Writing assignments will always be a part of school curriculum. However, the assignments are definitely evolving from the spiral-bound journals they came from. Many schools are beginning to change the way they approach education because of the huge role technology and social media plays in their students’ lives.
Many teachers have chose to replace notebooks with student blogs, allowing their pupils to publish their thoughts and allow for others to read and comment on them. Penn State is one of the major institutions that have adopted this blogging curriculum. Using Sites at Penn State, the faculty has experienced only positive reviews from students.
“One of the biggest benefits to using blogging in class is that students can interact with each others’ blogs,” said Priya Sharma, a Penn State associate professor of education tells <a href="http://"I like to pose broad questions that will get my students thinking without them feeling like they have to respond in a specific way," Sharma said. "They're not told what to write, just given the opportunity to express themselves. Plus, students don't have to stop at just writing their posts. They can also add other media, like photos, videos and links to other sources. The options for creativity and expression are much greater."
Allowing creativity in assignments helps the students further learn and explore. the concept. Blogging has become an important tool for this generation of students and schools are learning how apply these trends to their curriculum.
Teachers like Sharma explains that she give her students a broad writing prompt to allow for maximum self expression and is shocked by the finished posts.
"I like to pose broad questions that will get my students thinking without them feeling like they have to respond in a specific way," Sharma said. "They're not told what to write, just given the opportunity to express themselves."
Sharma further explains that she knows the students are enjoying the assignments because they are going above and beyond the minimum requirements.
"If you copy and paste some of these posts into Word, they amount to two or three pages," Sharma said. "If you would specifically assign that much writing, you might get an eye roll, but it can come naturally when the length is left up to them."
For teachers like Sharma, these assignments are achieving one of their most important goals: helping students find their own voice.