Benefits of Blogging by Linda Yollis and Class

My good friend in Los Angeles, Linda Yollis, recently created this excellent video with her second and third grade class about the benefits of blogging.

This video may give you more of an insight into what you could get out of blogging with your students, or you might like to share it with your staff.

It has been my pleasure to discover the benefits of blogging alongside Linda since we both began our class blogs in 2008.

If you’d like to learn more about the benefits of educational blogging, check out the post I wrote last month.

To learn more about educational blogging, including how to set up class and student blogs, check out the educational blogging page on my site.

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? 

Benefits of Educational Blogging Video

The benefits of educational blogging is something I have discussed many times on this blog.

Kelly Jordan and I regularly speak to teachers at our school and around the world about blogging. Rather than us always selling the benefits we decided to make this video with our students to highlight some of the advantages of having a class blog.

The video goes for 15 minutes. We hope you enjoy it.

Blogging and Students with Austism Spectrum Disorders

When I first started blogging with my class in 2008, I thought it would be a bit of fun and a good way to communicate with parents.

Over the years, I have come to realise that the benefits are much more than this and the more benefits I unravel, the more I am encouraged to make blogging a priority in my classroom.

I have written about the benefits of blogging here, but this diagram (which is not exhaustive) summarises just some of the key benefits.

benefits of blogging 2

I have recently been reflecting on another benefit for certain students, after a number of discussions with parents.

A parent’s perspective

Over the past few years I have taught a number of students with autism spectrum disorders (ASD) and observed how much a number of them enjoyed blogging.

One parent recently explained to me why she thinks blogging works for her son who has Asperger’s Syndrome.

Social Skills

Blogging has helped with his social skills, as not only does he interact with me whilst writing comments, replies and now posts he also has to think of appropriate ways to respond to questions, comments and the post. He also has a structure that he follows starting off with complimenting, which he struggles with due to his ASD, but since blogging I have seen an improvement. He then looks at the information they have written and tries to think of a way to engage the other person, this is also hindered by ASD, but again I have seen an improvement.

Pragmatic Language Difficulties

Blogging allows him to be social without having to take pragmatic language into account, it also allows him to practice his skills in a non-threatening manner (not in front of others).

Confidence

Blogging has given him a way to engage with others as they speak to him at school about what he has written and give him praise about being a good blogger which helps with his confidence.

Leadership

He has also been able to put social skills into practice when assisting others with blogging.

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In a similar way, I have seen students without ASD but who are simply shy, quiet or lacking confidence really blossom through having a blog or working on the class blog. Students who have previously gone somewhat “under the radar” have found their voice and developed confidence by being a blogger.

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 practice their skills and transfer them into the “offline world”.

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There is no denying that they way we approach blogging in our class is highly structured and I think this works well for many students with ASD (and many other students). One example of this is the way we teach and encourage quality commenting which I see as contributing to the high standard of literacy skills my students are demonstrating.

Note – I am not claiming to be an expert with ASDs or suggesting all individuals with ASD would respond to blogging but for a number of students I have taught, I have found it to be an effective tool that is well worth pursuing.

Have you had any experience working with students with ASD and technology?

What do you think about using online technologies to develop offline skills?

A Reflection on the Benefits of Classroom Blogging

I updated this post in March 2013. Click here to find the new post!

Most of you will know how passionate I am about blogging in the classroom. Since I started blogging with my students in 2008, I have come to realise how enormous the benefits are.

The diagram below summarises the most powerful benefits I’ve found from blogging:

  • Improved Literacy Skills: 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.
  • 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.
  • Sense of Classroom Community: Creating a class blog requires teamwork and collaboration. Students and teachers learn and share their learning together. A real sense of classroom community can be developed through blogging and establishing a class identity.
  • Global Connections: I have found this to be one of the most exciting benefits of blogging. Blogging can help flatten the classroom walls and we have got to know many classes across five continents 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. We’ve used blogs to undertake global collaborative projects such as Collaboration Corner and the Uganadan Global Project.
  • ICT Skills: Blogging assists students to become more ICT literate which is an important 21st century skill. Through blogging, we’re able to incidentally discuss many ICT skills such as keyboard shortcuts, researching online and troubleshooting.
  • Home- School Partnerships: I have received many comments from parents and families who 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.
  • Appropriate Online Behaviours: 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 Grade Two class has opportunities almost every day to discuss cyber safety issues and appropriate online behaviours in an authentic setting.
  • Confidence: I have found that students really take pride in their work that goes on the blog and want to do their best for their impending audience. Students can gain self-confidence from being part of a class blog and demonstrating their achievements.

Overall, blogging is a platform for everything. It is a fantastic place to start for teachers and students who want to learn about technology. Additionally, there are so many wonderful Web 2.0 tools out there which have so much more value when you can embed them in a blog.

Have you witnessed any of these benefits in your classroom?

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