I’m becoming a real believer of digital media in the classroom. The benefits seem to outweight the negatives so greatly that it would seem neglegent not to bring media in to your classroom. I have defended Twitter’s use in the classroom, and today I feel led to talk about blogging.
Among the many reasons to have your students blog, the one most important to me is to improve writing skills. As we have been discussing in class, students are frequent online writers. They instant message, they write about themselves on Facebook, and they post discussions on various fan/special interest sites. They are already familiar with blogging, they just don’t know it yet. When they are assigned a blog, they will be given the chance to use skills they have already mastered (online communication) to explain their thoughts and opinions. Many people, myself included, believe themselves to communicate more effectively on paper than in person. This generation of digital natives have cell phones used exclusively for text messaging. Phone calls are rarely made. They have confidence in their online selves, and will therefore be more willing to participate in online writing. Plus, instead of being seen only by their teacher, a blog, if the teacher chooses, can be available for public consumption. This fact alone may prompt a child to produce better writing. Perhaps they don’t care about impressing the frumpy old bat that lectures them on Medieval culture, but they will be concerned with impressing their peers, both classmates and worldwide.
Di Zhang writes in “The Application of Blog in English Writing” that blogs facilitate students’ critical thinking skills, provide examples for students to model and learn, positively affect students’ quality of writing, faciliate meaningful learning for students, and give students a purpose for writing. I can’t really think of any more that an educator could ask for.
I think it would be an excellend idea to ban those marbled journal notebooks from English classrooms forever and replace them with blogs. My classmate Pam, whose blog can be found here, discusses this idea herself. How cool would it be to discover how students react differently to writing about novels and poems online than they do in paper journals? I suspect we’ll be amazed.
This could be revolutionary.