Blogging – Is it useful in primary school classrooms?

Hello again..

When I was setting up this blog in class a couple of weeks ago I pondered the above question – Is blogging useful in the primary school classroom?

I can see its applications for educators; a way of communicating with other educators, sharing experiences and ideas. When I become a teacher I think that I will use blogging as a forum to do such things and I feel that young children could benefit from using this kind of system in the classroom but I think it would be difficult to implement. However I can see how it could be implemented in the classroom. A way for children to reflect on their learning while gaining skills in word processing and computer technologies. A great concept – if only it were easier to implement.

Children need to reflect on their learning, share their thoughts and have a voice in the classroom but there are much easier ways of achieving this. Teachers could supply children with notebooks in which they could record their learning during a project or just in general. Or instead of notebooks students could use a word document as a learning journal which integrates the reflection component of a blog and the wordprocessing skills as well. To create a blog more often than not an email account it needed and having student information on the web is a very sensitive issue and so having student blogs would take a great deal of planning and of cource computer expertise. Also some children do not have access to the internet at home so writing blogs could be limited to class time.

Overall I think blogs are great for teachers to communicate with other teachers and if they were to be used in the classroom they would be a great way for students to record their learning; something to add some variety rather than just writing all the time. But in saying so I do feel that there are other ways of achieving the same outcome. Blogging would be excellent for older children with more computer knowledge and skills but as a student teacher in Early Childhood Education I do not feel it would be appropriate for children in years K -3.

I would love to hear if people have seen blogging successfully implemented in Early Childhood classrooms because my opinion is not formed from any practical experience with classroom blogging.

Thanks for reading.

Sarah.

5 thoughts on “Blogging – Is it useful in primary school classrooms?

  1. I am a high school teacher, but I think some of these issues touch us all. I agree that it can be difficult to use these online tools with students that have limited computer skills, but that is also one of the reasons why I like blogging etc – because it builds those skills.

    Using public space on the web with students is a sensitive issue, but I have had no problems in classes where I establish good web rules early – no full names, addresses, real pictures or using the name of your school. Students can have a lot of fun drawing an image of themselves (digitally, or on paper then scanned) that can then be used as their online avatar.

    Ultimately, I don’t believe that blogs or any other online tools will/should replace paper notebooks, but they do add an exciting element to my classroom teaching. And using journals in Word or spreadsheets in Excel in semester one can be a great skill-building introduction before beginning with blogs and wikis etc. in semester 2.

    I’ve also found it useful to do a technology inventory/survey with students at the start of the year so I don’t make assumptions about who does/doesn’t have computer and internet access at home. Regardless of the answer, I still spend a bit of class time on the blogs to ensure a bit of equity, and to scaffold the activity.

  2. Hey, you raise some good points.

    I’m a high school teacher currently working in a P-12 college. Admittedly, I too sometimes find it hard to think of ways the youngest members of our school could use these tools. That leads me to be surprised everytime my colleagues show what their students are doing.

    We’re very lucky in my state, we have a department managed webspace limited to access by registered students and teachers – while that means our blogs/wikis/projects aren’t reaching a world wide audience, we are able to generate audiences from without our department across the state. So we don’t have to worry so much about the details on the net issue – that does not excuse us from discussing it and modelling appropriate behaviours for our students.

    Whatever year level you’re thinking about using blogs with you will need to scaffold and ensure that the activity is meaningful and relevant. For kindy students it might be as simple as a photo of something they’ve created and a short recording/or dictated explanation – a teacher aide/parent helper can help with that. Or a recount of an excursion/event. It’s a great way to showcase their work to parents/grandparents/family members.

    Blogs don’t have to be massive swaths of writing – sometimes I think people make that mistake when they think “blog.”

    I hope some of that is useful!

  3. Interesting topic.
    I agree with the above observations and practice. If we were starting with these principles with K-3, we’d have effective practice embedded by Year 7 and could move onto more sophisticated issues.
    I have 6 year old and 10 year old grandchildren, they would certainty benefit from a structured early introduction to blogging. They are so “techy” already.
    Elaine

  4. You raise some valid points Sarah. I don’t think that blogging is a replacement for pen and paper or other ways of learning or reflecting on learning.But I do believe there is a place for blogging in primary school classrooms.Here is an example of a Year 1 blogging activity: http://scs.une.edu.au/Web2/studentlearningexperience/nswstjosephslearningexp.htm

    In my experience, blogging, or the opportunity to blog, adds a dimension to an activity, caters for different learning styles and really excites the students.

    Hopefully you will be able to experience the use of blogs in a junior primary classroom during one of your pracs.

  5. Hello Sarah
    I teach kindergarten. I have a blog with a different purpose from many other blogs. Since my students are not yet up to writing, let alone keyboarding, I present a blog intended for parents and families. I see blogging as a tremendous way of increasing communication, both between myself and the parents, but also the students and their extended families and friends. My Clustermap shows me that the blog is shared with family and friends from all over.
    I add a newsletter with class pics just about every week. I add movies and film strips of these pics and special trips. When we studied hatching ducklings, I was able to capture the hatching on on and the students were huddled around the incubator. You can hear their interaction. Other events can be shared in this way. All parents have given permission to show their child’s pic on the webpage. They have given me tremendous feedback and often thank me for the detailed information. How many children go home and give a good retelling of their days in class?
    My newsletter (and blog) tells parents what is going on, how their children are learning, what they are learning, what they can do to reinforce and support the learning at home, and what the school expects.
    The most important thing for me is to increase communication between the students and their families. Language skills are critical skills in early childhood and all the pics I add contribute a lot to the dialogue in the home. The children can tell families about their friends, what they are doing in the pictures and they can explain our routines when I give them the language to use.
    So my recommendation for early childhood classes is to have teacher blogs that speak for the children.
    poulingail.edublogs.org

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