Let’s Up the Blogging

I think I’ve always liked to write. As a little girl, I had dreams of being an author.

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I remember submitting a story I had written when I was around ten called “The Adventures of Becky Keele”. I’m pretty sure, looking back, that it was very similar to Tom Sawyer but my own girly version. I sent it to a few publishers and they all wrote back very sweet “no” letters and an encouragement to keep writing. I was heart-broken and decided I couldn’t be an author.

I have a friend who blogs and she is a very successful, professional blogger. She has tens of thousands of followers and she will commonly get 200-300 comments on each blog post. Why? She is controversial. She is honest. She speaks exactly how she feels. Exactly.

I’m not that brave. I take the safe route, usually, and try not to be controversial. I know that I represent a university and wouldn’t want a blog post to be taken the wrong way. But I do envy her, a bit, for the ability to be totally and completely naked open with her readers.

I do enjoy blogging. And – I feel that it is a great educational tool. I really wish more university instructors would think about  consider assigning blogs for classroom assignments instead of just essays. Blogs provide excellent opportunities for students to be able to reflect on content and share their thoughts and content knowledge reflections with the world.

“According to educational specialists Drs. Fernette and Brock Eide, the use of blogs in an educational setting produces several benefits. These benefits include the promotion of critical and analytical thinking, increased access and exposure to quality content and a combination of solitary and social interactions with peers. The educational benefits of blogging can also extend to the administrative and teaching aspects of how a class operates.” Read more here! Lou Martin, Demand Media

My Tech for Teachers course recently discussed assessment and the importance of student reflection. How often to you reflect, or think about, what you’ve learned? I do…all the time. Why not have students reflect on their reading or class content sessions? Students will benefit from the ability to reflect, and instructors will benefit from reading their reflections.

Student voice is important and not all students speak up in a classroom. Blogging allows students to share their opinion and gives those with differing learning styles a chance to “speak” up.  I believe it also improves writing skills. When students know their information will be shared in a public venue, they will be more apt to edit and rewrite for voice and accuracy.

At William Jessup University, we are a Google Apps school and have easy access to Google sites. Simply go to mail, click the Google App icon Screen Shot 2014-10-01 at 1.49.06 PM and choose Google Sites. A site can be created in a matter of seconds. I enjoy Google sites because it is easy to set up, free, and has privacy settings. However, if I am being totally honest, it is not the most visually appealing.  I use WordPress to type this blog. Decide your own purpose, review the tools yourself, and decide what will work the best for you!

Google Sites (privacy controls)

WordPress (basic blogging)

Edublogs (for education)

Tumblr (pictures)

Postach.io (I used this while traveling.)

Squarespace (visually appealing)

Postagon (for the minimalist)

Ghost (split screen editor – sweet!)

Svbtle (designed to help you think)

Medium (collaborative)

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