Looking at how today's teachers are using blogs – the first post in a series looking at the many uses of blogging in today's educational institutions.
While blogging in general is well past the 'emerging' state, its use in education continues to evolve and expand. I think that a series of articles providing a broad overview of the topic, complete with worthy examples of education-oriented blogging, could provide a useful resource to educators considering blogging for the first time, and for anyone just trying to learn more about the topic.
Over the course of the series, I will look at the blogging practices of teachers, students, administrators, and education-based technologists. We'll start with a look at how teachers are using blogs.
Teachers have been using blogs for many years, and their use of blogging appears positioned for continued growth. Teachers use blogs to provide assignments to students, to communicate with other teachers about classroom experiences, or with other educators about the use of educational technologies, and for many other purposes.
Blogging can also provide an easy way for teachers to give parents insight into what’s going on in the classroom. I believe this type of school-to-parent communication will also increase, hopefully becoming commonplace in years ahead.
To provide some structure to this overview, I've chosen to consider teacher's blogging efforts from two primary perspectives: Teachers blogging to communicate with other teachers (which I think by default includes the ‘Internet audience’ in general); and teachers blogging to communicate with students (which includes a look at the use of blogging by teachers to the parent audience).
Teachers blogging to communicate other teachers (and anyone else who cares to ‘listen’)
The earliest uses of blogs by teachers were like most of the blogs that were first written in the 90’s and early 2000’s – blogging just for the sake of sharing thoughts with others who might be interested. Most bloggers start out just wanting to write and share their ideas, and possibly to encourage an online dialogue. For teachers whose blogging efforts focus on the classroom or other aspects of the teaching experience, it follows that the intended audience would be other teachers (those most likely to relate to what is being written), but other readers would also be welcomed.
Today, these sorts of general audience blogs from teachers cover a wide array of topics. Let’s take a look at some great examples of these types of educator’s blogs:
Spencer's Scratch Pad by John Spencer
I'll let John's words speak for themselves. “I teach. I write. I live. I want to do all three authentically. Paradoxically, I can only be real when I have the freedom to be imaginative. So here is my scratch pad where I draw my doodles and write my meandering musings and speak a few words.”
Dan's been at it a long time (since 2006, which is long by ‘blogospheric standards', to coin a phrase). He's also won and/or been nominated for a number of Edublog Awards.
Division by Zero by Dave Richeson
Dave Richeson is an Associate Professor of Mathematics at Dickinson College and he blogs about a nice variety of topics, including math, puzzles, teaching, and academic technology (as per his blog's tagline!). His posts really are a bit of potpourri – scroll through and check out whatever interests you.
Andrew is a history teacher in Connecticut and Chair of the Commission on Professional Development (CPD) in the Connecticut Association of Independent Schools. On his About Page he explains that he is, “interested in visual thinking, skills-based teaching, and constructivism” and that he, “struggles with issues of how to connect students to technology use beyond Facebook and MySpace.”
These example blogs provide a nice sampling of what some teachers are doing with these types of ‘teacher-to-teachers' or ‘teachers to anyone who wants to read it' blogs. A quick search with a qualified search engine for “teacher blogs” or “blogging teacher” will bring back plenty of results to scroll through if you wish to learn more (and can't wait for next week's post ;>).
Next week I am going to continue with the theme of teacher's blogs, but move the focus to ‘teacher to student(s)' and ‘teacher to parent(s)' blogging. In the meanwhile, any comments, suggestions, or thoughts are welcomed!
Related Posts (if the above topic is of interest, you might want to check these out):
5 Educator Guest Posts This Week on Microsoft’s Teacher Tech Blog
Blogging in (and out of) the classroom
Edublog Awards nominations