Creating a class blog is one thing… maintaining one and making it relevant for your students is a totally different challenge. Here are 5 ways to ease yourself and your students into the world of class blogs:
1. Post information relevant to the students – Seems obvious but if the students don’t have a reason to visit your site, they won’t. Post information pertaining to homework, assignments, quizzes and tests to get them into the habit of visiting the site. Throw a few sample questions online to entice the more motivated students to visit and they will help to bring the rest of the class along. Attaching notes and worksheets is also a great way to encourage students to visit your site.
2. Videos – Multimedia is a powerful tool, just look at YouTube. By posting video content on your blog you provide more than just a static, text-based experience. Short video clips on certain topics can be assigned for pre-viewing and used as discussion starters in class.
3. Discussion boards – This one can be tricky depending upon your school boards online policies but a great way to encourage out-of-class interaction and participation. If you use WordPress a great discussion plugin is Simple Press. An example of how I have used it is having students submit a project proposal on the discussion board instead of on paper in class. I then went in and commenting on each proposal and provided links to relevant information to guide the students. You need to use this more than once to make it effective and worth the effort to set up.
4. School Calendar – Not what you were expecting? Having basic information about upcoming school events is a reason for students and parents to visit your site. Include information relevant to your subject area, like significant events on this day in history, to add a little extra kick to your calendar and make it stand-out from the one on the school website.
5. Recap of Lessons – This one I saved for last because it requires consistency and patience. In order for a site to stay relevant it must change every day with new content and information. One way to do this is to write short recaps or summaries of what went on in class that day. This also helps to keep students that have missed class informed and removes the excuse of not being there from their repertoire. If you are really organizing you can post information on upcoming lessons and give those students that visit the site an edge in class.