Wednesday, 20 September 2017

Create a classroom blog and get your learners posting via email...


Submitted by Fiona Beal
Blogging is a great way to engage and inspire learners in the classroom. A blog is a web publishing tool that allows authors to easily self-publish and share text, artwork, videos, images, links to other blogs or Web sites, and much more. For several years now all the learners in my various Grade 4 – 7 classes have had their own blogs. We use these as digital portfolios and also as a way to learn digital citizenship and courtsesy on the Internet. Since we are a G Suite school, the free Blogger platform comes with G Suite Apps which means that blogs can be monitored more easily.

However, running student blogs takes up a lot of a teacher’s time. This post suggests another way, that is easier to manage, for getting your class benefiting from blogging… as long as they have an email account.

Set up your classroom blog
Perhaps you want to have a single classroom blog that is populated by the learners themselves? Well, Blogger makes this really easy. All you have to do on the main blog is activate the secret email address under settings and pass it on to your learners. They can write their posts in an email and add an image. They address it to the secret address. On your side you may want to review the post first, in which case you’ll set it up to receive drafts from your learners. Otherwise you can set it up to post immediately.

Here is a step by step process to create this type of blog with a secret email address.



How to use your new blog
How would I use this type of blog? You might ask. Here are just a few ideas:
1) You can ask the learners to reflect on what they learned in a lesson.
2) You could ask them to post a story they have written.
3) Learners could write a book review for Independent reading.
4) Learners could write about an outing they have just been on.
5) You could also teach learners how to comment on each other’s work in a positive and constructive manner.

Why don’t you try doing this exercise - set up one classroom blog for the whole class. Blogger makes it very easy to set up a blog – basically it takes around fifteen minutes from setting up an account to publishing the first post. Give the learners the secret blog address. If  your learners don't all have email accounts, create one email account and let them all use that one. (I  haven't yet tried this function but I am assuming it will  work).

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