HOW TO BLOG, or Okay, my students have blogs. Now what?




BLOGGING IS COMMENTING
The essence of blogging is commenting and having others comment on your comments. That is to say, blogging is commenting. In an educational setting, comments that have value meet two essential criteria:



A. the comment is authentically that of the person making it
B. the comment serves the discussion by contributing new content or questioning or clarifying previous comments.

STUDENT COMMENTS ARE ON A CONTINUUM
Students essentially  make comments before, during, and after the introduction of a stimulus. The stimulus might be a mathematical equation or a modern short story. Regardless, there is always an opportunity along the continuum for students to make comments. Blogging (commenting online) should be availed of the same opportunities.

BLOGGING BEFORE
Blogging before explicit instruction serves two crucial purposes:
A. Activates prior knowledge.
B. Engages students to the task.

BLOGGING DURING
Blogging during a lesson serves two crucial purposes:
A. Activates metacognition.
B. We remember what we think about (see Willingham).

BLOGGING AFTER
Blogging after a lesson serves two crucial purposes:
A. Creates environment for clarification.
B. Reinforces content.

All three phases have a key strength: blogging is naturally multi-modal; students engage visually, aurally, and kinesthetically with the material.

What should students be blogging about? About the material. Specifically, student bloggers should be:

  • asking questions about the material
  • making conclusions about the material
  • discovering connections between other topics and the material
  • creating visual, video, and audio representations of their thoughts
  • finding and listing sources where there is more specific information on the topic or related topics (hyperlinking)
  • editorializing about the material

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