Wednesday, February 20, 2013

What Do We Think About Blogging?

The great blog debate continues. As it should, between parents, teachers and students, all trying to figure out why we do it? Should we do it? What are the benefits? What are the issues? Should it be graded? Should it be public? and more and many great questions.

As we process the pros and the cons, I wanted to share with you, some of your thoughts. Before the break I posed a statement:
Blogging is an important part of an English classroom
I asked you to write a paragraph agreeing or disagreeing with this statement. I know we have a range of ideas across the classes, so I was curious what you all think of this little experiment of ours. I was pleasantly surprised by not only the range of ideas presented, but also by the clear way you were able to articulate your understanding of online publishing.

While I would love to share all of the responses, we simply do not have the time or the space to do that. I have chosen to instead to copy and paste direct lines from your posts. They seemed to fall under some clear categories. Maybe we can get a clearer idea of what we value and what we fear.

For the sake of brevity, I have edited out a few words here and there,  so the quotes are not verbatim, but I was careful not to change the meaning of your quotes. I have added direct links to the original post for closer reading and continued conversations


By posting work on blogs, students can receive feedback and comments in real time not only from teachers, but also from their peers which benefits both the writer and the commenter, as the writer would be able to improve their writing, and the commenter would be able to take examples from their peers and improve their writing as well. Maurius

The more you write the better it will get. It also helps the readers improve their reading and hopefully have a better understanding of who you are. Joshua

Blogging helps students practice writing in a more pressure-free zone rather than having to submit  a hundred essays on random topics. It also gives us the opportunity to read what our class-mates or peers have going on in their minds, especially if they don't talk much.

The freedom to express ourselves is important; providing a medium and nurturing the usage of that medium improves our skills as writers and removes some of our inhibitions of writing.  Liam K.

 It helps our writing improve if we are consistent. A blog is your space for your thoughts. It becomes a new way of communication.  Its helps you open up. Ananya

Blogging is a very useful way to connect with others online as well as improve your own writing by either practicing on your blog or looking at the different writing styles of others. Ellen

Blogging is writing, and writing is good. Receiving judgement is a given no matter where we post our blog posts, school blog or personal, but I believe these judgements can make a good impact on our skills. Antara

Blogging is a fun way to write. It can be used for educational purposes and it also helps the student to think when they are writing "who is my audience." Sometimes having students writing on a blog will increase a students motivation to write. India
Blogging can deepen our writing skills as we are writing a small or big amount each day. By blogging something each day and also reading other peoples blog we can find out many things about others. Laura

Blogging is good because it allows students to practice writing with 'their own voice'; they can write in any style or form we wish. It gives us a freedom that we usually do not experience within the classroom, and the best part is that teachers are not the only ones who read them, they are no longer the only ones who can judge you. Maud

People must be able to articulate thoughts clearly and effectively so that people understand the message. When writing university exams, having knowledge about a subject is not enough; people must be able to articulate their thoughts clearly onto paper/online. Pranav

One  skill that can be  improved through blogging is the structuring of one's own words. Since writing on a blog means anybody can read it, one will be increasingly careful not to make mistakes which will lead to them having a habit of having good structures. Kengo

Blogging allows us to practice and enhance our writing skills  The topics are unrestricted giving us the freedom to express ourselves in any way we choose. There are no boundaries, and not limits, removing the pressure of writing about boring subject which we have no deeper connection to. Xander

Blogging is writing an ongoing narrative and by doing this you are improving your basic skills. The more you write, the better you get. Anthony

Set in a digital world, writing has to be shared and no longer in journals. When writing, people now want an audience to read their work. The blog provides the space for anyone to share their thoughts or work and anyone all over the world will be able to access it. James

Feedback can  be given in the form of comments, which is a useful tool as it can contribute to not only the progression of a writer's skills, but it can also motivate, encourage, and build on their self esteem. Krya

Grades and Assessments

If people don't enjoy blogging there isn't going to be anything that comes out of it, it won't be useful or have an affect on their english skills or expressing themselves.  It is merely a homework task that is not wanted to be done. Emilie

Students can do just fine without having to blog about random subjects. It's been about six months since school started and not many people are active bloggers. Even without blogging often, everyone seems to be doing just fine  with their writing skills. Arushi

Blogging is a great way to share thoughts and ideas in an open and productive manner but is not an important part of English class because one big reason is that often, seeing that blogging is currently optional and not homework, kids just don't have time to do things like blog. Homework is also a big interference in the time kids would have to blog because after coming home late from an activity and having over an hour of work to do, blogging is just not possible. Miles

I have been blogging for months now and on various different topics. My English grades have also improved, because in my blog posts I described,narrated and debated as well. Ruchir
Students seem to get more out of reading and writing stories rather than blogging. Rogan 

English is a class where you study about literature and reading, it is not a class about expressing yourselves and discussions. Nanami

The problem with making a blogger think that it has to be a piece of good writing is that it becomes an essay, school work, something that is not relaxing but instead tiring. Kengo

If a class chooses to focus on pure academics and wants to keep social writing separate, students can develop in both ways based on their motivation to write. Aditi P. 

Blogging is something that you should do willingly, not because it is part of your English class. I agree that it could be helpful but for people who don't like writing than often it just becomes something they have to do. Anu

Blogging is not graded. Blogging does not help improve one’s writing. It simply helps one get rid of mundane theories and postulations that get under one’s skin. Kavya  

"It's so useless" is a common statement said by many students for various reasons who would rather do "real work" instead.  Krya 

Self & Voice

Blogging helps students to reflect on what they did on that day and helps them to think and let their feelings out. Jayden

I find that it in many ways it help you gain confidence for your voice to be heard in the world. It is often hard to get your exact thoughts and feelings in words. Aditi M.

Blogging is useful. No scratch that out, Blogging is necessary. With teenagers [us] being young minds full of innovative ideas, thoughts and views, our generation needs to share them to audience and blogging enables us to do that. Pavitra

Online confidence can turn a kids life around. When a kid cannot be accepted into a certain type of environment or cannot express himself to anyone. He turns to online writing. Brendan

Any opportunity to share is always a good one. Blogging is a platform where anyone can be comfortable to write. I, personally, am uncomfortable to speak during class but am full of opinions. Blogging is a place for me to share those ideas and not be judged. Meghan

I am not brave enough to write how I feel and what think. But I hope that can change, I want to improve my writing skills.  I feel that blogging about the things we learned is essential because it can improve our understanding and we can always look back at what we did.

We can use almost our full potential on the blogs, allowing us to say what we wouldn't normally say in a loud and clear voice where many can read it. Zac

The people that are able to write in a blog naturally are able to use good English or don't care if they make a fool of themselves or has something that they have something passionate about which they want to share their opinions. A blog is somewhere you can find what you are really passionate about and that passion will connect to one honing their English skills. Kengo

It assists in developing voice in one's writing. Michelle

Blogging has helped me to share their ideas and thoughts about the stuff that we talk about in class. Blogging has helped me open up and it can prove useful when attempting to brush up your language and use a different writing style as blogging connects you with other 'blogs' Himaja

People who don't really show themselves in school may have very interesting personality that they want to share with everyone but is too shy to say it. Then this person writes about them and others will then know what kind of a person he/she is. Joshua

Blogging is enjoyable because it gives bloggers the chance to put their views and opinions online, about anything they want, and for their writing pieces to be uncontested as to why they have written them, due to the fact that blogging is what YOU want to share. Rohan

Through writing in larger quantities, students will develop a more concise, more eloquent writing voice. James 

When you blog, you are improving yourself. If you are lucky other people out there are feeling the same thing or have experienced it and could help you out. Anthony


People should express themselves more in class. George

Our classroom is a very open area and everyone shares there thoughts and we discusses many things, however blogging outside of the classroom is less inviting and harder to develop things to write about. I find it hard to express my thoughts online because I don't feel as comfortable compared to when I am at the round table, where I feel much  ore comfortable. Pierce

I personally think it is a waste of time, you already share what you have done in class with your friends, talking about if it was boring or confusing. So why go write about it? Gaspard

I don't feel it is important because some people may want to keep their thoughts to themselves. I don't feel like it is important for other people to know how I feel and what I write about because they see me at school so they know how I feel. Walther

You are going to have to learn how to express yourself talking face to face. Anna

Although blogging is a great way for some people to use, for others that don't want to blog or are not very open about themselves to others, is can be both a new opportunity that is helpful or something they feel uncomfortable and uneasy doing. Farshed

I feel that people will judge me based on what I say, or that what I say will set people against me. When I think about the potential number of people who can see this blog (which is pretty much anyone with an internet connection) I feel really uneasy. Yasmin

I think some people are a bit shy about the whole "blogging" idea. To let anyone read your posts, if I had to write a blog post for homework I would do it. But it was optional I would not do it as I said above. Gaspard

Some people don't like having their personal thoughts online because it is a public space. Anna

The traditional English classroom hosts space for reading and writing to an enclosed audience. Though students may be told that blogging does not ensure a large audience online, some may feel more secure with sharing work within the circle that is their own English class. Michelle

A lot of students are very social in real life but they can be invisible on the internet, not wanting to post their opinions online. Emilie

The notion of writing online to a worldwide audience was not quite thrilling. Audrey 

Not everyone is comfortable with sharing their thoughts or work online, as much of it can be personal.  Krya 


Having a personal online page to share ideas, is a must for global empathy. Tzur  

I have read numerous blog posts by my peers that have made me have an epiphany of sorts. My peers, who I sometimes misjudge, can be insightful and thoughtful and incredibly smart. Their blog posts help me discover a whole new side to them, to a whole new side of me. Meghan

I feel that by blogging about the things we are learning in class helps us get a deeper insight and improves our understanding on the topic. Sana

Blogging allows us to connect with our peers through the way we write and the topics we write about. At our age, we like to write about certain themes, or certain activities we have participated in recently, in a more factual way.  Xander

It enables you to build trust. People are skeptical. People are skeptical about the various strangers on the Internet. Writing an interesting and well written blog can enable you to form the distrust to trust.

A great way for students to articulate their thoughts and express their feelings, in a space where both students and teachers can give feedback or comments. Which allows your teachers and classmates to know each other better. Wendy

Blogging gives us a chance to tell people what you think about different matters in a less direct and personal way. By writing blog posts, people can also come to understand you and get to know you better. Eline

Comments are a great way to start conversations and to see what you might have in common with other people.

It brings ideas out to the public - a lot of people have some pretty unique perspectives. Now, we all get a chance to hear those ideas and explore them. Sarah

By having a blog and writing posts in it, it provides a chance for teachers and peers to see your ability to write about things you feel passionate about and how we can communicate 'online' 

What you write on your blog can be shared with anyone. Having a blog has made people share their personal thoughts and has started a lot of discussion between people in our school. Niharika

It helps us express our ourselves and gain perspective. One my friends once posted about his experiences in Chiang Mai and what he felt through this trip. It was completely new to me and I had a totally different experience. It made me reevaluate my experiences in relation to me and the people around me. I actually enjoy reading blogs more than writing the blogs. Ninad

In some of my posts I have expressed opinions of mine that vary to the opinions of others and because of this people have commented with their opinions and thoughts. I think that this is a good thing because It teaches us to see different perspectives and be more open minded. Hamza

Students can visit other student blogs and comment. Some blog post can trigger some very good and deep conversations. A blog is a good space to share good ideas. India

I wrote a poem about leaving my best friend which I was proud of.I decided that I wanted others to see it, so along with an explanation, I posted it. I felt as if I was expressing myself without having to stand up in front of a group of people and read a poem that was personal to me. It was giving me a chance to think about how I really felt, which I hadn't done beforehand. Bethany

Blogging shows your classroom and teacher a new side of you. Your teacher is able to understand you better and so is your class, and you get to know them better. It's always important to me to know your peers, and I think because of these blogs we get to know each other better. Vani

Due to the immense increase of the online users who post their blogs which encourages and influences other individuals to start off their own blogs. Having an online page to share with the world in the 21st century where technology is overpowering is the key to share, connect and interact with people. Raj

I have seen how people are colorful, more truthful on their blog compared to being in class.  Students from all different classes, have been sharing, artworks, videos, sharing new songs and giving their empathetic in sights. Tzur 

 Anything we post, is instantly shared with our peers. It can tell them what kind of writing we are doing, what we are doing and what we are like. Zak

By just writing for yourself, you are not going to get better at writing. When we blog we can get opinions of other's about our post, why they agree or disagree with it, or they could even suggest some constructive criticism.  Aditi M.

Getting to know people's different perspective is a great way to learn. Different people in this world has different ways of viewing things, some might be positive, yet some might be negative. However, just imagine this world not knowing how other people see things, just knowing what you think about things. Takaya

Not only is it important for you to use blogs to share your ideas, but you can also read about other's ideas. Commenting is a great way to start a thoughtful conversation and you can express your thoughts while commenting as well. Pavitra

Students are afraid to write because they feel they cannot be themselves or they will be criticized. The blog then proves useful for it provides students a space where they can be as expressive as they want.  James 

Reading and watching videos or posts allow us to connect to the person even if we haven't met them. Who knows, anyone could feel that way. Another thing I observed was that a lot of students in my class that rarely participate in discussions have been blogging away and even talking about the most bizarre stuff. 

Many blog posts have sparked insightful class discussions. They are not only a way to come up with interesting topics to talk about, but a way to connect with our fellow peers. Liam K.

It will strengthen the bonds between friends, have more things to talk about. Joshua

I wrote a blog post about how kids cannot be accepted into different groups these days because of their looks and not for their personality. Kids can feel that it is right to express themselves on online blogging. They feel like it is their space to say something without a kid criticizing it right up to the their face. Branden

In a teacher's perspective, blogging may be the best way to get to know the student better in terms of their personality and style of writing. Jayden

From what I have seen, majority of our class do blog quite frequently and do come up with some rather intriguing points or statements. Shahu

It is one of many ways to share our learning with both our teachers and  peers. It lets us share our learning with our English teachers - many people who may not speak up in class have written on their blogs, showing their learning. This allows our teachers to understand our ability, skills, and style of writing. Liam K.

Not only should people be viewing things differently, but also willing to show how they view things to others. Different perspectives can change how others view things, wether its good or bad. By changing other people's perspective into theirs can change the world into a more one hearted place. Therefore, different perspectives are meant to be shared wether its online or offline.  Takaya

Blogging could also improve one's relationship with another person.When you blog and others read it, they could find out much more about your personality which would strengthen your relationship with classmates and peers. Anthony

Rejection & Judgement

Blogging isn't only about writing about your deepest, darkest secrets, but even for the least complex post, the audience is viewing it, judging it. Vaidehi

Expecting a bunch of insecure teenagers who aren't quite sure who they can trust in the constantly moving sands of social media to write about whatever comes to their mind is asking for a lot. Audrey

Peer pressure may come into play and the thoughts that their ideas are stupid wander through the mind and causes children to divert from posting blogs. It has always been said that the classroom is open to all ideas and no one's ideas will be made fun of. But these statements are not true, because no one can be assured that their bad blog post will not be made fun of by other kids in the class. Because no matter how many times the teacher says that inside the classroom, things are a lot different outside that door.  Miles

Some people may feel insecure about sharing their writing on such a space where almost everyone in the grade can see.Wendy

Unfortunately, at the end of the day, the readers of this blog are our peers. And being 13/14-year-old Grade 8 students, we cannot read a single piece of text without judging, forming sometimes irrational opinions and criticizing  the text immediately. Antara

Nobody knows exactly how people react when they read your posts and sometimes this can stop somebody from publishing what they are writing because of peer pressure. George

 A blog is said to just write whatever you want, your hobbies and what you enjoy, if your not sure what your hobbies are you wouldn't have anything to post. If you don't know who you are or haven't found it yet it wouldn't make your posts powerful. Emilie

Children can feel pressured to form opinions and worry about the worth of theirs. There may also be social pressure acting on them which may hold them back.They should be given the option to begin sharing their ideas with their peers online when they feel mature enough.  Aditi P.

Maybe not many people will read it and therefore you will feel as if no one cares about your piece and that can be quite demoralizing. Anna

The chance that a perfect stranger would come and hate on whatever you write, even the most mundane observation; was, and is terrifying. Audrey 

Sometimes when you post something you don't know how people will react so it is sometimes like taking a gamble. You realize that nobody bothered to read your paragraph. When nobody comments or likes or gives bad and insulting feedback-- people stop you from posting. Daniel 

Sometimes people are not able to get the time to read the blog posts with all the homework we are currently getting. George

At the start of the school year, I wasn't into blogging and I thought I never could be. Over the course of the winter break, I was bored, parents were out, no friends were around and sister was away. So I decided to write a blog post. Soon after that, I blogged nearly every day. Shahu

The limitation of time, as work from other subjects might be overwhelming at times, leaving little time to blog. Maurius

It seems quite time-consuming trying to blog under all the stress of school. Aditi M.

At first it is a burden because you are unsure of what do say. But after a while, it becomes you, you learn and teach through it with your personal reflection and from others. An online space for yourself is somethings that is a must for everyone to understand one another. Tzur

Getting into a habit of blogging is difficult. Students are involved in large amounts of after school sports or activities don't have enough time to finish the homework. Blogging is also difficult to get in a habit because its not engaging and fun to do. It's boring to blog. Jayden

Perfected Writing & Pressure

The whole process of finding something interesting to write about, then making it engaging enough that people would bother to read it seems too artificial. Vaidehi

It can also be hard to come up with ideas to write about and  then you don’t know what people will think about it after. George

I do not blog very much myself, this is because I don’t really have any ideas of what to post or I’m not so sure if what I want to post will be right. Laura

I never actually blog. The simple reason for this is that I can never think of anything to write. I don't blog because I don't want my blog to look like a bunch of repetitive, unoriginal thoughts. Maud

Another reason why I don't like blogging is that I just don't have anything to say at all. The life of an 8th grader isn't very interesting at all. Yasmin

I struggle to come up with unique and original ideas for blogging.  If there was one aspect of blogging that could be redefined, it would be more focus on how we can come up with good topics for blogging that we are interested in but that have not already been done. Rohan

Students may feel pressured to produce a piece of writing that is up to their teacher's expectations, or a piece of writing that touches one's heart deep enough for a valid response. Michelle

Blogging is a tool for the undiscovered writer to mince the English language into shreds of unforgivable spelling and obscure observations of metaphors. Most blogposts are exact copies of the drafts sitting in many a publisher’s dustbin. Kavya

It is very hard to think of new ideas and strong ideas that I am capable of writing about in a blog post. Having this freedom of writing, for me it makes it a lot harder to blog, because I never know what subject to blog about. Pierce

A lot of the time people feel at loss for what to write and don't want to write anything that comes to their mind because they think its not good enough. Anu

English class is not just about the language of English, but also the skill of being able to use it to ones own needs. Blogging supplies both of these. Kengo


Sometimes, blogging is my quick escape to a different world, a world that makes sense. Aditi M.

Blogging also helps you to 'exercise your creativity'. Creativity is always and important factor in the English classroom when it comes to writing and the use of descriptive language.  Sarah

This one girl has shared chapter by chapter of a book she is writing. The blog has let people be free, say what they feel and think, to the world. Though some may disagree, let them. It is in the will of the person that makes it fun and creative, as I have learnt. Tzur

Being a school blog- there are somethings I feel very strongly about but can't mention due to the teachers high involvement in commenting and being proactive. Antara

Some people express themselves with art, drama, music; others by writing. When you blog, you can share and do anything. You can share a piece of art that you're proud of. You can post a video of a play you were in. You can share a song you love, or a song you wrote. Bethany

You should write about what you are passionate about and what you believe in, this is also easier than having to write an essay about a subject you have no interest it. Eline

Blogging is more than a million and one ways to express your thoughts, secrets, hopes, desires, fears, ambitions and opinions. It is like a Venus Flytrap. There are lots of ideas floating around like flies and you can trap one or many of them and gulp them down like the flytrap and publish for the world to see. Raj

What we post on the blog is completely up to us, only limited by text, image and video. With just those three elements, we can do practically anything. Think of something you like, anything. You can share everything it. Zac
So there you have it! The good, the bad and the ugly. Thank you very much. This was a very eye-opening experience for me. I need some time to think about and reflect on what you said, so I can synthesize the basic messages that are being shared here, but that post will be coming soon. 

I hope I was true to the gist of your post. I would love any additional feedback in the comments below. I am sure that I will share these thoughts with parents and teachers both at our school and around the world, as we all try to figure out if student blogging plays an important role in the classroom. 

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