Technology runs today’s society. So, educators now have the opportunity to help prepare students to thrive within a tech-based society in a safe, productive way.
Blogging as a long-term class project can help students learn about the benefits and dangers of digital communication while simultaneously helping them create a positive internet presence that will follow them long after high school.
To help students start a blog, educators will need to teach them all the basic tools bloggers use to choose an overall theme or topic, target a specific audience, choose material to share with that audience, and maintain the blog over time.
Based on these necessities, educators can focus on four basic lessons when it comes to helping students start and maintain a blog through a long-term project for school.
First, students will need to choose a topic for their blog that not only speaks to them and relates to the message they want to share with the world, but also that will connect with others in some way.
To find a blog topic, students can make a list of their interests and passions. Perhaps students will want to start a blog about an overall topic or theme based on their academic interests.
For example, some students might want to blog about making environmentally friendly choices or another topic related to social and environmental justice.
Other students might choose to start a blog about a sport they play, like hockey, ballet, soccer, or football, or an artistic craft they have been working on, like theatre, poetry, painting, or music. Students might choose to blog about their lifestyles with an emphasis on fashion, cooking, makeup, family, traveling, etc.
Students might also choose a “how to” blog topic, like how to start a school club, volunteer in your local community, move to a new city, or start a business.
Some students might even decide they’d rather start a “vlog” than a blog, focusing on video content rather than longer essay-style blog posts.
Whatever students choose, their topic should be appropriate for high school, interesting to them, and also interesting to readers. The topic should also be wide-ranging enough that students will have material to share based on different aspects of the topic over a long period of time.
Once students have chosen a topic they can blog about long-term, they will also need to decide what their target audience looks like based on that topic.
For example, if a student’s blog is about traveling, they might be targeting an audience of fellow travel enthusiasts around their age.
You can ask your students questions like, what types of people might be interested in your content? How old are they? Where do they live? What things do they like to do?
Choosing a target audience will help students decide how they will frame their blog, the word choices they’ll make when they write their posts, color schemes they will use, etc. Basically, choosing an audience will help students decide what their “brand” is like.
Next, students will need to start curating material for their blog. They might find that one topic is too limited, so they’ll need to expand the topic or find other angles from which to approach it.
You can encourage students to come up with a schedule of topics, perhaps based on the idea that they’ll post once- or twice-a-week for a year.
They can come up with a list of topic ideas, knowing that once they have this list, maintaining the blog will be a lot easier. They will start the blog in class and then maintain it on their own once the long-term project is over, if they choose to do so.
Finally, students will need to learn how to actually create and maintain the blog. This includes the logistics of the technology they will need to use and the creativity they will utilize as they continue to post on their blog over time.
This part of the lesson will require students to learn how to utilize internet software or online templates, web design, and web maintenance. They will also need to learn how to maintain their online presence and establish their unique voice through the blog.
The creation and maintenance of a blog serves as such an effective project for students because of the takeaways and lessons they will learn through the process.
Not only will they be able to find and hone their voice, but they will also learn how to utilize their creativity as a sort of business tool and craft an online presence that feels authentic and helpful for their future careers.
Here is just a selection of the possible takeaways for students:
By starting a blog, students will learn elements of web design and maintenance. Even if you find an easy-to-use web design service, students will inevitably learn about how to personalize their blog in a way that feels authentic to them.
This is a great tool for any student to learn and grow, as digital marketing and the use of the web has become such an important aspect of any business or venture.
Of course, students will also learn how to write effectively. Whether they are sharing information about their favorite topic, trying to teach others how to accomplish a task, or arguing for social change, they will learn how to tailor the voice of their writing to their topic and specific audience.
Even if students choose to create a vlog rather than a blog, they will learn how to organize the information they share in an easily digestible format for viewers.
Students will also learn about how to create a brand that feels authentic to them and market their blog so that people will see it.
They might learn a bit about digital marketing, depending on what you decide to teach them along with the project.
And they will learn how to choose colors, fonts, logos, etc. that will go with their blog and create a cohesive look and feel according to their target audience.
Inevitably, students will learn about communications and how to communicate using not only words but also images, layouts, and color schemes. They will learn how to tailor their message to suit their voice and their audience.
Finally, students will learn how to maintain online etiquette and safely maintain their online presence.
They will need to learn about how to choose their own level of privacy online, keep personal information to themselves, and make choices about what to share online.
Starting a blog is such a great school project for high school students, because there are so many long-term benefits of blogging.
Beyond the academic lessons students will learn by starting a blog, they will also have the long-term benefit of the online presence they choose to create.
Especially depending on what they choose as their blog topic, students will have a collection of content they can use to impress colleges and future employers. If they have artistic goals, students will have an online portfolio ready to share.
As long as they create their online presence responsibly, students will benefit greatly from starting a blog and could maintain their blog well into the future.
Since 2002, NSHSS has supported young academics on their journey to college and beyond as they prepare to become the leaders of tomorrow. The mission behind NSHSS is to recognize academic excellence and honor high-achieving students, providing them with the resources and network to excel in college, career and community. In doing so, NSHSS connects members with global events, scholarship opportunities, college fairs, internships, career and leadership programs, partner discounts, and more. Discover what makes NSHSS worth it to student members and how you can get involved.
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