For students of the digital generation, blogging can be an authentic and dynamic way to build literacy and community. In many HTHMA classrooms, teachers and students maintain free blogs that are personalized to reflect their unique personalities. They use these blogs to post work, respond to each other’s ideas, and display media resources relevant to their class.
Blogs gives students the opportunity to seamlessly integrate video, audio or text evidence from the web into their writing; adding such evidence is only a few clicks away. As a result, students become more thoughtful about how they draw upon others’ work, and have developed more rigorous standards for what is “good” information in their own writing and on the web.
Blogging in my class has offered me a real-time connection with my students. We are all linked to each other’s blogs and we use software such as Google Reader to find out when someone creates a new post. This instant access gives me insight to their writing styles, their personalities, their likes and dislikes and the tragedies and successes of their daily lives.
Blogging also gives students a look into my world. I can share my thoughts on current events and what’s going on in my life. I can show students that I’ve traveled all over the world and that I’m a fan of the same computer games that they like. Topics like these don’t always come up in class. By opening up to the class on my blog, I’ve built closer relationships with my students.
Students’ responses to blogging have been overwhelmingly positive; they talk about enjoying writing, and feeling like their work has a real audience. They’ve also learned how to give each other supportive, useful feedback on their writing. One student recently admonished another for simply saying, “Nice post,” on a classmate’s recent submission, asking, “How do they know what was ‘nice’ unless you tell them specifically?” Indeed. Blogging is helping my students become not only better writers, but more constructive critics.
To learn more about blogging in the classroom, visit the HTH Digital Commons and
Randy Scherer’s and Charlotte Morisette’s digital portfolios at