Thursday, 8 October 2015

Why Blog?

I was working in a school recently introducing the concept of blogging. When I first raised the subject, one of the teachers quickly interrupted and said, "That's what that Whale Oil guy does.  How on earth is that relevant to us?"

It was a secondary school and I was quickly able to get his attention by saying blogging was a way to gather evidence for NCEA assessments. Many of his students lost their paperwork and so he could see that if the students could use their phones to take and blog photos of their technology process in action, along with some simple reflections, that would meet the need for evidence for assessment.  A breakthrough!

In another school, a teacher questioned the need to put yourself as an educator, out there.  This is a common theme in schools. "I value my privacy" is the common objection.  Well, I believe this is a new age.  You need to put yourself out there to grow as an educator.  You need to express your opinions, reflect on what you learn to gain deeper understanding and also get feedback from others. This is how you learn to collaborate - work together to achieve goals, with a shared understanding.

Another teacher told me it was narcissistic to blog.  That was interesting.  I think there is an element of truth in that we are often looking at ourselves when we blog, examining our own beliefs, reflecting in the pool of "do I like what I see?"  I also believe that knowing oneself also forces you to see warts that need removing, flaws that need remedy.  Yes, sometimes it even forces you into depression.  But it forces you to move. Do you believe the same thing that you did 10 years ago?   In the words of Michael Jackson "I'm looking at the man in the mirror.  I'm asking him to change his ways."

I am also getting a lot of the "we spend too much time on devices" talk.  Well, I think that you spend as much time as you allow yourself to.  So if you don't take a break and interact with the people around you face to face, then whose fault is that?   I see blogging as part of what I do as an educator. In the Victorian days, they used to keep diaries.  I wonder if people used to say "you are spending too much time writing in your diary."

Many of the benefits of blogging for younger students are well documented.  Authentic audiences raise the level of learners' writing.  They also develop the skills of communication with the guidance of their teachers and parents through digital citizenship.

Blogging is a great way to be a connected educator in the month of the Connected Educator.  Do yourself a favour and start blogging today.  You can have several blogs - private, public or shared with just a few.  Here is my video which tell you how to start a blog on Blogger.

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