There are relatively few ICT skills, if any, that are unique to blogging, yet its nature allows it to be used as an excellent platform to teach certain key web skills. There are just two that I would highlight for anyone new to blogging (and I’m including teachers as well as children in this). Note, I’m not talking about writing skills here, simply ICT skills.
Tags are the principal means by which you make the content on your blog searchable. They are simply labels that you attach to a piece of writing to define, categorise, pigeonhole. These labels automatically build up into a search index to your blog allowing readers to find the content they are looking for. If you have 30 children in your class and they all write 1 blogpost a week, by the end of the school year you will have in excess of 1000 posts on your blog. Without tags they may as well be casting their writing into a black hole.
The key difference between this blogpost that you are reading on your computer and reading the same post on a piece of paper or in a book is that fact that it is digital. This means that if you really do want to read more in depth material that I’ve written on tagging you can click on the hyperlink above and be taken to that article. You are not reduced to looking up a list of references at the back of a book and heading off to the library to dig them out. Children can use hyperlinks in blogposts in all manner of ways. Whether it’s presenting research on a topic to writing a recount about a trip to a museum, the ability to change a piece of dry text into a hyperlink rich digital resource is perhaps the most important power that the internet affords us. Yet, due in large part to the Literacy Strategy which gave every genre a list of key features which teachers often learned almost by rote, whenever we write stuff on our blogs we so often do it as if we were writing in a book. This might be fine for a story (what about hyperlinking to previous/next chapters?) but is absolutely no good for non fiction.