Lots of schools are looking into blogging with their students. I’m obviously a fan of blogging (ah hem, you’re reading mine right now) but there’s a big picture here too. Our kids need to learn how to learn beyond the classroom walls. And they need to learn how to interact and co-create with other people. And of course, how to problem solve and work through disagreements.
We’re finding that blogging lets kids do these things.
If you’re a bit unsure of what I’m talking about, here’s a reminder: a blog is a web-log, originally an online diary where someone can talk to the Internet and folks can come and comment on what you say. Today blogs are everywhere – they cover every topic and are in pretty much any language. They don’t always follow the ‘diary’ idea and can just be full of unlinked thoughts or ideas or even sell products…
With this in mind, here’s a few ways that our kids are using blogs in school:
- Virtual pen pals. Set up and share a blog with another school overseas or here at home. They share their daily lives and learn about other peoples’ lives.
- Shared research space. We all research our chosen topic then post our findings on the blog. I can compare my info with yours and can then ask outsiders to check out if we are accurate or not.
- Creative writing. I’ll write the beginning of the story, you give me feedback and then we will write the rest together. Our family and friends can add suggestions and share ideas. They can even write too if we let them.
- Explore complex concepts. We’ll create a blog to explain fractions (or photosynthesis or parallelograms). I’ll post my ideas and you put up your explanations. I ask you questions and add in vidoes I’ve found online. You challenge my thoughts and we create a definitive definition and resource to share with our classmates.
I guess you could do achieve the same things ‘offline’ with paper and pen, but I’d argue that the learning our kids get from interacting with multi-media and people outside the school is hard to replicate without the technology.
It’s also really easy to use – which is a massive plus. Both for kids and for us adults! No point setting up something so complex that the tool (the blog) gets in the way of the learning!
Are your kids bloggers? What do you think of blogs as a way of learning?
How do you think your learned best at school?