Blogging improves writing standards. Fact. David Mitchell (@deputymitchell) was among the first to realise the potential that writing to a real world audience has for raising writing performance. After introducing school blogging at his school, SATs levels in writing shot from 9% Level 5 in July 2009 to 60% Level 5 in July 2010. Indeed, the DofE have gone as far as too publish research on the matter.
However, the power of school blogging does not end there. The versatility of blogging is of equal appeal and the fact that a whole multitude of content can be published means that using genuine audience and purpose to boost standards should not be limited to writing, rather it should be used to encourage the raising of standards across the whole curriculum. Indeed, the opportunity blogging provides for student reflection and self/peer assessment is completely cross-curricular and on our fantastic King’s School Blog Site superb examples of work and interactivity are starting to appear. I’d thought I’d share a few examples of the versatility of blogging with you:
Challenge Based Learning
CBL or PBL can take many different forms but using a blog to post the outcomes adds real value to student work. For this project, the students created interactive revision guides for other students to utilise as exam season approached. They created podcasts, popplets, revision notes and films about specific curriculum areas and then compiled them using the awesome ThingLink. The blog then proved the perfect place to share their work; providing an easy place for other students to access their work and help with revision. This is a good example of redefinition of learning using the SAMR model; computer technology allowing for new tasks that were previously inconceivable.
I’m new to teaching computing but have found that having a blog to publish content has proved motivational for students and great for reflections and feedback. Students have used blogs to publish Photoshop portfolios, GIFs, Scratch games, animations etc and have found the interactivity highly rewarding.
Using an easily embeddable podcasting App like Audioboo makes publishing audio content incredibly easily. As long as you have some headphones, students love listening to podcasts and commenting on them. It is also useful for students to listen to their own podcasts
Students love making films and they encourage creativity. Moreover, what is the point of making a film if you don’t have an audience for it? Filmmaking and blogging go hand in hand. The easiest way to put your film on a blog is to upload it via either Youtube or Vimeo. The main difference is that you can password protect your Vimeo films. It’s worth setting up a school account (links above) and make sure that all films produced are uploaded to the official account as the administrator can monitor and control comments etc. Once your video is uploaded, you can embed on your school blog and make your film available there. This also means viewers will not be distracted by other options on YouTube or Vimeo.
At King’s we have recently established a CPD blog. Teachers are now posting ideas, presentations, TeachMeet details, reflections etc. which is allowing other members of staff the opportunity to access what is going on across the school and beyond. It is very rare that we get to meet as a whole staff and therefore using a portal such as this to share good practice is yet another great use of a school blog.
The point of a making a presentation is having an audience to present it to. However, I am still amazed by the amount of students who are told to make a presentation (invariably on PowerPoint) and then it never makes it further than the school server. Really, what is the (power)point? Having a blog solves this problem! Presentations can be easily embedded and then actually presented or even simply shared with whomever one desires. Feedback on your presentation can then also be gathered form the whole entire planet!
Got a school club? Why not blog about it? Blogging provides the perfect platform to share whatever you are doing with a global audience whilst providing a platform for conversation, sharing ideas and reflection. Take for example our new school running club blog. By embedding the GPS mapping of each run, the interest of participating students has soared. They can see where they ran, how far they ran, how many calories they burnt etc. Additionally, by taking pictures and video footage whilst running it is easy to then embed short films of our activities!
In conclusion the versatility of blogging is endless. Whatever is going on in your school, there will be a way to blog about it. It makes learning fun and interactive and encourages conversation, feedback and reflection – all of which are invaluable life-skills. Tomorrow sees the dawn of the final half-term of 2013-14 (where did that year go?) and with the World Cup less than a fortnight away I am currently thinking of ways to combine the magic of our school blog to the wonder of the greatest show on Earth. The power of blogging is as limitless as the creativity of those that use it.