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8 Brilliant Alternatives To Blogging In The Classroom

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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 pervert 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, 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.

Update: Recently stumbled on Storehouse, an app for iPad. It’s more visual than textual, but what isn’t anymore? And it could preface or summarize more extended writing very well. So I guess that makes 9 alternatives to blogging.

1. Storify

Journalism gone social. Or social media gone journal. Or blogging in-network. Or, well, what is storify, exactly? It’s a platform that allows the publishing of ideas.

So, writing.

2. Storybird

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

3. Tumblr

The popular-with-the-kids baby blog that would probably be awkward to use to publish straight academic work, but then again, when was it bad to avoid purely academic work in pursuit of native audiences and swank digital formats?

4. 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.

5. oneword

Writing is a muscle, and atrophies without use. oneword is an excellent daily exercise tool that can be entirely learner-directed.


6. ohlife

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

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7. Glogster:

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



8. Google+

We’ve talked about using Google+ in the classroom before, but with easy to use groups and visibility settings, simple embedding of videos and images, and the ability to easily share files with Google Drive for digital portfolio curation, Google+ is a must-have tool for the digital teacher and student.




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