This blog post features 4 benefits of students blogging and publishing online. The idea for this came after a classroom visit to Ms. Murray’s grade 7 English class. If you’re a teacher looking for a way to increase student feedback, encourage group collaboration, or boost student engagement, then publishing online is for you and your students!
4 Benefits of Publishing Online
In the past, students’ writing and finished products were often limited to the eyes of the teacher, parent or friend. By allowing her students to publish their work online, Ms. Murray’s grade 7 English students opened their work to a wider audience, resulting in an overall enhanced educational experience. From confidence boosting to harnessing writing, editing and revision skills, online publishing can be an excellent option for you and your students.
1. Motivates Students to do Better
When students know they will be held accountable for their work and their work is being shared with a wider audience than they are more likely to pay attention to the finest details and make sure they’re publishing their best work. As a result, editing and revisions become a top priority for the student before final publishing. It’s important to note here that students must be aware of and agree to publishing to an online platform. In Ms. Murray’s class, she was able to encourage students and give them incentive by simply giving them the option to publish to an online platform. These were some of the options she gave:
2. Increased Student Engagement
Seeing their first piece of work published online and watching the number of views grow can be very exciting for a student. This can instill a sense of self worth and an immediate boost in self confidence. In one case, a student in Ms. Murray’s class decided to submit their personal narritive, ” Computer Day”, to teenink.com to be considered for publication. This student was happy to hear their work was chosen to be published but the real excitement came when the views grew from 10 on the first day to an amazing 20,000 views before the week was over. Getting this many views is no easy task and we can’t really explain why this happened but it sure did create some excitement within the class. Some of the students were already planning their next piece of writing to submit.
Quick Tip: Start small with the student asfmtech.org student blogs. Have students publish on their blog first and get them to set up RSS feeds to each others blogs. An RSS feed will give easy access to classmates blog therefore allowing them to interact and comment on each others blog. Here is a quick video for your students on how to set up an RSS feed on thir blog.
3. Develop a Positive Digital Footprint
A digital footprint is the collection of all the traces you leave while you surf the web. Some of this information you actively volunteer – like Facebook, Twitter, Instagram or an Edublog post. Other information is passive where it records each click of the mouse like the cookies a site stores in your browser. By blogging and publishing online you are ‘actively’ adding to your digital footprint.
Over time, as students publish more and more online, they are creating a positive online presence and identity. Having this positive ‘virtual identity’ could prove to be very important considering you’re just a Google search away from potential employer or university registrar. “Think before you post” is always a good reminder but I prefer, “If you wouldn’t want your grandmother seeing or reading it then don’t post it!”
Quick Tip: Have your students Google themselves? What type of results come up? Even better, have students use Pipl to search more about themselves. This is a great web tool for users to search their digital trails.
4. Develop Literacy for Different Mediums
Blogging and publishing online is not limited to the art of written word. Platforms such as Edu Blogs (ASFM blogs) allow students to share their talents through different mediums. A student could chose to use a site like Soundcloud to record and share their true voice with a wide audience. They could use Youtube or presentation tools like Google Slides or Prezi to tell a story in a completely different way then written word. Hosting media rich content on blogs is made easy because anything with an embed code can be shared on their blog. This allows students to have options as they voice their talents while increasing their fluency in 21st century literacies.