That was the comment one of our history teachers relayed to me from one of her students after she introduced blogging to them.
Yes, we've been trying to get the students to blog, to share their thoughts online. For good reasons, I believe. But the student's concern is valid. If no one reads the blog or comments, why bother? In this teacher's case, the blogs are political, and the students would benefit from having others participate.
Yet, my colleague Jennifer uses blogs for different purposes–one is to create a year-long record of a student's thoughts about what he or she has read. I use blogs for sharing within a class, to extend our classroom conversations. But at this point, I'm not sure I want "outsiders" commenting on my ninth-graders blogs. Both reasons are valid, yet I have heard others argue absolutes: blogs should never be used in a closed environment or without the ability to comment.
So how do we create community and audience for beginning bloggers? I'm not the first to talk about this. And I don't necessarily have any innovative ideas.
In both cases above, students within a class are able to read and discuss each others ideas. I do know that if we treat the blog like homework that gets turned in
and checked off in the gradebook, where only the teacher sees it, then
students probably won't see any value.
What makes a class blog a success? Any ideas? And what about students who express real discomfort with having to put their ideas out there?