March 2, 2012 Leave a comment
Most people think of blogging as a leisure time activity and a matter of interest. Parents usually think of blogging a waste of time for children. This is not true. The advantages of blogging are numerous.
1- Blogging can be an educational activity and fun for children. A blog can be like a book and a personal diary for a child.
a) Children can add pages with different topics, such as nouns, verbs, adjectives or singular and plural or gender, antonym and synonym, etc.
b) They can add pages by subjects, such as English, Maths, Urdu, Science, Pakistan Studies, etc.
c) They can draw pictures on paper or on computer or take photos from mobile and write a post about it.
d) They can write about their daily events or a paragraph on how they spent the day or about their friend or their favourite teacher.
2- Blogs can assist teachers in evaluating children’s academic progress. At primary level, students’ progress shouldn’t be judged by their report cards at the end of the term or year.
a) Children can learn more while preparing a multi-functional report or project than just sit and memorize the contents. For example, they can enjoy writing a book report with colour and pictures, preparing a weather report or chart with stickers and cutouts, making a chronological list of historical events in different colours, etc. They can do that all easily on computer because they will enjoy looking for suitable photos and changing colour and size of text.
b) Teachers can guide students to follow punctuation and double check to correct any mistakes before publishing it. For example,
– The first letter of each sentence and all proper names should be capitalized.
– There should be one character space after a comma and two character space after a period/full-stop.
c) They can learn new words while using online dictionaries and thesaurus for meaning, synonyms and antonyms.
d) Sharing a video and write about it can be fun too for children. Teachers can figure out how observant is the child and how does he/she expresses his feelings and opinions.
3- Blogging can provide as an incentive to improve memory skills. Students usually forget what they memorize when asked by parents or tutors. Instead, they can write their answers, essays or anything they memorize to check if they remember it.
a) Children need to know the correct method of memorizing things. They should be asked to read the answer or paragraph at least 10 times (reading means saying the words or sentences loud, not silent reading). Then take a break or read somethings else and then try to recall the answer or whatever they had memorized.
b) Teachers must consider the age and level of student before giving them anything to learn by heart. In Pakistan, even 1st Graders are given a page long essays, spelling of difficult words that their meanings are not easy to understand, definition of hard terminologies, etc. This is not a good way of learning, it damages their brainy skills.
c) The best memory skills can be developed by improving listening skills and taking dictations. Taking dictations are not only an aid for memory skills but best for timed-writing.
d) Most online dictionaries do have pronunciation option available in text and for listening. Children can play it repeatedly until they learn to pronounce the words correctly.
4- Through blogging, children gradually learn surfing websites and sorting out their desired information.
a) Children usually copy and paste information from the first couple of sites that appear on the screen, without editing it. Teachers must specify what kind of information is required for the assignment. For example, if it is a biography, then it should have date of birth, place of birth, education, work and achievements, etc. If it is to write about a battle, then it must mention the date it was started, the causes, the people and countries who were involved in it and how it ended.
b) Surfing websites also helps in comparing among different sites on same topic and gathering suitable information.
5- Children learn to communicate with others in writing.
a) Online readers may read the posts and leave comments. The comments could be in form of an appraisal, a note of thank, a question, a correction or a criticism. They learn how to respond to different notes by replying to the comments.