blogging that inspired me to get into classroom blogging. My students are enjoying it and we are definitely experiencing some of the benefits you have described above. I always use blog posts and comments as a tool for explicit teaching of English, although a few typos have still found their way into the published world!

    One thing I have learnt is to not put the year in the URL of the class blog (i used to have sgd2012 in the url) as two years in a row I had to start again. This time I left the year out so hopefully it is keeper. Our class blog is still new and we don’t have a whole of visitors yet, but we hope they come soon.

    P.S. Your blogs are awesome!

    • Hi Gary,

      That’s fabulous that your class is enjoying commenting.

      Definitely a good idea not to put the year in the URL. Likewise, I suggest people don’t put their grade level. For instance “MorrisClassBlog” would be better than “4KMsBlog” because it allows me to change grade level and keep the same blog. Of course these rules have gone out the window for me because I team teach and share a blog. So having both teachers name in a URL makes it too long (and we may not teach together forever either!)

      These two posts might give you some ideas to help your blog attract more visitors:
      Attracting Blog Comments
      A Guide to Involving Parents in Your Class Blog

      You might also want to get invovled in something like QuadBlogging.

      Good luck!
      Kath

  8. I agree with you that blogging improves social skills. It encourages students to open up and give their opinion. It also allows them to be themselves in their writing. The idea of homeschool students blogging is, I think, the best idea. Making it possible for these students to communicate with in school classrooms is a very good way to boost their confidence. I do plan on having a class blog in the future. That way parents can keep up with in classroom activities and upcoming events. I really enjoyed your post! Thank you for your contribution.

    Sincerely,
    Brelyn Searcy
    Junior @ University of South Alabama

    • Hi Brelyn,

      That’s great to hear you plan on having a class blog in the future. I’m sure your future parents and students will really enjoy it!

      Thanks for taking the time to comment,
      Kathleen

  9. Hello my name is Marie Allgood. I am an EDM 310 student at the University of South Alabama. I have been assigned to your blog. I will posting to my blog http://allgoodmarieedm310.blogspot.com about your blog on April 7th. I am on my journey to become a teacher. Your blog is very informative to me. This is the first semester that I have been able to learn about educational blogging. I have never been one to blog but I am learning how interesting it is. Your blog post helps to see why I need to incorporate blogging into my classroom. I am very excited and eager to have my own classroom to begin blogging with. I have my own children and have thought about helping them to create a blog since they do not do this in their classrooms. Thanks for taking time to keep a blog for others to enjoy.

    • Hi Marie,

      I’m glad you found my blog informative and you’re looking forward to using blogging in your classroom.

      Thanks for visiting,
      Kathleen

  10. Dear Mrs. Morris,

    I would like to thank you for your informative blog. Your students are doing an amazing job.

    I am a parent, work full time and I’m also a part-time university student, I came across your class blog while doing research for a paper I am writing. I am exploring the benefits that students experience as a result of ICTs in the classroom. I am impressed with your method and how quickly the children are adapting to the world being their classroom.

    All the best to you and your students, I hope you don’t mind that I will be referencing your blog and the work you do in my paper.

    Cheers from Ottawa Canada
    Mrs. Danielle Parent

    • Hi Danielle,

      It sounds like you’re a very busy lady! I’m glad you came across my blog and you’re more than welcome to reference my work in your paper. Good luck with it!

      Kathleen

    • Hi Melissa,

      Thanks for letting me know. Just to clarify, I teach grade four. I haven’t taught grade six before.

      Thanks for your interest in my post!

      Kathleen

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  13. Hi Kathleen,

    Thanks for providing such valuable information on your blog. I am often referring to points you have made or revisiting previous posts to refresh my memory.

    Whilst researching information about the benefits of educational blogging I came across this link: http://espikipbojonegoro3c.wordpress.com/2013/05/07/the-benefits-of-educational-blogging/ that is a direct copy of this post with very little referencing. I’m not sure if you were aware of this as it was made fairly recently and doesn’t appear to have left a pingback.

    Regards,

    Rebecca

    • Hi Rebecca,

      I’m so glad you have found my posts useful!

      Yes, I did know about that copy of my post – someone alerted me a few weeks ago. Unfortunately, I commented and asked the author to remove the post and they have not done so. It’s disappointing to know that teachers are plagiarising in that way (I assume it’s a teacher); what sort of example does that set for their students?

      Thanks so much for the alert!

      Kathleen

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  15. Hi Kathleen,

    I’d just like to say how wonderful your blog is. I am currently studying a Bachelor of Education at USQ and am doing a course about using technology in the classroom. Your Youtube videos on the benefits of students blogging is exactly what I was looking for, for one of my assignments. I was hoping to get your permission to use both your videos – ‘What you like about blogging’, and ‘Benefits of educational blogging’ in this assignment.

    Once again I’d like to say how wonderful your blogs have been, and I hope I can engage my future students in learning, in the same way you have engaged yours.

    Thanks

    Lauren

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  17. Hello,

    I am a education certificate candidate at SUNY Geneseo. I am new to blogging, and think you brought up some really good points about technology in the classroom. As an education student, we are constantly discussing bringing technology into the classroom. We are learning about IPads with apps, the smartboard and other ways to integrate technology in the classroom. The idea of blogging in the classroom never really crossed my mind. I find all your points valid about how it can benefit. I especially like your idea of teaching internet safety. In today’s world, it is so important to help students understand about cyber bulling. And through blogging, they learn appropriate online behavior.

    Allison

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