Recently, a colleague of mine wanted to introduce blogging in the classroom as a forum for responses to A Separate Peace. He was excited about the prospects, but unsure of how to begin the process.
When talking with him about his goals for the blog and how he might go about setting up the parameters for his classroom, he realized that blogging is not as simple as creating a forum and letting students loose. Instead, it requires some planning and thought beforehand for successful implementations. After all, blogging can be a great tool in the classroom as a forum for group discussion or individual response, but as with any new technology, it is important to consider the platform in depth before implementation.
So, I’ve created a list of 10 tips to guide your own classroom blogging implementations:
- Protect your students’ work by turning on privacy settings
- Give students a tutorial on how to use the blogging platform and practice posting in class
- Provide parents with the link so they can be involved with the classroom activities and keep up with student work
- Provide students with detailed guidelines about commenting, post length, required blog activity, etc.
- Engage your students in a discussion about plagiarism, and how to properly cite online
- Go over digital etiquette with students and discuss respecting their peers’ writing and thoughts
- Be an active presence on the blog by commenting on students’ posts, asking thoughtful questions, and encouraging conversation
- Consider blog posts as any other form of writing – require correct grammar, spelling, etc.
- Avoid unnecessary widgets, sidebars, crazy backgrounds and music – keep the focus on the blog posts and student content
- Provide students with a clear, detailed rubric of how their participation and content will be assessed