8 Alternatives To Blogging For Students In The Classroom


8 Alternatives To Blogging For Students In The Classroom

by TeachThought Staff

Blogging is–or should have been–a boon to teaching writing, but somehow it has never quite gotten there.

Though professional blogging (ahem) can indeed undermine some of the best parts of writing (which basically amounts to packaging deeper ideas for quick consumption in the high-traffic context of the internet), it has at its heart two of the most important ideas about writing: audience and purpose.

So when you want to communicate with extended stacks of paragraphs–as teachers love for students to do–blogging is great. They’re free, generally easy to use, and allow for students to share their thinking with the world (mercifully removing the primary teacher as the audience for the students’ thoughts).

But what else is there? What else might be possible that can take the best parts of both blogging and the writing process in general?

That allows students to communicate in new ways, but with that same sense of audience and purpose, diction and tone, the writing process and task awareness? With new modalities added in–videos, images, and nuanced social linking that conveys meaning and thematic development of its own?

Below are 8 alternatives to blogging in the classroom, each with their pros and cons, strengths and weaknesses. Perhaps one might work for you and your students.

8 Alternatives To Blogging For Students In The Classroom

1. Storybird

“Storybirds are short, art-inspired stories you can make and share on any device.” Sounds like 21st century writing to us.

2. Boomwriter

From the developer, “BoomWriter’s scalable platform allows teachers to run writing activities ranging in size from one to 5,000 students and up! Whatever the need, BoomWriter works well for individual students, small groups, individual classes, and grade-level cohorts. It can also be used to engage entire schools and even districts in interactive group writing activities.”

3. Instagram

More image than text yes, but text is possible, and the images can be magnificent. If nothing else, a wonderful supplement to traditional expository and prose-based writing.

4. Kidblog

This is more of a safe way for a student to blog than an alternative to student blogging, but by reducing many of the inherent challenges of helping children publish their thoughts online, it can be seen as an alternative to traditional blogging.

5. Penzu

Simple, no-nonsense format for basic entries and journaling.

6. Glogster

Videos, images, and words mashed together to convey a message–and easy to use as well.  

7. Flipgrid

If you don’t necessarily want students to write paragraphs on paper but rather write scripts for short videos to share with one another (or parents or you), then FlipGrid is a great alternative. Here are some ideas for using Flipgrid in the classroom.

8. Seesaw

Via Seesaw, students use built-in annotation tools via the web or app to capture and demonstrate what they know in Seesaw’s digital portfolio.