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?
Chris Davidson says
In my opinion what you are trying to do is create online blogs and then encourage/require other classmates to post comments and read others blogs and listen to their ideas. To think that other (random or not) people are going to read what you post on your blog is something that will probably not happen much. But you should always be aware that you have posted it online and that anyone can read it if they want to. Blogs used in school are different than their purpose to the rest of the online world. In school you are really using them just to share ideas with classmates and I would like to hope that students read what other students write. I think it would be AMAZING if you connected with other schools and you read their blogs and they read your blog and discussed them in the classroom and commented on them. That would be truly amazing and great use of spreading knowledge and ideas over the internet.
david t says
Just because no one comments does not necessarily mean no one is reading, right? Do you have site meters on the blogs? That’s where satisfaction can be had by the blogger to know that their work/opinions are being read and appreciated. Blogs are expressions of self so they need recognition in any way possible.
As the history teacher that presented the problem it is crazy and wonderful that I can actually get a response to my question by one of my former history students via a blog comment. This also give me a fabulous response for future blogs to nowhere comments!