By: Kristen Hicks
This post first appeared on Edcetera.com on December 13, 2013.
As technological tools like blogs and social media take on increasing importance in the business world, students have more reason than ever to learn some of the basics in using them before finishing college.
Helping students with their future professional prospects should be a pretty strong argument in favor of bringing blogging into the classroom, but blogging offers a number of added benefits to the learning process.
1. Blogging increases student interaction with course materials.
When you assign reading or viewing materials for students, you can hope they all take the time to review them and think carefully about them before class. Or you can give them blogging assignments that require a certain amount of thought and interaction with the material before class.
A student who has to take the time to write a blog post, for the professor and all the other students to see, will have more incentive to really take the time to approach the material thoughtfully. Even the act of reading another student’s blog post and responding with a thoughtful comment will require a greater investment in the material in advance of class.
As a professor, you have an idea of what the students are thinking before they get to class and the assurance that they have been thinking about the material. That information can help you lead a stronger classroom discussion, one that you know students will take interest in since they helped influence its focus.
2. Blogging increases student opportunities to interact with each other.
By requiring a certain amount of student participation in the blog comments, you’ll encourage students to interact more with each other. Giving students access to other students’ thoughts on an assignment will show them new perspectives and ways of interpreting the material, ensuring that they’ll come to class with a deeper understanding of it.
Additionally, by monitoring how students talk to each other online, you may have the opportunity to help them learn better online comportment —an important lesson in the Internet age. Students who leave school with a better grasp of how to present themselves and communicate with others online in a way that’s thoughtful and respectful will help avoid some of the problems and embarrassments many young people experience in the work world today.
3. Blogging gives students an extra touch point for interaction with the professor.
This benefit goes both ways. You get to see more of what they’re thinking and how they communicate it, and they get more opportunities for feedback from you. You can get an idea of the questions and issues they have in mind before coming to class, and respond to any confusion they express in advance.
You can always add posts or comments to the blog yourself to create further discussion in between class times. If a student post gets you thinking about a related issue, you can get students thinking about it before the next class with a blog post.
Student blogging is a powerful tool for enabling new forms of communication and interaction between all the members of your classroom community. But that’s not all—there are so many benefits to using a blog as a learning tool that we had to split this post in two. Check back soon for part two!