Because their work is open for discussion, bloggers must take extra care to assure that their writing is both clear and accurate. This can be powerful for student writing. Not only do students put more effort into their writing, but they become more excited about their writing as well. In this post, Bill Ferriter describes what happened when his class created a website designed to raise awareness on the amount of sugars can be found in the food that many of us eat. When the students found that their blog had actually helped real people make healthier life choices, they were thrilled and proud to have made a positive difference in someone else's life through their writing. Additionally, blogging allows students to interact with real authors, scientists, and other professionals that they otherwise would not be able to work with because of physical distance. With blogs, these professionals are one comment away (Richardson, 2010, p. 23).
Another key feature of blogs is that they allow the writer to link to other sources of information found on the Web, as I have done in this post. This further showcases the collaborative nature of blogs. As Richardson (2010) explains, "Being able to connect ideas and resources via linking is one of blogging's most important strengths" (p. 19). Most bloggers actually start by reading, then write their own response. When readers create comments, they are not only furthering the conversation in that one post but also starting the cycle over again by gaining ideas from their reading to then create their own posts. Therefore, online roles are no longer static: writers are readers and readers are writers and the cycle continues on (Richardson, 2010, p. 29). This can have important implications for student writing as well: it causes students to inform their own writing through reading before creating their posts. Students, therefore, can make themselves part of a larger online conversation, rather than just write for an audience of one (the teacher).
Ferriter, B. (2013, March 17). Three classroom blogging tips for teachers [Web log post]. Retrieved January 22, 2014, from http://www.teachingquality.org/content/three-classroom-blogging-tips-teachers#.UYWlScu9KK2
Nelson, C. (2013, April 23). So you've decided to blog! [Web log post]. Retrieved January 22, 2014, from http://blog.cathyjonelson.com/?p=2817
Richardson, W. (2010). Blogs, wikis, podcasts, and other powerful Web tools for classrooms. Thousand Oaks, CA: Corwin Publishers.