Wednesday, October 14, 2009

The Benefits of Using Blogs in Classrooms

Image of wordle
While reading blogs last night (of students in a graduate course on Social Media taught by Alec Couros (@courosa) at the University of Regina) I realized that several of them might benefit from a short demonstration of the power of blogs. So I put this collection together for all who might be interested in why blogs and blogging are so important, I think, to all teachers and students. When I have a bit more time I will elaborate on this in my Dr. John Strange's Strange Thoughts.

I would love to have your reactions after you watch and look at this series of blogs. Leave comments!

The whole exercise should take about 30 minutes to do.

The Power of Blogs and Commenting on Blogs:

Read and listen to this exchange with Room 10 at Pt. England School, Auckland, New Zealand to understand the power of blogs:

1. I had my students comment on kids blogs as a result of Mr. William Chamberlain (@wmchamberlain also see #comments4kids) and the wonderful teachers who join him At The Teachers Desk". Many of my students visited Room 10 and left comments there.
This is the Thank You that the third graders (yes, 3rd graders!) sent to me and my students: Thank You Dr. Strange! Read my post which contains a thank you from the teacher. Then click on either the picture or the link provided and you will go to Room 10's blog. Read the post there and watch the wonderful movie Room 10 sent me. I was crying by the end of it!

2. I also got an email from Ms. Dorothy Burt (@dorothyjburt) which provided me with some very important information about Room 10, Pt. England School, and the kids who go there: An Email From Dorothy Burt.

3. I have now replied to Room 10. In my reply you will find the students in Room 10 are now known to many, including the President of the University of South Alabama. Watch My Reply to Room 10.

Not convinced about the power of blogs?

Well, watch this exchange of blogs and comments:

A blog by a three year old (her father is the medium through which she posts):
Dear Kaia

Mr. Chamberlain on his blog titled Dear Kaia: Voicethread and Video

Kaia's Father Muses: Intrepid Teacher: Singing Hearts

I could add many more wonderful examples. Here are two additional links to stir your interest:

Point England School, Auckland, New Zealand. Kids can often show you the way!

Pt. England School Never Ceases to Amaze Me!

Finally, look at this post of Anthony Capps, one of my students this fall: You Are Creating Your Intellectual Trail - And It Can Be Googled!.


  1. I have always been convinced about the power of blogging, but your collection of reasons made those feelings even stronger!!!! You have very valid points that the best debater in the world ( hint, hint ME) can't ague!

  2. @Tresher I might like to debate who argues better with you at a later date...

    @John What is so interesting about the exchange between my class and Jabiz is the fact that this type of activity is becoming almost commonplace. Many, including yourself, have discovered the ease of visiting using skype (or other software).

    I had a person talk to me about setting up a room where they could have IPTV set up for around $10,000. The idea was to allow students to do over the internet learning. I pointed out that I could do that now for nothing because I had a webcam, a computer, and internet access. I could tell I confused him but he told me that the equipment he was getting was of a "better quality".

    My oldest daughter is a student at the University of Arkansas. She was having trouble with a physics problem and asked me to help. Unfortunately, I didn't have any answers for her so I sent an SOS on Twitter and received a reply from a teacher in Australia that was willing to Skype in to her to help her out.

    This is what some of us are leveraging now, soon it will be more. You can't stop progress, especially when it costs so little to purchase.

  3. Good work Dr Strange!

    It's a wonderful world we have with the connectivity. Just the way your exchange with Pt England diminished differences in geography, culture, age is fanstastic.

    The ability to be everywhere at once even when you're nowhere special, to have the power of global dissemination even when you have a very small voice or platform, to hear news and opinions from near and far. It's like having the Gutenburg Press for the masses and a seemingly infinite number of treatise to read or not as you choose.

    Yeah, teh intertubes is pretty miraculous. I liken it to sitting in the largest library ever with a bazillion reference librarians at your fingertips.

    I've been appreciating blogs quite a bit over the past years. I use design blogs as reference and an exchange of ideas. I use art and photography blogs as inspirations. The geek blogs keep me abreast of technology. And I especially appreciate the competition that news and political opinion bloggers give to legacy media.

    I'm glad teachers are actively using this tool with their students. It's a natural fit.

    Your friend and faithful student,

  4. Dr Strange, I am now convinced of the power of blogging. It is pretty fantastic how connected you can really be as an individual. I think I am definitely going to enjoy blogging now and in my near future as an educator.
    Emilie Rinehart