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 aha 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. My classmates’ homework was available for everyone to review and comment on, and last but not least, a priceless library of resources built by every edtech cohort to date is at 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 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 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.
Many teachers continue to 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.
4. Improve Your Reading Skills
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.
5. 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.
6. 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.
7. 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 as “literacy in the 21-century," what teacher would want to become illiterate?
8. 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)!
9. 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.
And a couple of quotes I recently came across; I hope you find them inspiring!
“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!” - Zig Zagler