What is an easy way to make students share their thoughts with other students?
The answer: WordPress.
WordPress is a website that allows you to create your own blog. It is available since May 27, 2003. Since that day it has been the most popular website used for blogging. However, what is blogging? It is to share posts on a regular basis. Sometimes people post articles about their life, about what is happening on the web or on topics they like. So, it is a way to share your ideas with the whole world, to make new friends, to visit other blogs that share the same interests, etc. Moreover, people can visit your blog, leave comments under your posts, or leave you a private message. Blogging can be compared to social networking service because it is a form of it.
Why should we use it in our classroom?
Because it is free.
However, it is not the only reason why we should incorporate WordPress in our classroom. The fact that it is free makes it available for everyone. One of the reasons why this is a great tool is that it will allow you, the teacher, to share many things with your students and not only with them, with their parents also. But first of all, before doing that you have to create your account and your students and their parents have to do the same thing. This video is a short tutorial that will explain you how to create your account. If you have more than one class, it is possible to create a blog for each class if you want to on the same account. The only thing that will change is the address of your blog. Once it is done, you can begin to do some posts. You can make some posts about the upcoming exams. You can also post the homework assignments, this way the students will have no reason for having not done their homework because what they have do will be posted on your blog. You just have to make sure that every student is following your blog.
Rebeccah Haines proposed that teachers share their blog with to parents of their students. Parents will love that because they want to know what their children have to do for homework or when are their exams. They want to be implicated in their children’s education. Also, she said that she uses WordPress with her classroom because she feels it is a secure website. A reason why is that your have the option to block to access of your blog so it cannot be found through a Google search. I agree with her and I think there is another reason why teachers should share their blog with parents. It is because if parents have questions they can ask them to you on your blog. Sometimes other parents have the same interrogations, but they are too shy to ask their questions. By answering to their questions, you will probably answer to a lot of parents without knowing it. Also, their children could share their blog with them. So, their parents will be able to see what they are doing.
Furthermore, Deb Kim mentioned that WordPress is a good way of creating an online learning community because everyone will have access to your blog and can have access to other students’ blogs. Students like to have the impression that they belong to a community because it makes them create relationships with the other students in their class.
Another utility of this website was suggested by Michelle Langston. It is to use it to create portfolios. I think that it would be fun for the students to create their portfolios online because it would allow them to learn more about technologies. Also, they could carry it out everywhere they go because it is at the tips of their fingers wherever they can find a computer or a smartphone.
I think that the three ladies suggested great way to use WordPress that I would not have found by myself like using it to create a portfolio. However, I found another utility to this website. If you make your students read a book, they could use WordPress to do a book report. It would be easier than giving them a booklet to fill while they are reading because often they would lose it. If they use their blog, they would have no chance to lose their work because it would be on Internet. Also, for the teacher, it is an easy way of being informed of the work done by their students. They just have to take a look at their blogs and he/she can see where they are in there reading.
Now, the ball is in your hand. It is your turn to add technologies to your teaching to make it more interactive.