The Benefits of Student Blogging
Have you ever wanted to know what is happening on a day to day basis at NASA? By visiting their blog, you’ll have a frequent update on events from the International Space Station. NASA, like many organizations today, maintains a blog to provide information and knowledge to the general public. Most newspapers today are also online, offering a comments section at the bottom of each article posted to encourage worldwide discussion.
From as early on as high school, a regular part of today’s curriculum is an assigned weekly blog post. This is not just because computers have taken a bigger role in the classroom, but because blogging has proven to have significant educational benefits, specifically towards promoting critical thinking.
Blogging gives you the benefit of reflecting upon ideas, whether your own or someone else’s. The option of commenting in blogs allows for the expansion of critical thought and the development of multiple ideas on a topic. A blog is often an opinion piece, and having students write a blog every week and receive feedback from others has proven to be an effective method to develop critical thinking skills. By arguing opinions and thoughts, students can gain an understanding of a subject from multiple points of view.
A Voice for Everyone
It’s hard to get a word in when your classroom is a lecture hall of three hundred students. Even if you could manage to get the professor’s attention, not everyone is comfortable joining in on critical discussions in class. For this reason, blogging is a wonderful platform for the more reserved students who also have good ideas to share.
Become a Better Writer
Blogging will improve your writing, no questions asked. Essay writing doesn’t come naturally to everyone, and nobody is born knowing how to write an essay. Writing is a skill, and skills must be practiced to improve. Allowing students to freely form their own arguments in a blog gives practice with how to structure formal school work. Practicing writing every week on a blog will positively make your formal writing flow easier from your fingertips.
Blogs for Students
Many schools use Moodle, a website for submitting schoolwork and establishing forum discussions. While Moodle is sufficient, there are better blogging platforms for schools, such as Blogger and WordPress, both of which have an easy user interface and an accessible archive of past work. The capability to archive work is excellent for students to go back and pick up on previous ideas, for use in an essay.
Good Workplace Practice
Improving your writing skills, grammar and syntax is relevant not only for schoolwork. Most workplaces these days coordinate via email, so maintaining an appropriate written voice can be good practice for future employment.
Having a prominent and easily linkable online presence can be important for being hired at certain jobs. Blogging is an opportunity to put all your best work into one area for future employers to review.
Benefits for the Teachers
All students will agree that office hours are sometimes wildly inconvenient. Sometimes they may be scheduled during one of your classes and other times it’s difficult to get to campus on your day off just for a simple question, or to hand in an assignment. It is easy for teachers and students to communicate on a blog and there is no need to try and coordinate meeting times. A blog is also a way for teachers to quickly give feedback on student’s written work, or to aid them in the essay writing process.
While educational blogging seems to be a now standard method of teaching, there are also benefits to students running their own personal blogs on websites such as the previous mentioned WordPress, or more casual websites like Tumblr. Education goes hand in hand with creativity, and it is healthy to have somewhere to freely express yourself in a non-academic setting. Hobbies, artwork, personal writing and sharing ideas with others outside of school are all activities which shape a positive and rounded student, and which can flourish through a blog of your own.