Blogs are good project tools in class. They turn the learners into content producers, convey learning material in a sustainable manner, and also bring a portion of media skills
Accompanying a series of lessons with a blog is useful from a didactic point of view and not that difficult at all. Blogs are suitable as a daily learning diary, for the publication of work results, and for the documentation of processes and procedures in the project. As a tool that opens up creative digital spaces for students, it requires careful handling in many places. If this is discussed and reflected on together with the learning group, practical media competence training takes place. My first project was kissanime and I made some mistakes at that time which I don’t want you guys to do. What should be considered when integrating blogs into teaching projects and how can such a project be implemented? A recommendation in five steps.
Step 1 – What are the basic requirements for blogging in class?
In addition to the desire to tackle topics and questions with digital tools (text, audio, video) and publish them on the Internet, the only minimum technical requirement is a functioning Internet workstation in the classroom – ideally one for each participant. For teachers who are working with a blog for the first time, it is primarily about their own openness and curiosity to include new ways of working in their lessons and not so much about conveying complex technological relationships. Assume that your students are just as familiar with posting and communicating on the Internet as they are with most of the specific work steps in the backend, i.e. in the administrator area, which is necessary before a blog post can be published. What you, as a learning companion, need for this journey into the internet is a system of possibilities, some technical knowledge, and an agenda to deal with the stumbling blocks of the internet world appropriately.
Like every new method tool, blogging in class means a certain amount of time, especially when it comes to familiarization. Compared to other project preparations, however, this creates a tool that saves work and time in the long term: the learners write digitally in an editorial system, i.e. H. Feedback and viewing can take place regardless of location and directly after the creation of the posts. Texts can be duplicated and transferred to other formats, such as posters and readers, in a complex process. In addition, a blog can also be used as a learning diary, making the accompaniment of learning processes more transparent and assessable afterward.
Step 2 – Which of my teaching projects does a blog fit into?
Basically, a blog can be used as an accompanying teaching method for any subject and any topic. Think about the occasion, with which learning group, on which teaching topic, and at what point in the school year you would like to use a blog to accompany the class. Make it clear to yourself what you want to achieve through this media expansion of your lessons: Is it about trying out digital writing and publishing once or would you like to create a platform on which students from different learning groups may present their work processes and results in detail and document? Are a teaching topic and its lighting the focus from different aspects – for example, a literary work or a socio-political issue – or is there another school event for which a diary should be kept online? Also think of school trips, student exchange programs, or other external project plans such as an internship.
Step 3 – How much time do I need for a blog project in class?
Take enough time to blog in class. Plan with a series of lessons or a project of at least five units. Oftentimes, a learning group does not start to post eagerly and independently until after a few weeks – when the technical questions have been clarified, fears of contact have been overcome and enough material has come together. Only a growing blog is an interesting blog and yet: don’t be afraid of lulls. A blog naturally has a small readership and unfolds its educational effect in the school context even without looking at the number of readers and followers.
A blog can be built into a series of lessons as a one-off additional module or it can become an integral part of a subject-based lesson over the years. Think about whether long-term use of your blog is an option, for example as a work and documentation platform for different learning groups on a recurring topic or subject. The title and domain (web address) under which the blog is set up depending on this (read more about this under step 7). But also the page navigation and the division into different areas can make sense from the start.
Make it clear to yourself how much time you can and want to invest in such a project. But also think of those work areas that are easier to organize with such a tool. For example, the possibility of decentralized advancing the same thing as a group. Perhaps tasks that have taken up a lot of space in your conventional lesson design will be eliminated?
Step 4 – Collaborations: Who do I plan and design the blog with?
A blog thrives on the amount and variety of its posts. Think about teaming up with a colleague who teaches in the same subject or is interested in an interdisciplinary project. Perhaps you can win someone from your staff who likes to produce radio reports and thus give your study group the opportunity to work on podcasts and audios in addition to purely text-based blogging. Or you can invite the video group at your school for a shorter unit to try a video contribution. Many independent organizations offer accompanying media workshops in class.
Step 5 – blog!
Now you can start! Bring your blog into the classroom over and over again. Even if everything does not go smoothly at the beginning, experience shows that the blogging tool is best explored through practical tasks. Stay calm. A contribution is only online by clicking the “Publish” button and can be deleted again with a click of the mouse.
You and the group benefit from previewing posts, collaborative feedback, and review loops. But at the same time, have the courage to send blog posts on your journey that may still be a little removed from perfection.
Solve challenges together and in the process. Judging by the naturalness with which children and young people now use computers, smartphones, and apps to navigate the Internet, this seems to be the appropriate way for modern learning partnerships in digital spaces.
Your responsibility is to identify stumbling blocks on the subject of data protection, the right to your own picture or the use of third-party works such as music and photo material and to bring the group into an exchange on the areas of the tension of digital publishing, i.e. them with practical expertise on certain network topics to supply and to show alternatives.
And then? Tell the world!
A blog is all the more interesting and effective as an appreciation tool if it is read if there is a link to it and if it is talked about – for example on the school website or in the social networks of the contributors. So why not start a small campaign to make the blog better known? Why not celebrate the end of the project with a presentation for the school public, parents, teachers, classmates, and interested parties?
Realize a good school project and talk about it!