My EDTECH journey at Boise State University was an eye-opening and life-changing experience in too many ways to count. Blogging was one of the professional activities I got exposed to as a student; and, it is also one practice I want to continue as part of my teaching.
In every EDTECH course, I was required to keep a digital learning log as a platform to post homework assignments, reflect on my learning and progress, showcase projects, ask for help, share a-ha moments, share resources, and, finally, organize artifacts for my M.E.T. portfolio. Right from the start, the whole concept of homework changed; there were no more papers written to be read by no one, the classmates’ homework was available for everyone to review and comment on, and, last but not least, this priceless library of resources built by the EDTECH cohorts to date is still under my fingertips!
But is blogging only suitable for students? Would teachers, busy as they are, also benefit from blogging? Should every teacher engage in blogging and build her/his own teacher-centered blog?
Absolutely! And here is the WHY part.
Share. Share your successful projects, ideas, resources, etc. Think of those brief, on-the-go encounters with fellow teachers by a microwave or coffee machine; don’t they often turn into helpful “how-to” sessions, where we exchange our best teaching practices, lesson ideas, or classroom management strategies? Expand that “kitchen space” and reach out to thousands of teachers worldwide. Blogging will enable you to share 24/7/365!
Reflect. Reflect on your own learning and teaching by engaging in the best thinking activity - writing! What kind of a teacher are you? What kind of a learner? What is your teaching philosophy or style? What are your beliefs and preferences? Blogging will reveal your own story to you! Also, blogging will help you clear up the head and make sense of your own thinking, organize and visualize your ideas, and record your progress.
Publish. Many teachers continue research well beyond their grad school. Just as writing was the way to process and report the findings while back in school, blogging will support the same goals. Turn your blogging into your own degree while writing for a real audience and receiving real feedback.
Improve your reading skill. Even though blogging is mainly a writing activity, it will encourage you to read more! Blogging requires reading; reading more books, other blogs, articles, etc. It will, however, alter the way you select and process new information as you will be connecting it to the topics you write about. You will develop certain filters and improve your ability to analyze and synthesize new information and think critically.
Serve others. Build your own library of content and resources and share it with others. Wouldn’t it be nice to create a library of useful links, articles, content, activities, etc., and share them with educators who teach the same grade, level, or student population? Want to curate a topic? Share your collection on your blog! We all turn to the Internet when searching for ideas or materials. Selecting the best resources and organizing them on your blog will save others a lot of time.
Lead your own PD. Turn your blogging into your own professional development. Engage with your audience and build your Personal Learning Network or Environment (PLN or PLE). Your blog can turn into the best professional development you could ever hope to have. It will help you identify your starting point, where you are at at the moment, and where you are heading.
Become a digital citizen. Become proficient with technology. Establish digital presence. Build a positive digital footprint. Blogging will make you a producer (as opposed to a consumer) of information. Living in this amazing time gives you an unprecedented opportunity to contribute and show your unique point of view. You can create your positive digital footprint and become more proficient with technology. As digital literacy often being defined “the literacy” in the 21 century, what teacher would want to become illiterate?
Be ahead of your students. More and more teachers make blogging a requirement for students. Having this experience will enable you to foresee the difficulties, learning curves, or fears students may face along the way. It will also give you some exposure to possible technical issues that may arise as well as how to fix them. Finally, you can model by showing students your own blog (you can even teach from your blog)!
Showcase student work. Showcase your students’ work and projects. Similar to inviting other teachers and students in the past, only now you can showcase worldwide! Your students will also be able to leave their comments and share your blog.
ISTE Standard #3. Model digital age work and learning Teachers exhibit knowledge, skills, and work processes representative of an innovative professional in a global and digital society.
a. Demonstrate fluency in technology systems and the transfer of current knowledge to new technologies and situations;
b. Collaborate with students, peers, parents, and community members using digital tools and resources to support student success and innovation;
c. Communicate relevant information and ideas effectively to students, parents, and peers using a variety of digital age media and formats;
d. Model and facilitate effective use of current and emerging digital tools to locate, analyze, evaluate, and use information resources to support research and learning.
ISTE Standard #5. Engage in professional growth and leadership Teachers continuously improve their professional practice, model lifelong learning, and exhibit leadership in their school and professional community by promoting and demonstrating the effective use of digital tools and resources.
a. Participate in local and global learning communities to explore creative applications of technology to improve student learning;
b. Exhibit leadership by demonstrating a vision of technology infusion, participating in shared decision making and community building, and developing the leadership and technology skills of others;
c. Evaluate and reflect on current research and professional practice on a regular basis to make effective use of existing and emerging digital tools and resources in support of student learning;
d. Contribute to the effectiveness, vitality, and self-renewal of the teaching profession and of their school and community.
And a couple of quotes I recently came across; I hope you find them inspiring! Happy Blogging!
“A journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step” Lao-tzu
“You don’t have to be great to start, but you have to start to be great!”