One of the biggest advantages of student blogging is “it provides an authentic audience for students”
While we agree with that statement 100% – it does come with a caveat. If no one ever looks at the blogs, then there really isn’t an authentic audience. So in today’s episode of Easy classroom blogging, we are going to address the question “How to ensure an audience?”
The principal is straightforward. Share your student’s blogs with the largest audience that your school, district or parents will allow. This is often referred to as ‘fully open” blogging, and is the gold star of classroom blogging. Are there safety implications? Yes, there are – fully open does NOT mean the kids are wandering the world wide web without your oversight – fully open still means fully monitored!
OK, so if the blogs are open, does that mean your students will get visitors and comments? Um, no, it doesn’t. There are so many blogs out there, and so much content on the web, getting visitors is never guaranteed. You’re going to need to be more proactive than that.
And here’s how.
Number 1 – parents make the most loyal blog viewers. Make sure they are subscribed to their child’s blog so they receive an email notification with every post. With Easyblog.org that is super easy, but you can do the same with any blogging service. Grandparents also make EXCELLENT blog viewers and commenters.
Number 2 – classmates. Give students time to visit each other blogs. Some teachers do this daily, some weekly. Some set aside time during the day and others have it as home learning. No matter how you organize it, believe that it is highly valuable and in NO way is it a time filler! Think how powerful that can be and what they can learn from each other.
Number 3 are what I call blog buddies. Find another class that is blogging,- it doesn’t matter if they are in your school or country or not – and match up your students as “blog buddies”. I have done this both with classes of the same grade level, and one year below or above. Once every two weeks we would give our classes 20 minutes to visit and comment on their “blog buddies” blog. It was very successful and the students really enjoyed it. Think of it as 21C penpals. Except instead of letters, they are reading blogs.
Number 4 – School mates. If your whole school is blogging, let your students visit blogs from other grade level and encourage other classes to visit you back.
Finally and perhaps a great starting point, share posts with the class on a projector. “Post of the day” can be a great morning routine, an excellent way to establish exemplars AND give kudos and encouragement to your young bloggers.