It’s become increasingly common for primary and secondary school teachers to create classroom blogs. Blogging provides unique opportunities for enhanced collaboration and discussion, building authentic audiences, and sharing student work with families. In addition, there are several studies that maintain showcasing student writing online both shapes pupils’ literary confidence while boosting their motivation to excel. If a student receives positive feedback and reviews from a global audience, they’ll feel better about themselves and their literacy skills.
Still, it can be challenging to create an online environment from the bottom up. It takes time and dedication — time that hard-working teachers might not have — to cultivate an engaged audience and also build a blog using a web-based program.
Fortunately, three teachers eager to provide their pupils with the benefits of student blogging, recognised these common challenges and sought to make a difference. In 2013, they created Pobble, an intuitive, easy-to-use education platform that provides pupils and teachers with a close-knit online audience — ultimately enabling teachers to focus their time and energy teaching students rather than tedious technical work.
That said, here are four ways Pobble makes learning easier for students, parents, teachers, and schools.
1. One big community
It’d typically be up to the teacher to create online connections, build a wider audience for their pupils’ writing, and continuously ensure that this audience is actively engaged. This of course, is no easy task.
At Pobble, we focus on building meaningful interactions among teachers, parents, and pupils. It’s a large online community, but an engaged one. Pobble is already being used by 300+ schools and boasts a community of international students, teachers, and parents just waiting to comment, view, and like other pupil writing samples.
Pobble also gives special access to parents, so that parents are notified when their child’s work has been published — effectively strengthening the school’s ability to connect parents to their child’s learning journey. In addition, the Pobble team hosts parent-oriented workshops, designed to teach parents more about Pobble and discuss best practices for commenting and engaging on the platform. This, too, enhances community engagement.
2. Better internet safety awareness
In general, classroom blogging is a great way to provide a context for teaching young students about internet safety. Yet, Pobble goes a few steps further.
Firstly, Pobble has a team of fantastic teachers who can work in schools to deliver IT sessions. This takes the onus away from individual teachers who might not be sufficiently trained to discuss internet safety. In addition to general safety tips, members from the Pobble staff teach students how to write positive, respectful, and helpful comments on other students’ work. In learning to identify the good in other students’ work, pupils develop peer assessment skills — an important lesson mandated in the national curriculum.
Secondly, Pobble moderates all comments, ensuring that they meet the Pobble safety and respect standards. If a teacher holds an individual blog, this teacher would be tasked with moderating the comments, which can be tedious and time consuming.
Lastly, for most pupils, Pobble is their first interaction with the Internet. In teaching students to respond and comment respectfully on the Pobble site, Pobble is creating a generation of mindful and well mannered internet users — who in the future might use the same good behavior they learned from Pobble on other similarly structured social sites.
3. Whole school approach
Pobble enables entire schools to track their overarching portfolio and see how many collective views, comments, and likes the students in their school have received, no matter the class and year. In addition to building unity, schools can use this information to motivate students during celebration assemblies each week. It’s a brilliant way to engage students and incentivise them to keep writing well.
This, unfortunately, might not be the case if individual teachers were to each have their own classroom blogs.
4. Providing additional resources for teachers
Even if a teacher’s school is not yet signed up with Pobble, an individual teacher can still browse through 70,000+ student writing pieces — the largest bank of children’s handwritten work — for free. This way, before introducing a new genre of writing to her class, a teacher can go through and analyze a piece of student writing she found on Pobble with her students, rather than showing and analyzing an article she wrote herself. If young students see that something was written by someone their age, they’d connect better to the lesson and be more excited to tackle the project.
Additionally, because Pobble is dedicated to enhancing education, the team at Pobble created Pobble 365 — a free resource for teachers that provides them with an inspired morning activity for each day of the year.