In today’s rapidly changing world, where technology is “speeding up” the way we do things in all aspects of our lives, it is important to remember a few simple tips to help elementary students and teachers enjoy all the benefits of blogging…
1. Keep it simple. It’s so easy to take a look at the site of an experienced blogger and say “I want that!” The problem is that once we dive in with a head full of grandiose expectations, we quickly learn that it can take a lot more time and skill than we have. If you’re going to be blogging with students, don’t try and take on too much the first time. If you can get a post up and have students post comments that’s great.
2. Focus. Always ask yourself, “Why am I doing this and how is it going to benefit my students?” Face it, there are a lot of blogs out there that have been created purely for the sake of it. Make sure your blog is meaningful. Figuring out what to post and how often to post will help in a blog’s effectiveness. Also figure out how the students can use the blog. Do you want them to just read it? Do you want them to post comments or even post their own entries?
3. Lower Expectations. Ok, it doesn’t sound good, but it’s actually a really practical approach to first-time blogging with kids… It’s so easy to set off on a project with a certain vision and end up with something completely different. The challenge is to focus on what did work and use that as motivation to try again. If I have a goal of students all posting great, thoughtful, comments on the blog and all I get are 1-liners, I should embrace the fact that most of my kids at least were able to post comments! Then I can refocus and figure out what to do so that their next post comes closer to my original goal.
4. Embrace the unexpected. Technology integration as a whole is a challenging topic. Things go wrong all the time. It’s how we deal with the glitches that can affect what students learn. Take advantage of your initial blogging misadventures and find the “teachable moments”! Or… maybe you will be surprise to learn that one of your students has a blog… maybe he/she should do the teaching!
5. Try again. I have seen too many folks attend a technology training, try one time, get confused and quit. Don’t. Keep at it. The more you play and tinker with your blog the easier it will get. You’ll eventually settle into a routine that fits both you and your students. By allowing your blog to grow organically you will end up with something that is probably even better than what you set out to create in the first place!
This post has been written on “5 most important tips for educators starting out blogging with students” as part of The Edublogger’s Competition!