I am going to be presenting a session to teachers over the coming weeks about blogging, using blogs with their classes and using blogs professionally. One of the topics that I was going to discuss is “Why should you blog?” So… why do I blog?
I have been blogging for just under a year now. Last year I attended the CEGSA State Conference in Adelaide and was fortunate to listen to George Couros passionately talk about being a networked educator. George has a great blog on which he regularly posts about his thoughts, ideas and questions related to using technology in education, being a digital citizen and supporting teachers and students to engage with technology. During the conference George conducted a session about how to set up and use a blog. This session was the push that I needed to embark on the blogging journey.
After the conference I returned home excited about the possibilities of blogging and set up both a class and a ‘professional blog’. I returned to school eager to show the kids our class blog.
Our class blog has become a great place for the students to share what they have been doing with their families. I discovered that although the kids ‘liked’ our blog it wasn’t until I handed over the control of the blog to the class that they really began to engage with it. Once I let the kids be in charge of writing and sharing the posts the ‘ownership’ of the blog went from me to them. The kids wanted to know if anyone had commented and would ask if they could write something on the blog. They love looking at the statistics and finding out if anyone from overseas has looked at our blog, whose posts have had the most views and how many people have viewed our page. After viewing our class statistics one day a young boy in my class commented
“I never thought that someone in England would ever read something that I had written”.
This boy did not enjoy writing and found literacy difficult but through a blog post he was able to see a purpose for writing and realise that people (other than your teacher) do read things that you write.
My professional blog is an ongoing work in progress. One of the biggest reasons that I blog is for reflection. I have always loved the idea of sitting down at the end of the week and writing a journal about what I have done, what worked well and what didn’t but I never made the time to do this. Since starting this blog I am finding that I am reflecting on my role as a teacher more. I like working on computers and am a faster (and definitely neater) typer than I am a writer! I have finally found the medium that works for me and allows me to keep this journal that I always wanted.
Writing a blog post after a professional development session is a great way to reflect on what you have learnt and discussed. I find that if I reflect on PD that I am more likely to commit to implementing the training that I have attended. A great example of reflecting on a PD session is this one written by a staff member from Port Elliot after a recent training day on reading.
I use my blog to collect and gather my thoughts. This post has evolved from me sitting in my office thinking and making notes in my notebook about what I wanted to share with staff into something dynamic that I can easily share. I had planned to give staff a list of reasons why I blog but now I can direct them here and they can read my personal journey and hopefully get a better understanding of why I blog and use blogs in the class.
Another reason that I blog is for my own professional record. By blogging I have a permanent record of the training that I attend, reflections on my work, thoughts and questions, conversations that I have via comments and examples of what I do in my job. To me this is my resume. It is an up to date, dynamic collection of my professional thoughts and views.
Where do I find the time?
I know that this will be the number one reason that people will not engage with blogging. We are all busy with our professional life and are also trying to juggle our family and home commitments. However, since making blogging a priority I have managed to find the time. Usually it is after the kids have gone to bed and there is nothing on tv or even during the ads between tv shows that I am watching. At times, I blog straight after the kids leave school before I go home. Since making reflection a part of my job I have managed to find the time! If it is priority you will find a few minutes. I don’t think that every blog post needs to be an academic paper, sometimes it might just be a short post about my day, sometimes I might have spelling or typing errors (although I do try to proof read everything I put on line) and sometimes I might just put up a photo or video and reflect on that. Blog posts are personal and there is no right or wrong – just post!
So why do I blog – for reflection, to gather my thoughts, to ask advice and as a professional record.
Why do you blog?