the blogging journey continues…

So, not content to just have this professional outpouring of a blog, I’ve now set up an ICT class blog. I teach Grades Prep, 3/4 and 5/6 and am amazed and proud by the work they create and want to share it with the world. I’m not really sure about the practicalities of that right now but have funnelled my enthusiasm into setting up the blog. Sometimes I miss not having a ‘conventional’ classroom and this is definitely one of those times. I wish I’d discovered blogging as a classroom teacher – the lure of an authentic audience would motivate students so much and I can’t think of a better way to instill the idea of being a ‘global citizen’ than through blogging.

But I shall have to be happy with a slightly watered down version of the student blogging experience – watch this space to see how it goes!

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Blogging – why?

On Monday, I’m due to deliver some Professional Development to staff at my school on the topic of blogging. But why?

I know why I blog. I value the opportunity to reflect on things I’ve learnt, things that didn’t work, things that I’ve been reading or things I’m keen to try. I enjoy the dialogue with other educators about these topics and the feedback and ideas I get that help enhance my teaching. I like having an online presence as part of a community of bloggers who share, discuss, debate and dissect. And, like student bloggers, I like having an authentic audience for my writing. It means so much more when you think there is even the smallest chance that someone else might read it. That feeling is so much more powerful when your audience could potentially be from the far flung corners of the globe.

However, they’re my reasons. What are yours? Why do you blog? Why should my colleagues be encouraged to do so? And why should we get our students on board?

What makes an effective blog post?

A task in the teacher blogging challenge asks bloggers to identify an effective blog post and think about the characteristics that make it so. I read a blog post a short while ago that I believe is effective, written by Sylvia Martinez about the tendency to blame new technology for a range of human shortcomings. In this case, it referred to an article which had appeared in the New York Times about children becoming distracted and unable to maintain focus thanks to their addiction to digital devices.

Why is this an effective blog post?

  • It’s well written. It sounds simple but a blog post is a public document wanting to attract readers and it needs to be written in an inviting and accessible way.
  • It stays on topic. Wandering blog posts which never really reach a point are great if you’re needing a good night’s sleep but aren’t good for much else.
  • It says something important. This is a bit of an open concept and is bound to be viewed differently by everyone. I find what Sylvia has to say in this post to be really important but, more importantly, so does Sylvia. If your blog post isn’t something you’re passionate about (or at least very interested in), don’t bother. Tell your cat instead.
  • It has a voice of it’s own. Sylvia brings together references and ideas that she’s encountered but adds in her own thoughts and insights. Blogs (usually) aren’t meant to be impartial and readers expect you to have an opinion. Even better if you make sure you can back it up.
  • It leaves you thinking. The really effective posts I’ve read stick in my head because they make me question myself, my beliefs or my practices. Giving a reader questions to ponder once they’ve digested your post is a good way to generate comment and discussion as well as giving your blog the potential to be an agent of change in others. Powerful stuff.
  • It’s short. If I have to scroll down too far, I give up. If I want depth, I’ll read a book. On that note, I’m off. Don’t want any of you falling asleep…..