The Internet has oftentimes gotten a bad rap with parents, as they are concerned with their child’s amount of online play and Internet usage. While it is agreeable that too much time spent online can be a bad thing, teachers can educate their students to use the Internet in a healthy manner to promote learning and personal growth. Through blogging, students can exercise and hone in on their writing, reading and critical thinking skills, and have a place to stimulate their creative potential.
It is practically impossible to keep students away from the Internet in today’s day and age. Moreover, the Internet provides children with a wealth of information, so it is better as educators to teach students early on how to use the Internet safely and effectively. Like teaching a child about “stranger danger” and not accepting candies from strangers, it is important for children to understand the do’s and don’ts to being online.
Then, when they understand online safety, find a blog site. Become familiar with this particular platform first so you can easily answer any questions your students may have and easily manage their online work. Have a step-by-step discussion on how the site works and how blogging works in general. Choose a blogging platform that will work well for your students, one that is simple and easy to understand – although no doubt your students can be quick to adapt to a more complicated program as well.
Emphasize responsibility. Set a time limit to their Internet usage to take care of their eyes – staring at a bright screen at a short distance can damage their eyesight. Encourage them to brainstorm ideas onto a piece of paper if necessary when they have been staring at the computer screen for too long.
Blogging is a wonderful way to promote independent learning and thinking. Students can practice their typing and spelling skills. They can be exposed to current event matters and form their own opinions on them, or in general, hone in on what interests them when it comes to writing. Students can also explore their artistic side when you allow them to experiment with fonts and colors for their blog. Blogging, which is essentially an online journal, is a highly creative process that spice up an average class day to keep students entertained and engaged in learning.
While exercising creativity is important, if your students need a little help with the direction of their blogs, then provide a purpose for them – what do you, as a teacher, want your students to get out of starting their blogs?
If you plan on having your students add pictures to their blogs and if they are getting the images from online, make sure these pictures are under the creative commons license– the license allows you to use other peoples’ photos, granted you follow the sharing rules of the owner.
Students can also opt to take their own pictures for their blog.
Get the parents in on the action when your class begins blogging – keep them in-the-know about their child’s progress with blogging.
Along with promoting self-growth, blogging provides students an opportunity to work closely with their peers – you can ask that each student comments and asks questions about their fellow peers’ works.
Students learn from one another by digesting different forms and styles of writing, giving students insight into their classmates’ personalities and into the human mind in general. Moreover, they can learn how to give and receive praise and constructive criticism and make connections, which can enhance their writing, critical thinking skills and their ability to express their thoughts effectively.
If you and your class are willing to branch out, you can even connect online with other classrooms throughout the world – this offers students the opportunity to learn about other cultures to promote understanding and tolerance. Moreover, worldwide connections are a great way for students to learn geography.
With proper education on the safety and etiquette involved, blogging can be a beneficial, connective, entertaining, engaging and educational experience for students and teachers alike.