We would suggest the following uses (although there are many more, and children should be given the opportunity to suggest their own ideas). The key innovation we are proposing is the widespread use of blogs – i.e. several times a week across all areas of learning, and their embedding into everyday practice:
- To set, log and keep track of work. This could lead to highly personalised learning, as children would be able to have their own blog post/page, in which they could access further work, reflect on their work or assess themselves or their peers. There is a drift in primary education to encourage more self-evaluation and peer assessment, as well as Assessment for Learning and Assessing Pupils’ Progress initiatives. Class blogs will provide an evolving, central forum that everyone has access to that could help more effectively track learning. This is all in addition to learning to use blogs and about the principles of them.
- Weblogg-ed and anne.teachesme are examples of how blogs are used in education, and could be adapted and used as a resource in the classroom of the future. They show what is possible in terms of information sharing and the links between professionals.
- Huette (2006) suggests introducing blogs as follows: start making posts on a subject of personal interests; then for simple announcements; afterwards graduate to reading other blogs, collaborating on joint blogs and posting entries for other class members to review and comment on.
- Blogs should not be seen as something the children ‘do in ICT’. They are a cross curricular tool that should be used across disciplines to enhance and augment learning and thinking skills. For example: a reflective log; a debate about a particular issue; to showcase pupils’ creative writing, the results of project work; to present information for the whole class to review and reflect on.
- Richardson (ibid) cites an English teacher who supports the ‘immersion’ strategies in established pedagogy and enshrined in the Primary National Strategy literacy framework. Blogs should not, however, in our view, be subject to the limited view that they are ‘just another text type’; they should be integrated into classroom practice.
- Results of surveys and investigations can also be shared widely and responses from a wide range of people can be encouraged and gathered in a central place that everyone can access.
- Beare (2001) argues for the urgent need for schools to develop in children an understanding of our global interconnectedness. This opens up another potential use: the ability to access and think about a range of information about people in other countries and to invite their perspective on your ideas and opinions. The comment aspect of blogs is here particularly useful and could lead to a kind of ‘dialogic’ exchange between children from different parts of the world.
- Children should not only create and use their own or the class blog, but use other blogs as a stimulus for discussion and debate – engaging with this debate by commenting on those blogs and getting answers from people in the real world.
- Children and groups should be encouraged to set up their own blogs and to interact with blogs in ways they choose to further their learning.