All of us involved in using blogs with our students understand the value of the activity: students become real writers with a real audience, can read and respond to each other’s work, become a community of thinkers/scholars/readers, etc.
But is there any added value to blogging school-wide?
I can think of two advantages of school-wide blogging over blogging in a class here and there.
First, a student’s blog—including posts for all of her classes—would become an automatically updating digital portfolio. We all remember student portfolios; did they ever take off where you work? Me neither. But imagine a student’s blog including work for almost all his classes extending over several years of schooling. What a document!
Not all blog posts are equal, of course, and casual writing typically predominates in a blog. But nothing would stop students from posting more formal, polished work in their blogs as well.
And with the ability to tag and categorize and archive posts, there’s no need for such an online portfolio to become unwieldy. It would be simple for a student applying to university, say, to select posts from a variety of classes over the last 2-3 years of high school, tag them all ‘portfolio’, and send them as a single hyperlink to any interested admissions office.
The second advantage of school-wide blogging? Think of all the paper a school could save. Or a school district. Or a whole nation of schools.
That’s a lot of paper.