Looking at howÂ today's teachers are using blogs – theÂ first post inÂ a series looking atÂ the manyÂ uses of blogging in today'sÂ educational institutions.
While blogging in general is well past the 'emerging' state, its use in education continues to evolve and expand.Â I think that a series of articlesÂ providing a broad overview of the topic, complete with worthy examples of education-oriented blogging, could provideÂ a useful resource to educatorsÂ considering blogging for the first time, and forÂ anyone just trying to learn more about the topic.
Over the course of the series, I willÂ look atÂ the blogging practices ofÂ teachers,Â students, administrators, and education-based technologists. We'llÂ start with a look atÂ 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 giveÂ parents insight intoÂ whatâ€™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 primaryÂ perspectives: Teachers blogging to communicate with other teachers (which I think by defaultÂ includesÂ the â€˜Internet audienceâ€™ in general); and teachers blogging to communicate with students (which includes a look atÂ theÂ use ofÂ blogging by teachers to theÂ parent audience).
Teachers blogging to communicate other teachers (and anyone else who cares to â€˜listenâ€™)
The earliest uses of blogs by teachers were like most of the blogs that were first written in the 90â€™s and early 2000â€™s â€“ 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 likelyÂ 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 wideÂ array of topics. Letâ€™s take a look at some great examples of these types of educatorâ€™s blogs:
Spencer's Scratch PadÂ by John Spencer
I'llÂ let John's words speak for themselves.Â “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 Myersâ€™ Blog (â€œdy/danâ€)
Dan's been at it a long time (since 2006, which is long byÂ ‘blogospheric standards', to coin a phrase). He's also won and/or been nominated for a number of Edublog Awards.Â
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 isÂ a history teacher in Connecticut andÂ Chair of the Commission on Professional Development (CPD) inÂ the Connecticut Association of Independent Schools.Â Â 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 toÂ read it' blogs. A quick search withÂ 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 ‘teacherÂ to parent(s)' blogging.Â 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 Microsoftâ€™s Teacher Tech Blog
Blogging in (and out of) the classroom
Edublog Awards nominations
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I started getting enough traffic from this one article that I figured I should check out what you said… Thanks very much for the shout-out, and I like what you’re doing.
I’m adding you to my regular reading list, and (once I get around to revising my blogroll), I’ll be adding you to the list of blogs linked from my main page.
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Interesting to think of the purposes of blogging. I believe that many teachers use it as a Reflective practice – sorting out thoughts about their teaching, new tools, skills etc. If others read their blogs then they ass ist that reflection – give other insights etc. (if they comment that is)
Just a thought – I am preparing a post on just this at the moment. Not ready yet though! I’ll come back and read your next instalment
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