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Avoiding Dead End Blogging in the Classroom

Dead EndOne of the great failures of blogging in the classroom is that the blogs rarely extend beyond the semester. Why is this?

I think that most teachers underestimate the blogging process and simply think that students will just do it without proper scaffolding and guidance. This is a great failure, as what this turns into is a simple journal activity done online, which completely ignores the greater possibilities of a learning blog. Why not introduce students to the full blogging cycle of reading -> commenting -> posting -> discussing?

Students need to be made aware of the benefits of reaching out and reading other blogs as resources of information, sources of discussion and ideas. They must learn to comment to start discussions with other authors before posting on their own. They should know what is out there before adding to the discussion in their own blogs, so that they know where to start. Teachers need to provide the required scaffolding to walk the students through this process before allowing them to jump in too quickly. Too often new tools fall by the wayside simply because we are not shown how to use them properly… With proper guidance, students will be able to create their own social networks around their blogs, benefit from collaboration and discussion with other, and take more control over their own learning environment…

I have come across two great resources this week about how to set up blogging in the classroom, and I highly recommend checking them out if you are looking to kickstart your students’ learning blogs. It could make the difference between your students blogging because “they have to” and blogging because “they want to”…

First, check out the post “Blogging: It Isn’t About Writing” over at The Four Eyed Technologist. This is a great post about the cycle of blogging and gives some great tips on how to properly scaffold the process in your classroom. Next, take a click over to the presentation page for “Sustained Blogging in the Classroom” by Jeff Utecht. He also has a wiki page set up on the topic. Jeff gives a 23 minute presentation on blogging in the classroom that will really help you set up your classroom for blogging success. The video download is a bit heavy at 291MB, but well worth it.

Image credits: Rosino on Flickr

2 Comments

  1. Ryan Bretag wrote:

    Hi Stephen:

    As you said, teachers need to introduce students to the whole scope of blogging. However, it is often merely assigned as we’ve done with so many other pieces of technology: create a powerpoint, create a graph in excel, create a blog post, create a podcast, and on and on.

    Where is the teaching?

    Nice post and thanks for the recommendation on my blog post.

    Sunday, October 28, 2007 at 9:56 pm | Permalink
  2. Stephen Henneberry wrote:

    Exactly! “Where is the teaching?”

    Is it that teachers assume that these tools have become “normalized”? Is it that teachers themselves don’t know how to use them?
    Do the teachers simply assume that as their students are “digital natives” that they don’t require instruction?

    Do teachers assume “If you build it, they will come”? But, what if they don’t know what to do once they arrive? Just because Kevin Costner built a baseball diamond in a cornfield, and pro ball players arrived out of the mist ready to play, doesn’t mean that we enjoy the same luxury. In real life you get a group of kids who walk on the field and ask “Now what?”, and that is when the coaching begins…

    Saturday, November 10, 2007 at 6:38 pm | Permalink