4 Principles, 4 Structures, And 8 Magic Tips For Educational Blogging

4 Principles, 4 Structures, And 8 Magic Tips For Educational Blogging
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Summary: Do you feel the bore when you talk about blogging or do your students feel so? You may in fact turn that bore into an ever-green learning experience that builds portfolios for your students. Here are the principles, the structures, and some magic tricks for effective educational blogging.

Educational Blogging: Principles, Structures, And Tips

Blogs have been increasingly used since 1990 and they have recently entered the world of education under various hats. However, not every innovation and disruptive technology, such as this, is intrinsically blueprinted to fit education in its first ascendancy, but rather with some labor and creativity it can be aligned to educational goals and make use of technological assets that would help and promote the learning journey. Here is a guide to effective educational blogging.

4 Principles Of Educational Blogging

In order to build a strong conceptual framework of a fruitful blogging experience for teachers and learners, it is necessary to cast light at some notions that blogging should be built upon:

1. Personalized Learning.

International Association for K12 online learning defines personalized learning as a notion that “recognizes that students engage in different ways and in different places. Students benefit from individually paced, targeted learning tasks that formatively assess existing skills and knowledge and that address the student’s needs and interests”(INACOL, 2016). Within that said, it is important to remind ourselves that learning can be interestingly instrumental for a successful educational blogging experience for learners in that it allows both students and teachers to interact with each other on an individual basis in terms of learning objectives. That is, a blog can serve as a beta lab for students’ works to be checked on an individual basis. It is the place where students can get feedback from their mentors.

2. Learning Is Omnipotent.

We learn from anyone, anywhere, and anytime where learning goes beyond the brick-and-mortar schools to jump even over the walls of the classroom and the borders of the country. How to capitalize on that and turn learning into an ever-green learning experience should be the focus of teachers, given the heavy reliance of the darlings on social media. This notion should be implemented in the strategy of the teacher to involve students in the production phase for the blogs by offering them beforehand a schedule of when they should probably post their articles to get more pageviews encouraging them to write about topics that they see with their eyes since it’s easy for them to build on them reminding them that everyone, everything, every moment and every place is: A teacher, a source of wisdom, time to learn, and a location to dig up for more knowledge. Doing that will let students tap into the potentials surrounding them and make them look at the world around them with analytical and synthetical eyes rather than with heuristic view.

3. Learners' Agency.

Learners are in the lead of their learning process by being actively engaged by their facilitators who integrate their skills and hobbies in the learning plan. Well implemented, the learning strategies and objectives should advance students independence and confidence in being in the driver’s seat on what they want to be. eLearning platforms may help teachers and students develop this trait.

4. Authentic Audience.

Real people who can read, listen, and comment to what learners are saying or writing about represent an important asset to the success of eLearning experience. Unlike the traditional learning environment that is characterized by a deliberate adaptation and a pre-defined audience, eLearning offers the opportunity to put students into a real-world scenario by letting them spread their voice to the large web and possibly gain feedback regarding their production be it written or spoken. It goes without saying that teachers should accompany them during this trip by introducing them to the notions of digital citizenship as well as privacy and how to proceed whenever a problem occurs. Blogging is an optimal hub and portal for students to address the wide audience of the web in form of articles, videos, infographics, e-portfolios and so on.

Structural Framework Of The Blogging Plan

It is preferably that teachers create 4 types of blogs:

1. Teachers' Blog.

Where they publish their own ideas and share them with students and other related actors such as parents, colleagues, and principals. The teacher is the sole author here since it is his/her own personal blog. This acts as a lobby where the teacher offers, discusses and raises matters related to the related parties.

2. Teachers' Group Blog.

Where teachers are assigned as authors so they can publish their idea and articles to the general public. This acts as  teachers’ incubator where they share their professional experience and seek help from their peers when necessary.

3. Class Blog.

That is only designed for the students of the class where they can publish and share their ideas with other members of the class. The class blog represents a portal for students as whole unique entity. It’s where students start building their authentic audience and e-portfolios as well as showcase them to their peers.

4. Students' Blog.

Where they can publish their own personal thoughts and ideas without necessarily referring it or reporting it to the teacher. Here, students may present their personalized learning plans, their agency, and start building up followers of their news and updates which will eventually widen their authentic audience.

Some Tips For First-Timers In Educational Blogging 

Students can be encouraged by their teachers who scaffold their writings or sharing experiences that will be available to the public. Here are some tips when doing that:

1. Online Safety Is A Must.

Before starting any blogging experience, it is important to give students some advice about measures to be taken in order to protect their privacy and sensitive information such as passwords. Also, to give them an escalation plan on how to deal with negative comments and critics since the authentic audience is like the wild: Nice people as well as bad people may show up with different aims and purposes. As a teacher, it’s your responsibility to stand by in case of bullying that students may encounter and intervene when necessary if students don't seem to know what to do.

2. Approve Student Participation Before Publishing Their Posts.

This may prove beneficial especially in the beginning since students may veer away from the standards.

3. Design A Friendly Acceptable Use Policy For Students.

This is necessary so they can refer to and adopt as a guiding map for their blogging experience. This may include model responses as well as sample constructive criticism.

4. Encourage Students To Peer Review.

This way, the quality of their contributions get higher and get more refined.

5. Offer Students Incentives.

Everyone teacher’s nightmare is students switching off after the hard work they’ve spent to design activities. To avoid this trouble, do your best to offer your students real and concrete incentives such extra grades, showcasing the best works, etc.

6. Help Students Design Their PLP.

PLP is the Personal Learning plan; this way, your students can compare their progress against milestones in their PLP.

7. Encourage Students To Write About What They Find Interesting Anywhere And Anytime.

This way, they can increase their competency and smoothness in writing.

8. Organize A Crash Course On How To Use "Blogger".

Or you can direct students to some tutorials and monitor their understanding of the basics of blogging such as uploading multimedia sources, drafting, adding tags, scheduling posts, and so on. This should not take more than one day of preparation else students will switch off and may lead them to think it's cumbersome.

Final Word

One important element that teachers have to be aware of is the fact that learning is not linear, but always needs test and control, and should be under a constant adaptation depending on the output produced by the activity proposed. Hence, you should set beforehand your key performance indicators (KPI) that you can measure against learning objectives so as to know what you’re going because if you don’t know where you’re heading, you’re likely to end up heading anywhere without any worries. Remember the student that you help now may be your future president.