Creating a blog is as easy as one, two, click; yet it is important to understand that the purpose of a blog is far more than simply logging events within the classroom. Blogs are as much about inspiring independent learners as they are about engaging students in new literacies and digital media. Students no longer need to be constricted to traditional methods of demonstrating their understanding and learning, because blogging is just as relevant to the curriculum as pen and paper.
In her article on student blogging at Belmore South, Kim Pericles (2008, p. 5) argues that blogging is adaptable to any KLA, and connects student learning to our 21st Century World. She demonstrates through her activities that students are engaged with their learning, and through this engagement their learning extends beyond the classroom. One such activity involves three male students investigating results of English, European and Australian football games, taking the data they collect to configure and post leadership tables, information and answer questions via their own blog (2008, p. 4).
By engaging in blogging, students are not using their blog, but are encouraged to use a number of different digital medias to engage with texts and express their understanding. Another group of students at Belmore South are involved in constructing a Bubbleshare slideshow to add to their blog, as well as recording a video performance of the chosen text (2008, p. 4). This is an example of an activity that requires students to engage with a number of different digital texts, expanding both students understanding and capabilities with digital media, as well as fostering a rich database of resources they can use to enhance their blogs.
Blogging in the classroom also opens up the opportunity for students to connect with another classrooms around the world, communicating and engaging with learning in different contexts, and sharing resources and information. An example of this in Pericles’ classroom is the connection the class has made with a class of students in Scotland. Scottish students sent instructions for a particular Scottish dance, which students at Belmore South followed and videoed. Students now need to upload this video to their own blog,which will be critiqued by the Scottish students. Receiving and sharing resources first hand is a fantastic opportunity for students to engage with different cultures and mindsets around the world, as well as being able to share about their own cultures and beliefs.
All of these activities demonstrate that blogging is more than logging personal ideas and thoughts; it is a tool that provides a purpose for the learning that takes place in the classroom (2008, p. 6). It is important that activities constructed around blogs reflect this purpose. Blogs can enhance explicit quality criteria, high expectations and student engagement and direction in the classroom. When used well, blogs will teach students to construct meaning and find ways “to share their learning with new audiences” (2008, p. 5).
Pericles, K. (2008). Happily blogging @ Belmore South. SCAN, 27(2), 4-6