Digital Studies 101: Intro to Digital Studies

DGST 101: Culture Module (4/4) – How Blogging Could Benefit My Future Students

Prompt: Blogging in Relation to My Future Students: What elements of blogging can be used to help my future students? How can I help my future students become better writers, and how can I incorporate blogging into my future classroom?

Why Blogging in the Classroom?

I have reached the final element of my Culture Module blogging, and that is the application of the positive elements of blogging to realms outside my personal sphere. The topic of blogging in the classroom interests me because it would be a great form of formative assessment for my future students, and would allow them to express themselves in a casual, personalized form of writing.

In addition to helping students cultivate their comprehension and writing skills, blogging allows for students to practice personalizing their content  (which can lead to deeper understanding) in the form of selecting themes, fonts, content formatting, and more. It allows for different forms of media, whether it be written word, photographs, charts, videos, audio clips, or more, to converge into one meaningful piece of content.

Applying Blogging to the Secondary Classroom

In order to gain an understanding of how blogging can be used in the secondary classroom, I read a few articles.

The first article I came across was titled “Teaching with Blogs,” written by a writing instructor from Blacksburg, VA.  The article promotes blogging as a way to develop reading and writing skills in students, as well as to encourage student interaction and peer review. An emphasis was placed on students reading and responding to each others posts.

This method of reading and responding is commonly used in many of my college classes, however, posts are written on internal discussion threads or messaging systems, rather than on public blogs. While I ca understand the use of an internal discussion board for privacy and ease of grading, the idea of having students create content while developing their own digital identities is appealing.

What Blogging Assignments Would I Give to Students?

Thinking in terms of a future social studies classroom, there are a few types of blogging assignments that I could give to future students:

  • Article Responses: I am currently taking a course on Intro to Geography. In this course, we often read short news articles in which we select an interesting quote from the article and then write a short response. I would use this format in a future classroom, and have students practice tagging and organizing their posts, responding to each others posts, and citing sources in a digital format – such as through hyperlinks, clickable images, and citations pages
  • Long-Term Projects: Blogging would also be a great option for students embarking on personal research projects, such as in the case of a current events project in an AP Gov class, or a student-selected research topic in a World History class, as it would give students an opportunity to organize their hard work into one spot!
  • Class Questions and Reflections: A class blog or website could be a great opportunity for students to converge online with reflections on course content, and questions for myself and each other!

The Importance of Blogging and Digital Identity

Over both the past year that I have used this domain, as well as the past few weeks that I have been in Digital Studies, I have learned about the importance of a positive digital identity.

During my very first education class, my professor stressed the importance of keeping social media and online content either professional, invisible, or non-existent entirely. Rather than hiding from having a digital identity, it is important to learn how to use a digital identity to your advantage. Therefore, I would incorporate at least some use of blogging into my future classroom.

Roadblocks to Blogging in the Classroom

No assignment is perfect, and all assignments have their pros and cons. Some troublesome aspects of blogging in a secondary classroom would be:

  • Computer Access: While internet access is becoming closer and closer to universal, a 2017 report shows that there are still five million (US News) school aged children without access to high-speed internet at home. Furthermore, six percent of school districts do not have acceptable high-speed internet. (Education Superhighway) While most students and school districts will have acceptable internet, there are always variables in how much time students have to access computers, how reliable said computers are, and more.
    • Side Note: The US News article linked above shares some interesting tactics on how to help high schoolers struggling with internet access. Hint: It involves community involvement.
  • Technological Skills: Because all students would likely have different backgrounds with computers, technology, word processing, and writing, time would need to be taken in the classroom to equip students with the basic skills they need to be successful as bloggers, including how to set up a blog, how to create and edit posts, how to format and organize content, and more.
  • Privacy and Shyness: Many individuals do not feel comfortable sharing personal information online, much less writing samples. Efforts would need to be made to ensure that students are comfortable with their blogging experiences.

Blogging Conclusions: What Have I Learned?

Through this Culture Module project, I have learned more about myself as a student, writer, internet user, and future teacher. I have:

  • Investigated the Nature of Blogging in 2018: Since its inception, blogging has shifted from a semi-anonymous form of venting and response to the outside world, to a more personalized, brand and content-based endeavor that intersects with other forms of social media
  • Outlined Elements of Successful Bloggers: Reliability of posting, aesthetic appeal, and sincerity, meaningfulness, and organization of content
  • Set personal Blogging and Domain Use Goals: I hope to use my domain to post reflections related to my upcoming (third) practicum experience
  • Contemplated Ways to Incorporate Blogging to My Future Classroom: Blogging could be used for long-term projects, article reflections, or class discussions. As with any assignment, it would require me as a teacher equipping students with the skills they would need to be successful bloggers and to cultivate their digital identities

If you have read my previous posts, and made it to the end of this post, thank you!

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