Blogging in Schooling – The Extended Classroom
Blogs allows student to connect with world outside the classroom and school in an “interactive and interesting” fashion. The students can share their work with the real audience, though ironically, through this virtual world.
Blogging is a transformation process in school education and changing the way technology is being used in education in general.
Blogging is a transformation process in school education and changing the way technology is being used in education in general. Click To Tweet
Before making blogging an extended classroom, the leaders of school should invite and involve all the stakeholders from teacher’s students to parents to set the right expectations. It is a collaborative learning place and used properly enables steady improvement and significant progress over time. Patience much like the real world is a virtue in using blogging as a tool for enriching learning and teaching beyond the classroom. The walls of classroom cannot be any more opaque and restrict the learning of students to the four walls of the classroom.
In 21st century learning and teaching the walls have to be transparent and the walls need to be virtual boundaries and the class has to be connected. It is an interconnected world and the knowledge is acquired through collaborative learning. Blogging is not a digital extension of school like the school’s website but it a highly “productive and powerful” tool to augment “learning and teaching”. It is no more about the art of learning and teaching but the craft of knowing how to use and how make technology useful in enhancing the art.
Teaching and learning is no more confined to the four walls of classroom and in fact world has become the stage to learn and to take it to the world we need the help of technology and not just technology but appropriate technology.
Every student in school should have a blog. The blog is the virtual place where the student can store ideas, it becomes their digital storehouse…the ideas that keep coming and keep going out of their mind. Their mind is a self generator of ideas but lacks the storage capacity to constantly capture and store and keep restoring. The blog where the student can create its own content, share the content and connect with the classmates. There is more learning in sharing knowledge than hoarding knowledge. Blogging is synonym with sharing. Student blog brings that new dimension and fresh perspectives into the learning process in the class.
“It is the dimension of sharing.”
“It is the dimension of collaboration.”
The other important dimension is that of building the community. The communities for students are the classmates.
Student blog is like a student tree wherein you can see the student plant a seed of idea through blogging and as teacher can see the student seed grow into a student plant. The writing skill of the student keeps on improving and student personality undergoes a positive transformation, significantly develops with the rendezvous with the blogging platform and the teacher can hear a distinct voice and see a different face of the student, the hidden brighter side of the student, there is a parallel process that goes on with the student’s engagement with blogging. Each blog has its own uniqueness and that is a reflection of the student’s interest, hobby, knowledge and ability to “search and research” on any topic and ability to communicate effectively and connect engagingly.
The teacher can see the patterns in the student blogging and the patterns present fascinating display of the student creativity.
Creativity is not always about creating totally a new thing; it is about seeing the same thing in different colour,shades and from different angles and with different light.
Creativity is not always about creating totally a new thing; it is about seeing the same thing in different colour,shades and from different angles and with different light. Click To Tweet
It is a change in view-point and change in the course path. Wearing multiple hats of that of a photographer to that of a painter to that of actor to that of a singer and we need not have to be an expert or experienced in that skill, just by engaging with different things and enabling mind to dabble with unrelated stuff we tune our mind to ignite the engine of creativity.
The various patterns could be as follows;
- Short Stories
- Series of Poetry
- Fairytales & Fables
- Photos & Photography
- Food & Cooking
- Travel and Places
- Books & Writing
- Ideas & Creativity
- Art & Crafts
Student blog has so many facets. The mandatory writing process automatically improvise the writing skill. The mandatory writing schedule for publishing blog posts forces the student to think and think critically to the keep churning new ideas and keep building new concepts. The student blog acts as a technological aid to enhance their spectrum of skills from writing to thinking to collaborating to communicating to creating.
Every teacher in school should have a blog. The place where teacher can keep creating different concepts and keep experimenting with newer ideas and keep engaging with students and fellow teachers. The learning is in creation and experimentation.
The learning and teaching are not restricted to the four walls of the classroom and only with students of the class.
The conventional mode of delivery and interaction in classroom has the limitation, it doesn’t go beyond a point, and it doesn’t allow a space where peer learning can be effectively fostered. The teacher can learn from fellow teachers and teacher can learn from students. Learning has become collaborative. Peer group learning between students to teacher learning between teachers, just not within the class or the school, it has gone beyond the physical boundaries and the virtual space has made it irrelevant.
Truly speaking the world is the stage and learning has become global and it is the teacher who has to bring that global dimension to learning through power of connection, collaboration and conversation with fellow bloggers of the same class independent of its geographical location.
Before the student can start their own blog, need to that the teacher starts her/his blog and show the intrinsic power of blogging and by making the student’s part of teacher blog. The teacher starts the engagement by asking the students to read the post published by her. Having a discussion in the class about the post and asking the students to comment on the teacher’s post and bringing those online interactions through commenting into the classroom discussion. Interaction is a critical part of learning.
Blogging makes interactions integral to the teaching and learning process. Making the student familiar with the blogging environment and getting them a feel of the space and the sense of the power of getting online connected and commenting with the teacher and fellow students online and not offline face to face interaction which they have done everyday and this becomes a different engagement and this provides a new experience in their mode of communication, it is written online communication.
Technology is there to stay and playing a significant role in changing the way teacher teaches and the student learns.
The learning by teacher takes place outside the classroom and learning by teachers take place using the technology. Blogging takes teaching and learning process to a reasonably higher level of engagement and beyond the boundaries. In the conventional mode, teaching was limited to the classroom and learning was confined to the books. The convention is broken with the rapid invasion of information technology in education. Blogging is collaboration and making teaching and learning a part of bigger community.
The important aspect of blogging is community. Blogging has no standing without the support of the community. The community is built over time, the way we have our circle in the real world as the circle of friends, the circle of neighborer, the circle of colleagues and the circle of classmates. The community in the virtual world has the “circle of bloggers”, the inhabitants of the blogosphere. For teachers, the immediate community is class students and the next set of community members are the fellow teachers.
A class blog is a good starting point to teach the basics of blogging by the teacher as the moderator. The teacher can create the blog and posts articles and share the posts in the online blogging community and show the students how to write, post and engaging in a conversation. Gradually building the general awareness on blogging platform and making them understand the various features and functionalities. As the student prove the responsibility and appreciation of the platform, giving them the initial license to post their article under control supervision and then allowing them the full freedom to express and engage.
Each class shall have their own blog and the class teacher becomes the moderator of the class blog. There are various aspects that need to be looked into before setting the class blog. Though there are not set rules which should confine the process of setting the class blog but at the same time there are certain guidelines that one should align to make the process simple and the outcome strong.
Firstly, setting the goal of a class blog and the various goals could be as follows;
- To increase the degree of collaboration.
- To increase the depth of participation.
- To encourage healthy competition.
- To create an environment of engagement.
- To enhance effective the use of technology.
- To make them aware of digital citizenship.
- To show case the writing talent of the class.
- To publish the creative work of the class.
- To build a digital knowledge repository.
- To connect the class to other classes.
Secondly, the class needs to develop a plan on the topic that the class needs to cover and the technology that needs to be used to meet those objectives…
Thirdly, there need to be detailed plan of action on how much to blog and when to blog and who all to check the progress and the outcome of class blogging…
The student and teacher blog should add up to building and feeding the class blog, the best student post can get published in the class blog and the teacher can share their selected post in the class blog.
Every school should have their own school blog and the blog gets linked to their school website. This blog becomes public where people from outside the school can see and comment. The community is extended beyond the school boundary and members of school. It goes to students and teachers and parents outside the school community to take part and converse with the members of the school, the extended community of experts like scientists, artists, writers to educationist to sportsman.
The protocol for school blog should be as follows;
- The aims to be achieved
- The theme of the school blog
- The topic to be covered
- The technology to be used
- The roles to be played
- The monitoring to be done
- The measures to be taken
- The metric to be followed
- The outcomes to be evaluated
- The branding to be done
The school becomes the public face of the class blogs, teacher blogs and student blogs. The various posts of these blogs become the feeder for the school blog. The school team to screen, select and publish the posts that aligns and meets the overall guidance of the school blog, it is to be checked both for alignment and the quality of post meets the expectation set for the school blog. The team to constantly watch the school blog content, the comments in the post and the community around the blog. This indicators needs to be checked and compared with the set goals and goals for the school blog.
To unlock the real potential of “blogging in schooling”, it is important to build the awareness and convince the stakeholders of education ecosystem to have a better understanding and appreciation of the role of blogging in education.
To unlock the real potential of “blogging in schooling”, it is important to build the awareness and convince the stakeholders of education ecosystem to have a better understanding and appreciation of the role of blogging in education. Click To Tweet
This needs continuous reflection and constant assessment of the utility of the “blogging tool” and that is best done through meaningful engagement with the different school users by doing periodical surveys and proper polls.
Blogging isn’t about just writing but it is much more and it is about sharing our learning and reflecting on what we have learnt. Blog becomes a common hub to connect and share the learning and learn through interaction from the global audience.