Broadly speaking, there are two types of teachers.
One is content with staying within the four walls of the classroom and relying on the ‘talk and chalk’ approach they grew up.
The other type of teacher is aware of how rapidly the world is changing; they know how important it is to help their students become dynamic global citizens.
What type of teacher are you? I’m guessing you’re the latter and, if you are, no doubt you’ll be interested in the Student Blogging Challenge!
The Student Blogging Challenge In A Nutshell
The Student Blogging Challenge is about embracing all of the benefits of blogging — from learning digital writing skills, and digital citizenship, to developing an authentic audience and connecting with others around the globe.
We know these are the sorts of things teachers want for their students but they might not always know where to start or how to go about that. The Student Blogging Challenge solves this problem. The teacher doesn’t have to be the expert or bring the ideas and connections. It’s all done for you!
Since 2008, the Student Blogging Challenge has run twice yearly, beginning each March and October.
The next challenge begins on March 3, 2019.
The challenge is made up of a series of 10 weekly tasks all designed to improve blogging and commenting skills, while connecting students with a global audience.
- Find out more about the Student Blogging Challenge
- Register to take part as a class
- Register to take part as a student
- Volunteer as a commenter
8 Reasons To Take Part In The Student Blogging Challenge
Maybe you’re on the fence, or maybe you’re interested in the challenge but not sure exactly what your students will get out of it?
Let’s break down some of the key benefits!
1) Learn about blogging and publishing online
Publishing online is more than just writing blog posts.
- Students will learn about setting up an online space that’s user-friendly and representative of their personality.
- They’ll discover how to use comments to interact with other bloggers near and far.
- Students will also learn about using a range of web tools to demonstrate their learning and passions.
Publishing online is a lot more dynamic than traditional pen and paper publishing. It’s fun, meaningful, and an important 21st-century skill!
2) Become a responsible digital citizen
Technology plays a big role in the lives of many students. All teachers and caregivers want young people to be navigating technology safely and responsibly.
Blogging is a fantastic way for students to learn about digital citizenship and internet safety in an ongoing and authentic way.
Throughout the Student Blogging Challenge, participants will learn about the importance of becoming a safe and responsible member of an online community.
Interested in reading more about digital citizenship and blogging? Check out this post.
3) Meet others from around the world
It’s now easier than ever to connect with others from around the world. There are so many benefits of integrating global collaboration into the lives of young people!
Meeting others from around the world means students can:
- Gain new ideas and perspectives.
- Learn about the world authentically — topics like time zones, languages, seasons, weather, cultural similarities and differences can be brought to life.
- Develop empathy and a sense of understanding and respect.
- Have fun! Developing relationships with others near and far is so enjoyable.
4) Increase engagement and motivation
Over the years, we have heard the same message from so many different teachers: Their students worked harder on their Student Blogging tasks than on their general classroom work. Why? The power of an authentic audience.
Through the challenge, students have a real purpose for their work and they know it will be seen by others. This is in contrast to general classwork that is traditionally only seen by the teacher.
The power of an authentic audience can’t be underestimated and that’s why we’re building a strong team of commenters to visit our participants’ blog posts.
Exploring the ‘give and take’ nature of publishing will also be a big part of the challenge — so, to have an audience, you also need to be an audience and so on.
5) Prepare for the changing workforce
What does the future of the workforce look like? We don’t know for sure but there are certain things we know will play a part. For example, the world and workforce is becoming more globalized and the trend towards a gig economy has begun.
Students who can communicate and empathize with individuals from all cultures will thrive in the changing labor market. Learning to explore global collaboration while still at school will set students in good stead for the future.
The Student Blogging Challenge can be just one piece in the puzzle of this preparation.
6) Develop technology skills and human skills
Let’s build on the previous point by looking at some specific skills that are important for global citizens.
Throughout the challenge, students will learn a variety of tech skills, not as ‘skill and drill’ exercises but as authentic tasks. They’ll try a variety of free web tools and explore the potential of their blogging platform.
They’ll also have a chance to communicate, collaborate, and problem solve with fellow participants in their class, or on the other side of the world.
These sorts of things are important.
A report on the future of jobs from The World Economic Forum shows us that there is a growing demand for various forms of technology competency.
However, this is only one part of the equation and human skills like creativity, critical thinking, negotiation, resilience, problem solving and leadership will also be in high demand.
7) Explore passions and interests
All students have their own passions and interests and often these don’t align with their everyday schoolwork.
Through the Student Blogging Challenge, students can work in a way that suits them.
Each week, there will be a choice of activities so participants can work on something that meets their needs and interests. If they’re more into creating videos, audio files, or graphics instead of written work, that’s fine!
We explore a range of different topics in each challenge so there is something for everyone over the ten weeks.
8) Find a voice and community
Through participating in the Student Blogging Challenge, students can begin to find their voice.
It’s now possible for everyone to be a writer and publish on a public platform. There are many benefits with this but it comes responsibilities.
Students participating in the challenge can recognize the value and responsibility of publishing online and being part of global conversations — on both light and deep topics.
Through weekly exercises, students practice communicating with others. There will be opportunities to give and receive feedback which can allow for continual improvement.
Many students have told us that they have developed confidence as a writer throughout the process and have begun to understand their place in the world.
Make The Student Blogging Challenge Work For You
Underpinning all these benefits is the fact that the challenge is flexible:
- You can participate every week or pick and choose.
- You can complete one small task if you’re short on time, or spend a lot of time on multiple tasks if this fits into your week.
- If the topics or activities don’t align with your curriculum goals, you can modify them.
- You can use any blogging platform to participate as long as your blog is public and others can leave comments.
Most of all, the teacher doesn’t have to be the expert. Teachers can be role models for their students, demonstrating that they too are learners and they don’t know it all!
Let’s Hear From Some Students…
If you haven’t already seen it, check out this short video with insights from past participants!
We’ve had so many students, teachers, and classes who take part in challenges year after year because they enjoy it and they discover new personal benefits each time!
Anything else you’re not sure about? Leave a comment and I’ll get back to you or contact the Edublogs support team.