Teachers Who Blog Engage Students on a Higher Level
As part of the Science at Sea experience, I talked about the many benefit of teachers who blog as part of their classroom experience. At one end of the spectrum you have teachers who are using their school sponsored blogs as a way to effectively communicate with parents or to share classroom assignments with students. On the other end you have very teachers who have found ways to use their blog as a catalyst to get their students (and parents) engaged in the learning process outside of classroom time.
Lisa Heaton uses her blog (www.lisaheaton.com) during her integrated unit on rocketry and literature as her 5th grade GT students read Rocket Boys by Homer Hickham. Lisa found that her students write almost twice as much when they are blogging versus using conventional writing practices. By their very nature, blogs are an interactive forum that encourage students to become engaged in the thoughts and ideas presented by other students in their class. Instead of students merely “pushing” ideas to a teacher to grade, blog posts become a great way for students to agree, disagree or come up with a new idea based on a collaborative learning environment.
You have to check out the Learning in Alaska blog by Colleen Dominguez and Beth Lynch, two phenomenal 5th grade teachers from Houston, Texas who attended Science at Sea. After returning home, Colleen and Beth set-up this website last week and started to share their daily experiences from the cruise through Alaska. Their goal is to have a good foundation established before their students return from summer break. As they share more and more of their experiences with the students, these teachers plan to use the website as a forum to discuss the ecology of Alaska and the best way to conserve our valuable resources.
Do teacher blogs really serve as a catalyst to get students to think more critically, challenge conventional views, bounce around new ideas and debate issues? This anecdotal evidence suggests a positive answer to all of these questions, but what is your experience? Go ahead… get engaged.
ABSOLUTELY true! Blogging teachers are teachers in touch.
I’ve been using blogs in my classes at the college level for over 3 years. I get 100% participation and much more interaction and engagement than I did when just doing classroom discussions. I recommend these highly.
As a regular blogger with students and parents, I’d have to say that it has transformed the way I share information with parents. It truly keeps them informed on what’s happening in our class. Parents often read our blog and will even respond with interesting perspectives and sometimes provocative questions. Students LOVE blogging. I believe it ratchets up the bar when students see and read their peers comments. It evokes a higher level of response and depth of thinking. My students often wrote more, with fewer errors, knowing their classmates were reading their work and potentially people anywhere in the world. We had the author of our book study get involved in our blog-NOW that was amazing!
Thank you for this entry. As a beginning blogger, I am still trying to determine the best way to use this tool in my classroom. More stories like this would be very helpful.
Thanks for the article. I LOVE my class/teacher blog. It helps me stay organized and is the easiest way (I think) to post content for tke kids to access after class. The kids think I am much more tech savvy than I really am because of my blog! LOL
I have just started a science website that displays science related videos by category and lists science resources. There is some very good stuff on this website and I will link to this for sure.
I just started a couple of blogs for my tutoring students and their parents for exactly that reason. Give me a chance to share information in a different setting. EB
I love the idea of people in in education rolls having their own blogs. Students can learn and mentor them while on their mobile devices anywhere. Blogging is a great way for students to express themselves through the comments they leave.