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Pros: Kids get writing, communication, and teamwork practice, and can potentially learn about other regions and cultures.
Cons: Quads depend on a volunteer coordinator to keep things moving; classes may have to wait awhile before the next session starts.
Bottom Line: QuadBlogging can help classrooms strengthen their blog readership while kids build communication, collaboration, and social media skills.
Created by a vice principal in the UK, QuadBlogging can help students obtain social media experience while working in teams, in person or remotely. To register, educators enter their school name, blog URL, number of bloggers, Twitter handle, country, and e-mail address into an online form. Teacher names and e-mails will be visible on a site spreadsheet.
Educators can assign specific topics or encourage students to post entries in narrative and other expressive writing styles. Kids also can build up their discussion skills by posting comments. Because the cycle repeats, they get more than one chance to learn what topics and writing techniques resound with audiences, giving them the opportunity to adjust their performances their next time around.
Teachers can also request to be matched with classes in specific countries or regions to correspond with geography, language, or social studies lessons. The site doesn't guarantee that it'll be able to make a match, but students could potentially learn about other countries and cultures.
Editor's Note: QuadBlogging is no longer available.
Educators can sign up online for the next round of QuadBlogging, which matches a school or classroom with three other educational groups to help populate their blogs. Teachers can request the regions or countries they'd prefer to be matched with; every week, quad members focus on one of the group members' blogs, reading entries and leaving comments for the author. The next week, another group's blog is highlighted. The four-week rotation is repeated two to three times and gives each group a built-in readership. According to the site, more than 100,000 students from 3,000 classes in 40 countries have taken part in site-supported blogging.
The exercise can provide virtual groupwork experience and can help alleviate some of the frustration student bloggers may experience if their entries don't get a huge initial response. Students may get a chance to learn about other cultures and areas, and the system provides a fun way to practice writing, communication, self-expression, and teamwork skills.
Teachers need to do some prep work before signing up; their class will need to have a preexisting blog to participate, and registrants are asked to identify the number of bloggers. The process isn't immediate. Quadblogging cycles take place at specific times during the year (according to the site, the period from September to December is the most popular), so your class may have to wait a few months before group blogging opportunities are available. The suggested user age range spans from three years old to high school aged -- a guest blog entry discusses QuadBlogging with 4-year-olds in an early learning unit. However, teachers may find the system works best with junior high or high school students who possess the writing and time management skills to create regular blog entries.