(I originally posted this about two months ago. I am reposting it with a few changes.)
Why do I blog?
1. I have found that the practice of putting my thoughts together about our school, how we impact our students, involve parents, incorporate technology, and attempt to change in what I consider to be revolutionary times (in education) allows me clarify where I stand on many issues. It is as much about self examination and professional growth as it is trying to move our institution forward…..if those two things can be seperated. I will have to admit when Ms. Hill challenged our faculty to examine the aspects of Web 2.0 and she told us many teachers as well as administrators were blogging, I was very apprehensive about it and even thought putting my thoughts into words for public consumption could be dangerous (how I do not know, but it sounded like a good excuse!), but now that I have tried it, I must say I really like it!
2. I cannot expect staff to try new things if I am not willing to. I have done blogcasts, podcasts, twitters, blogs, and Skype and will be trying more as time goes on. I want to use this technology to engage staff in the same way they can engage their students. Web 2.0 tools simply make doing what used to take a lot of effort very easy. I can remember teaching my own students in Comtempory Problems how to make webpages, with Google Pagemaker and Blogger, making a web page is as easy as typing a paper. Students love to post their work online. The interviews that some students did in which they interviewed veterans or family members about their experiences in “living through” history could have been digitally stored and available for many to hear and learn from! Individual staff members have different comfort levels and I realize that not all teachers can make a giant leap in using technology in class. The beauty of web 2.0 tools is that they empower the student and put them in charge of their learning. You do not have to use fancy computer stuff or other tech gadgets to do that!
3. It is a great way to communicate. As many of you know, I am not the greatest communicator. (I heard that!) By forcing myself to “address” our staff, students and community stakeholders I do believe I have been able communicate more effectively. I know I still have a long ways to go, but blogging is allowing me to grow in this area. I am amazed that this page gets about 30 visits a day! I wish more people would tell me what they think. Some schools have done a very good job of creating an online learning community. This medium can allow for the exchange of ideas and information in a very transparent way. Click here or here for great examples!
4. I am hoping to encourage our staff to use this medium to engage students, parents and the community. We have seen a few examples in this school how blogs can be used. We have only scratched the surface. If you are truly interested in seeing how a blog can be used as a “virtual” extension of your classroom, see me. There are some great examples. Blogging is the first step in moving towards what I believe is a shift educators must make in order to reach students. Teenagers are spending lots of time online on social networking sites sharing thoughts, ideas and creating some fantastic stuff (and some not so great stuff too!) on places like Facebook and MySpace. They will naturally gravitate and become engaged if we incorporate the best features of the everchanging information age in how we engage our students!
I think the mediums by which students communicate and are entertained have advanced to the point where we must consider those influences and change our pedagogy accordingly