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Hello and welcome to my blog. It is here that I will be working through various discussion topics related to technology, learning, and most importantly the creation of meaningful and relevant student instruction. I openly welcome your comments, and hope that my insights and presented information works to inspire and assist fellow educators in the effective integration of technology.

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Wednesday, November 9, 2011

The Application of Blogging…Simple Tool, Big Rewards

Thornburg (Laureate Education, 2010), in his research on technology and society, notes that with the ever increasing demand for technology integration in today’s classrooms teachers need to openly embrace technological innovations and utilize them to raise the effectiveness of their instruction and expand the learning potential of their students.  Teachers must actively endeavour to move beyond simply doing things differently and instead be innovative in the manner in which they engage their students and work to do different things. In this regard the application of student blogging is a great means of targeting numerous learning outcomes using interactive technology.  As November (2008) notes, “blogging represents one of many tools pioneering teachers are using to empower students to take greater responsibility of managing their own learning and adding value to the world” (p.81).  In working collaboratively with students in the development of blogging activities, class blogs can serve to fulfil a number of different roles and be utilized across the curriculum.  Personally I have used classroom blogging successfully to guide student learning in a few ways. 

Within my grade 3 class I have used blogging as an interactive means of assisting students in the development of writing skills in language arts class.  Through the provision of comments/feedback students are better able to identify areas of potential growth and work to correct any identified shortcomings.  Additionally my students have blogged to create digital portfolios of completed project assignments in science.  Being able to link images, photos, videos and text allows for a detailed running history of their learning journey, and one which can viewed and critiqued by persons beyond the students’ inner circle of close friends and teacher throughout the entire learning activity.  Lastly within the content area of social studies student blogs can be utilized to facilitate class discussion and the sharing of opinions for class debate.  This is an activity which I really enjoy utilizing with my students as it offers them the opportunity to engage higher order thinking skills and utilize the full collaborative nature of the application.  Using a central blogging theme as a prompt my students have been able to share their thoughts on specified topics through blogging discussion forums with the intended learning goal being the realization that everyone is entitled to their own point of view – whilst also learning that occasionally you may have to defend what you believe in.  The use of blogs in facilitating this ‘discussion forum’ has allowed students to make learning connections and, as noted by the National Council of Teachers of English, “build relationships with others to pose and solve problems collaboratively and cross-culturally” (as cited by Richardson, 2010, p. 32).  Blogging activities have allowed my students the opportunity to develop ideas, gather and share feedback, reflect on material, synthesize information, and ultimately present new ideas to an audience beyond the simple confines of the classroom.
Laureate Education, Inc. (Executive Producer). (2010). Technology and Society [Webcast]. Understanding the Impact of Technology on Education, Work, and Society. Baltimore, MD: Author. Retrieved November 6, 2011 from: http://sylvan.live.ecollege.com/ec/crs/default.learn?CourseID=6072032&Survey=1&47=8988338&ClientNodeID=984650&coursenav=1&bhcp=1

November, A. (2008). Expanding the Boundaries: Blogs, RSS, Podcasts, and Wikis. Web Literacy for Educators. p. 79-92. Thousand Oaks, CA: Corwin. Retrieved October 30, 2011 from: http://sylvan.live.ecollege.com/ec/courses/74759/CRS-CW-6072032/Artifacts/November_Ch6.pdf.

Richardson, W. (2010). Blogs, Wikis, Podcasts, and other Powerful Web Tools for Classrooms (3rd ed.). Thousand Oaks, CA: Corwin.


  1. I also teach third grade, although I am new to the blogging world so am interested in the innovative ways that you have used blogging successfully in your classroom. I am hopeful to be able to begin following your lead of using it in language arts skills along with digital media development. My students will benefit greatly from learning how to best incorporate the tools of my blog into their own technology experiences.

    Thanks for sharing!

  2. I exposed my elementary students to blogging when I started a blog earlier in the year. They read the postings as we discussed about the importance of parents participation in their children's education. They know what a blog is and how to post a comment on a blog page, but they have not participated before basically because of parents' apprehension about exposing children to the internet, and rightly so because of the hazards associated with its use. I have been working on parents to encourage them to allow their children make use of the internet with the promise that the site will be closely monitored for the children. The parents are better relaxed now and ready to cooperate with this our new innovation in education. I am excited about this and now ready to go a-blogging. I teach mathematics, my main challenge is building math games for my students, I will appreciate a tip from you seeing you have successfully used blogging in your classroom.


  3. I am so leary of setting up blogs with my students. Many parents are weary of letting their children do a blog, but yet they let them on Facebook and think nothing of it. What sort of roadblocks did you encounter with parents?

  4. Thank you all for comments and questions. In light of the comments received I figured I could consolidate them all into one response save a little keyboarding...

    @ Nicole - there is no doubt that since integrating blogging into my instruction my students have become more motivated and willing to openly participate in class "discussions". In terms of what my class and I have found most interesting/fun is the use of our blogs as a means of generating discussion forums. Using the blogs I post a central debate topic. After its posting everyone has 15 minutes to generate a well thought out response (length is not as important as quality - helps my slower typers). After this time everyone is free to review thier classmates' postings and begin making comments on those that interest them It is helpful to set a comment limit so that they are forced to give each response some thought - helps avoid the "I like that" or "You are wrong" type responses.

    @ Damilola and "Stampinhot" - your concerns about parent reactions are indeed justified. In setting up my program there was not a great deal of resistance on the part of parents, for the most part they were as equally excited as the kids. I found that if I kept the parent communication consistent I could proactively avoid a lot of the "what if" type questions and consequently any misinformation. When setting up the blogs before sure to select to have all comments reviewed by the administrator prior to posting as it allows you control over what appears in your students blogs. You can weed out any undesirable comments, for instance the 5 word replies - "I really like that too" or anything you might consider inappropriate. It will take a bit of effort and planning on your part but the extra step allows you to not only control content but also monitor particpation and level of thought being applied - you can physically see whose posting and what they are saying. Hope that helps...

  5. Hi Trevor,
    I find that blogging is an excellent tool for developing writing skills--for one, students are provided a more authentic audience for their work which can be motivating and encourage proofreading. But it also may facilitate perspective taking and awareness of different views. A rubric can help keep students focused an guide them on meeting expectations.

    Thanks for sharing.

  6. "Comments as submitted by Trevor"

    Trevor Henderson said...

    Hi Prof. Krauss,

    In using blogging activities with my class I have definitely found, as you noted, that the students are much more aware of the audience they are writing for and consequentially more focused on submitting their 'best' work. It took a bit of work to get them into the 'right' mindset in terms of focusing on quality versus quantity but once there they definitely enjoyed themselves. In terms of your rubric suggestion I found it was absolutely essential to utilize one with my students, as it provided an assessment framework and removed any potential areas of 'gray' in terms of what I expecting from students and their blogs.