The ABC of ELT

A group blog vs individual student blogs

[This post is part of my series on helping students to blog]

One of the big debates I had when planning to impliment my blogging plan was individual vs group blogs.

Of course, there are many advantages of both options.

Individual blogs:
  • Students own space.
  • Can be an intensive to do extra writing, not just homework tasks or challenges.
  • Students can set their own privacy setting
  • Students are in COMPLETE control
  • Students can show it off to other people.
  • It is their own personal record rather than their groups.
Group Blogs:
  • They encourage collaboration in tasks set
  • Students, naturally, encounter each others work.
  • Encourages comments on each others work
  • Promote students to be braver and publish something for other students to see.
  • Provides a group record of work
  • Can allow students to hid behind group identity.
  • Provides a space to set tasks for other students by the teacher/other students.
  • It’s easier to set up 1 rather than 12 blogs!

As you can see each format has some distinct and highly valuable characteristics from their counter part and in some cases it may be a good idea to focus on one rather than the other (depending on the wants and needs of the group).

For my classes I started off setting up group blogs for each class. This allowed me to post the lessons board work, the homework task and some extra activities. It also allowed students to become familiar with the software, commenting and the general style of blogs.

This has worked quite well so far with some encouraging comments from students. However, I don’t feel this needs to be an either or approach. Instead, both is probably the best way to go. That way students can have a group blog to check assiagnments, collabrative tasks, links to other resources etc and their own private site to experiment on, write personal material and use as a personal portfolio.

There are of course some dangers in this approach:

  • Overload by using two blogs (from personal experience one can be more than enough)
  • Ambiguity as to which to use.
  • One may never end up being used (or even both!)

These are all good points though I usually take the approach that pushing both doors is a good idea and then if one (or both) fail then at least you gave them a try.

Which Do you use for your students? What problems have you had?

Next Post: How to encourage students to set up their own blog


About Chris Wilson

I'm an English Language teacher based in Krakow, Poland. I enjoy writing, using technology and playing the Ukulele.

One Reply

  1. We recently had students form groups of 4 and compose a group blog on a broad topic, with individual pages including argumentative research papers on four distinct narrowed topics, then a group bibliography page added on. The idea was to have group collaboration with individual learning as well, all while trying to keep a cohesion among the four papers.

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