What do students do on their blogs?

World Humanities students are required to maintain a blog on which they write about world events, mostly of their own choice. I ask that students do the following:

  • write at least three posts per week;
  • write at least 300 words on each post;
  • begin most posts by branching off a news story, editorial, etc., and link to that story in the post.

Why use blogs?

First, students are more likely to write more–and therefore improve fluency–if they are motivated by (1) what they’re writing about, and (2) who they’re writing for. Blogs provide the opportunity for students to write about topics most relevant and interesting to them, and to actually publish that writing to an audience who might also be invested in those topics. Thus, blogs can help achieve existing language arts goals.

Second, students need a more sophisticated understanding of web-based texts than simply how to find sources for research. While developing web-searching skills and a healthy skepticism of online sources is important, it barely scratches the surface of “twenty-first century skills.” Through reading and composing blogs, students can develop a more sophisticated understanding of web compositions: how we embed links in our online compositions, for example, and when you might want to use one; how to use existing text, images and video, and how to attribute credit for them; how to connect our blogs to other sites on the web, or attract traffic through sites such as Google.

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