With all the blogs floating around the blogosphere, it’s easy to become overwhelmed. How do we know what a good blog looks like? How can I show my students an example of a quality blog, and what I expect from them in their own blogs?
The Edublogs website (http://edublogs.org/directoryclass/?utm_expid=3915942-0.sTB70DfGTIKG85bY3mRpOQ.0&utm_referrer=http%3A%2F%2Fedublogs.org%2Fcommunity%2F) offers links to a number of different education-based blogs, which cater to a range of different age groups and topics. I’ve reviewed two blogs, which demonstrate a clear understanding of how to engage with blogging in the classroom.
Based in Canada, ‘Huzzah’ is a classroom blog, operated by Year 6 and 7 students, and overseen by three teachers. It is a blog built around the purpose of sharing and celebrating what happens in this classroom, and in particular, uses its name ‘huzzah’ as a means of communicating this intention (‘huzzah’ is an old English term for joy, encouragment or triumph). This is an example of an engaging and insightful blog because it is not just a collection of written posts and pictures, but rather a log of learning that happens within a classroom. Students are encouraged to not only post polished work, but to also post drafts, and ask for feedback from the web community they are connected to. The site itself is engaging, with interactive links via web widgets, videos and slideshows which link visitors to activities in the classroom, but there are also links to individual blogs that each student operates. It is great to see every student involved in blogging about their interests, because they are made to feel like equal contributors to their classroom blog.
At first, Techie Kids can seem like its overloaded with too many colours and links. However, looking past the bright colours and flashing widgets, this blog is actually a very organised and succinct example of a classroom blog. Ideal for modelling blogging to a Stage 3 class, or even advanced Stage 2, this blog not only focuses on sharing current learning within the classroom, but also sharing resources for different subjects, tips for teachers on how to start their own class blog, and facts and images about their home Michigan. A central focus of this blog is communicating with online communities via the internet, and learning how to engage with other virtual classrooms. This would be a great resource to show students how to organise ideas for blog posts, as well as examples of smart and appropriate responses to visitors to their own blogs.