After the “Technology Day” today the thing I would like all teachers to do would be to start, and maintain, a blog. There are several reasons to do this but there are 2 major ones.The first reason is for them to understand what others are discussing, debating, thinking about and that gives anyone a better understanding of a wider world, rather than just the school they work in, and the second reason is to slow down and think/reflect on what they understand, have worked through, done, would like to do/continue. Today’s world is one where you can become very busy, just “doing”, without stopping to think about the how, or indeed why. Time spent reflecting on what we are doing should be important to all educators.
How would I like them to begin? I put up the CommonCraft video, Blogging in Plain English, on a wiki, for the staff at today’s session. These are such good resources for those who have not yet started investigating Web2.0 technologies and many are available on TeacherTube.
I would encourage all of them to spend time reading the blogs of others. There are plenty of blogs out there, more coming on line every minute, or so it seems. To get a feel for what they want their blog to say and how they may want to communicate their ideas, they need to see what is out there and what works for them. Once you have spent time reading through blogs, you will know which ones appeal/interest you and you get different perspectives on areas that interest you. You can then feel more comfortable creating your own blog. You than can also feel more self assured in using blogs with classes and in student learning.
Creating a blog is easy, creating a “good” blog is more difficult. The input is important and the design and what you add also increases the readability and usefulness of the blog. However again, no-one has to feel alone. There are many places to go for advice and help, be it adding images, video, audio, widgets, links, etc. In 2006, CoolCat Teacher Blog had “10 habits of blogger’s that win” and another interesting blog post is Dean Shareski’s Student and teacher blogging that succeeds . There are many more entries on blogs about blogging.
So how can I get them to have a digital place? How can I encourage them to realise that the collaboration and social networking will not make their lives more difficult? That they can be stimulated and encouraged by what they read and share? That their teaching experiences can be made much the richer from using Web2.0? I don’t know yet but I will keep on trying.