Blogging and its effects on pupils’ writing – Afeefa Case Study Draft

Blogging and its effects on pupils’ writing

A study exploring how blogging can inspire children to write

What did we do?

Research by London CLC’s director, Sarah Horrocks, with Myra Barrs, Educational blogs and their effects on pupils’ writing  (Barrs and Horrocks, 2014) found that blogging can inspire children to different and better forms of writing. The study set out to explore the specific opportunities blogs offer as ways to encourage children’s writing and as a learning medium for a class. The main aim was to explore the differences in pupils’ writing on blogs compared to their other writing. The secondary aims were to investigate the potential for using blogging to develop pupils’ writing skills, and to identify good practice in blogging. 

What difference did it make?

Before beginning the study, we were aware that too many primary school class blogs rely heavily on teacher input and control and miss the potential to engage and involve children in creating the blog. We found that the audience that has the most impact is the children themselves. They read and get involved in each others’ work in a way which doesn’t happen with work done in exercise books. The children in our study became more aware of their own writing and more interested in how they might improve it. Most importantly, they felt themselves to be part of a writing community: the blog established an area of sharing. 

At the end of the study we asked some children what it would feel like if suddenly their teacher decided to take down the class blog. ‘If we had no more blog I’d be upset,’ Shafia said. ‘Our memories would be wiped away.’  Children and teachers were clear that the blog represented the experience of the whole class and captured the process and outcomes of learning over weeks and terms.  

Scrolling back over children’s posts the themes and key events in their learning were evident. All the children’s thoughts about bees, Vikings and teeth were collated in the digital chronicle of one class blog. In another class the teacher incorporated blogging into guided reading sessions and used the books Trash, Holes and The London Eye Mystery as themes for blog writing, while another teacher used home visits from the class teddy bear to prompt blog posts, bringing home life into the classroom.

Through this research and London CLC’s extensive experience of working with schools to set up blogs we have been able to establish what works best in improving pupil’s writing through blogging. For example, invitations to write should be specific rather than too general. Framing the task and giving a resource for pupils to use, such as a video, are most effective in stimulating quality writing. The statistics linked to a blog were important in engaging pupils in writing for a real-world audience and motivating them to improve their writing. Class blogging with teachers giving feedback helped to build teacher-pupil and peer relationships. The report makes some specific recommendations about how we can best use blogging as a tool. 

Find out more

Read the full report

The CLC’s support has allowed me to broaden my knowledge of online safety as a whole and the importance it brings to the whole school alongside the discovery of a whole heap of relevant resources. Thank you.
Crown Lane Primary School

The CLC’s support has allowed me to broaden my knowledge of online safety as a whole and the importance it brings to the whole school alongside the discovery of a whole heap of relevant resources. Thank you.
Crown Lane Primary School

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