If Blogging in the Classroom Isn’t Working

Earlier today, I managed to listen to the audio file of Jeff Utecht’s K12Online Presentation, Sustained Blogging in the Classroom.   (I gave up trying to get the video file – for some reason my downloading time is excruciatingly slow at the moment).

I was particularly interested in this presentation as our classroom blog is up and running – since earlier in the year – and apart from the occassional post from a couple of students, it’s yet to really take off.  I thought that it was a good idea to start with a class blog, then introduce individual blogs.  Apart from one or two students posting of their own accord, the others post because I remind them to, or ask them to.  I rate the value of blogging in the classroom simply because I see the value of students writing for an audience that comprises of not just me, the teacher.  Good blogging models are out there and I truly believe that sometimes kids learn way more from each other than they do from teachers.  I’d like my students to realise that there is a purpose to writing,  it can be a rewarding experience and it is validating to know that others are reading your writing and are interested in what you have to say.  So why isn’t it working?

Jeff Utecht‘s presentation gave me some insight into why blogging isn’t yet sustained in our classroom. This is a practical presentation, full of sensible ideas, simple techniques and some really good “takeaways” thrown in as well.  So, what did I learn?

  1. Blogging is a conversation – 2 way communication and you need to take it to this level.
  2. Allow the conversation to take place.  Change the way your classroom is arranged if you have to – rearrange it so that the conversation can take place.
  3. Make time.  If it’s an add-on, it won’t work.  Simple.  Make it the way we do things ’round here.
  4. Guide the conversation, persuade the conversation, give suggestions, model to your students.  Find good blogs to read.

Jeff’s got a great wikispace set up too with all the links to some pretty clever teachers (Mark Ahlness, Scott Hossack, Clarence Fisher) out there who have sustained blogging going on in their classrooms.  I’ve realised that I have all the ingredients to achieve sustained blogging in the classroom, I just have to tweak things a little.  I’m glad that I’m on the right track and I now know what to do to allow sustained blogging to happen.

There’s so much more in this presentation but rather than regurgitate the whole of Jeff’s presentationplease go take a look/listen at it yourself.  I highly recommend it!

If you’ve not gotten into the K12 Online Conference yet, then you must.  The beauty of this conference is you don’t even have to leave the comfort of your own home!  And it’s free! Costs nothing more than your time!  And if you’re like me, and the kid’s need you, you can just pause and go back to it later. Or, if you think you missed something, you can go back and view it again.  Wicked!

3 thoughts on “If Blogging in the Classroom Isn’t Working

  1. Something I noticed this year. Last year, in the spring, we set up our blogsite. The kids loved it, enveloped it, it became theirs. They blogged for assignments as well as for fun. They loved commenting to each other and to find other classes with which to exchange comments. In other words, blogging worked.

    This year, we started the year with blogging. Again, the kids loved it – as it is something they’ve never done before – and do enjoy completing assignments. Book discussions are sort of working, but much of the discussion is really just them doing their jobs. Comments are rare unless made into an assignment. And nobody has blogged yet just because.

    So why the difference? I think we turned it into an assignment right from the beginning. We don’t give them time in class just to find other blogs and comment. We don’t add to the conversation much. These are things we did last year. Sigh.

    Thanks for reminding me to go back and show the children the fun of blogging and the excitement of commenting. And I will be sure to watch (or listen) to Jeff’s presentation. Maybe even learn some more.

  2. I’m just getting into the world of blogging with a class I teach at the college level. Somehow I thought if I put a blog out there, students would be eager to use it. I found that is not so. Even as an assignment students are not that eager to participate. Next time I teach the class I am going to try something different that may engage them more in a conversation. I will find out. As a newbie in this area, I feel like I have a lot to learn. Thanks for sharing success and failures.