Blogs for education? You must be kidding…
Blogs, or weblogs, have made their way into every corner of the Internet over the past decade. What once started out as something a very few people did actually know something about, has become very – very popular. Today, blogs are used by individuals, businesses, clubs, hobbyists and even educators. They are one of the easiest ways to put content up on the Internet for others to learn.
One of the fastest growing trends with blogs today is to use them to help with education. Teachers, professors and even parents are using the flexibility of convenience of the blog platform to help teach students of all ages a wide range of different skills. While it might not be obvious at first, blogs are an incredible educational resource.
Benefits of Blogging for Kids
Parents and teachers can use blogs to help teach their kids many different life skills. It is extremely simple to set up a child with their own personal blog on their own website, or to provide them with directory off of a main school or family site to be all their own. Once set up, parents and teachers can use blogs to provide their kids with the following great benefits:
- Writing – Learning how to write is an important skill, and blogging can help kids of all ages learn this important skill. This is actually proven – case study.
- Reading – Kids will want to read their own content, as well as that of their peers. In addition, they will have to read all the instructions on the blog pages in order to customize their blog to their liking.
- Typing – It is absolutely essential that children learn to type proficiently at a young age. Virtually all jobs will require them to type properly, and the earlier this skill is learned, the better.
- Technology – As children get older, they can learn how to interact with the blogging platform properly. Basic web design, plug-ins and even light coding is possible to learn via blogging.
Educational Benefits of Blogging for Adults
There are millions of adult students who are looking to learn new skills to better themselves. I’ve got some emails from students who would like to start blogging to improve their writing skills.
Whether a young college student or an adult going back for a degree, they can also benefit from using blogs as a learning tool. Professors can provide all their assignments through the blog interface, so everything is available in one convenient place.
When used properly, professors can incorporate the use of blogs into every subject to not only make it more convenient, but also more engaging and beneficial to the students. Classrooms that use blogging as an educational tool for adult students will enjoy the following important benefits:
- Dialogue & Discussion – The blogging platform lends itself very well to encouraging discussion on a wide range of topics. Using the built in comments area, students and professors can interact quickly and easily, sharing ideas and discussing the subject at hand.
- Online Research – Understanding how to perform academic research online is extremely important for students today. Using a blog for writing papers, doing assignments or just interacting with other students will encourage students to perform research online to help back up their case.
- Creativity – Blogging is a great platform for encouraging creative thinking. It is easy to incorporate images, videos, audio and other creative items into the written word.
- Working in Groups – Teamwork has never been easier than when using blogs in a group. It is possible to collaborate with other students on a blog, even if the students can’t get together in person.
- Ownership – Providing each student with their own educational blog will give them a greater sense of ownership than just asking them to submit individual assignments. They can go back and look at their work, and even share it with friends or family extremely easily.
In addition to these direct benefits, most students also love the fact that they can use this modern technology to help improve their education. Working with computers and the Internet has become a requirement for almost every type of job, so incorporating it into their education just makes sense. Students of all ages are realizing that they won’t be able to be successful without having a solid understanding of how to use modern technology, and blogging is the perfect tool to get that education.
Here’s the latest email I got from a university student:
I’m Joel, from Germany. I’m currently studying at university, but I thought I should start a blog to improve myself – become more creative and improve my writing skills. Should I start one? What do you think?
Obviously my answer was: YES! Do it!
Benefits of Blogging for Teachers
In addition to being a great help for students, blogging can also make the job of teaching much easier and more effective. Teachers and professors can use the blogging platform in many different ways to help improve organization so that assignments and other work is all easily found in one place. It is also a great way to improve communication and interaction with students both within the classroom and outside of it.
Providing students with a simple way to get in touch with the teacher or professor is extremely important and yes, e-mails are start to become a bit “oldschool”. Perhaps more importantly, the blogging platform will allow students to interact with each other, asking questions or providing advice. This can save the teachers a lot of work, since the students will become more self-sufficient. Of course, this is also a benefit to the students who are learning to work independently from the teachers, seeking guidance from their peers. Moodle is another option, but in my opinion blogs are way more simpler.
Teachers who have used blogging as a tool in the classroom have found that it helps to empower students to become successful. They aren’t just looking at each individual assignment as a standalone piece of work, but they can easily see how each item builds on the next. They can see how their learning something in the first week of class, for example, is setting the stage for what they will learn the following weeks.
In English, writing, literature, and creative classes, students can go back and look at their progression throughout the year. Students, parents and even teachers are often impressed at just how much progress they have made over the course of the year. Whether it is the writing style that they see improving, or the way they are formatting their blog, or even how they are incorporating advanced technologies into their blog page. When teachers use blogs in the classroom, they can provide many opportunities for success in their students, which is very beneficial to everyone involved.
Here’s a great video about blogs and education. It’s a bit old video, but really-really informative.
For further reading: Top 20 teacher blogs
Have you used blogs to improve yourself? Have your teachers used blogs? Feel free to express your opinions via blog comments below