“A blog is a frequently-updated personal online space (a type of web-page) where an author publishes a series of posts, engages others in discussion about her posts, and collects and shares resources. These posts are searchable by categories and archived sometimes over a long period of time, usually in reverse chronological order thus presenting the most recent work first” (Nardi, Schiano, & Gumbrecht, 2004).
Students typically display their thoughts by speaking, writing, or drawing. Blogs give students a platform to share their thoughts in these manners on a large platform. Others can comment and share their own thoughts, contributing to the discussion. Blogs also encourage research and digital skills. Blogs help to combine these skills within one task. Blogs can be journals that provide an opportunity for self-reflection.
“Blogging can be an avenue for participation aligned with this new mindset, and, as such, it can provide students with new forms of participation, new and broader learning resources and, therefore, a new form of engagement that offers the potential of unique learning opportunities.” (Lankshear & Knobel, 2006) Blogs cultivate social construction of knowledge by allowing students to research, reflect, and discuss with peers. Blogs are an interactive platform for a variety of topics. Blogs are easy and convenient and you are not losing the discussions and idea sharing that one would receive in the classroom, you are gaining another venue for such interactions.
There are many benefits to using blogs in the classroom for teaching and learning. Students enjoy blogging; it’s the latest and greatest. Providing students the opportunity to blog can motivate them to participate and reflect. Blogging gives students ownership of their thoughts and opinions by allowing them time to articulate their thoughts and express them in writing as opposed to quickly answering within the classroom without having time to digest material and process their response thoroughly. Blogs can also be followed by parents, allowing parents to stay abreast of what their child is learning in school.
A draw back to blogging is privacy, its accessible by the general public. Teachers must be aware of privacy settings to keep students safe. While blogging is great for discussions and sharing ideas, it could never replace face to face conversations.