I am really starting my Teacher’s Challenge today !( Beginner – Advanced ). I decided to do the advanced route, I hope I am up to the task.
This is my first assignment! Hope I get a good grade! Oh, I’m grading myself, so …
Assignment : Create a blog post on:
10 things you should know about blogging–OK
1. It is pretty EASY! I use Edublogs and I love it! I feel it is a wonderful platform. I know it is educationally based and friendly. Their tips and help are right on the money. I went for a pay account as I wanted to try this blogging thing out in a serious manner. I have stalked blogs and bloggers for well over a year and felt it was time to get aboard. Find ways to get your blog read!–more about that later— because you need to have it read! There are many blog sites that are great. I needed a simple one so I chose Edublogs. Here are a few more.
- Blogger– this is a google app, very easy and lots of people use it.
- WordPress– I feel this requires a bit more skill, just sayin! But some very cool sites are created with this
- PBworks-this part of PBworks is free–I have not used it but I know that many do. Worth a FREE look!
2. READ other blogs! Then read more blogs! Educators are prolific and there are a ton of excellent blogs out there. I started reading a few and now I am hooked on many. I suggest starting with some of the best. Those listed below have been winners of awards for blogging. Comment on their blogs–they will usually get back to you with a comment. It starts the conversation. It get you connected!
- Larry Ferlazzo– The guru of The BEST-Lists- An ELL expert and great disseminator of information online. His stuff rocks! A runner up for best individual blog.
- Lucy Gray– A great resource to techie blogging–
- Richard Byrne– The 2010 winner of Best Individual Blogg on Edublogs. He is a great blogger and his posts are filled with excellent tips, information and links.
- Kirsten Winkler– A 2010 runner up for Best Individual Blog. Excellent organization of information and links. Really good site.
3. Join Twitter! It is a wonderful tool. It is a daunting exercise at first. So much information in such a fast paced manner. Get on and stalk. Create an account and observe. Follow a few prominent educational tweeters. Start with those listed below. Then retweet! Follow, follow, follow! Soon you will be followed! It is a very cool feeling when you get your first followers! Your twitter network will grow from there. On twitter you can find many, many resources.At times almost too many. You can also grow a following for your blog by tweeting your link. Who knew? Is a blog a blog if no one reads it, or is it just your own notes? You can also post your blog link in your profile. Tweeting a link to a new post or linking your blog will get you some attention on your blog. REMEMBER you want people to read it and comment! Here are some suggestions on educators to follow on Twitter. Start with them and follow who they follow.
- @Larryferlazzo- yes him again-a must follow
- @kylepace- a good tweeter-good resources
- @ShellTerrell-great voice on twitter-follow her
- @DanielPink-a revolutionary in thinking about drive
Another twitter concept is the hashtag –the # sign. I was lost at first on this topic. I finally figured it out.! Amazing to feel like a real student again –having to FIGURE out something hard and not intuitive. The hashtag is a way for you to find topics or create topics with threaded conversations. Simply put the # sign in front of a word, words, or an acronym and you will see all conversations with that hashtag. Here are a few educational hashtags. Put them in your tweet and GO!
- #edchat- a weekly chat about educational topics- a MUST
- #TLChat- Teacher -Librarian chat
- #edtech- good technology thread
4. Think about what you are passionate about and blog about it! There are posts about everything. Some of the best posts I have ever read were about very simple things. Sharing our ideas about students and lessons is very important. Teaching can be a solitary endeavor if we do not share. It has been my experience that collaboration makes the teaching experience better for all concerned, teachers and students!
5. Connect with teachers you know that actually Blog already. Yes, they are around! Share your blog with your colleagues directly. Ask for them to read and comment on your posts–maybe even before your go live! Encourage colleagues to join you if you cannot find anyone already active. Form a community. Share, there is a lot of research supporting the motivational value of group work! We grouping in our classrooms as a motivational tool, why not in our own learning?
6.Write it down! Take notes on your daily musings. This will help you to know what you would like to talk/write about. Keep a record of anecdotes that are worth sharing. This has helped this 50 year old brain remember what I meant to remember!
7. Blog with your students and allow them to help/teach you! This is wonderful on about a million levels. They will relish the opportunity to teach you. They will also love blogging. Writing without an audience can feel inauthentic. Give them an audience beyond you and their parents. You can limit the audience, it does not have to be the world at large. It is a tool they will certainly use in their academic life and life outside of school. Prepare them and let them prepare you! Here are some kid friendly sites for blogging.
- Kidblog– a free, very easy, and secure environment to allow blogging into your classroom
- Radiowaves– free, school friendly site
8. Join Google Apps for Educators- This opens up a vast store of functionality to you. The site has a multitude of collaborative and communication tools that are both easy to use and widely used. Google has excellent “how to” videos and tutorials. Also, Google’s wide use allows you to tweet your PLN for help or feedback with a solid chance of being answered. Everyone uses it!
9. Subscribe to a RSS service. This will allow you to filter and read all of the bloggers you follow. According to Google Feeds: feeds are a way for websites large and small to distribute their content well beyond just visitors using browsers. Feeds permit subscription to regular updates, delivered automatically via a web portal, news reader, or in some cases good old email. Feeds also make it possible for site content to be packaged into “widgets,” “gadgets,” mobile devices, and other bite-sized technologies that make it possible to display blogs, podcasts, and major news/sports/weather/whatever headlines just about anywhere.
- Feedburner– a google app that allow you to sort and read all the blogs you follow in a manageable way.
- Googlereader– a RSS service from google– nice visual format.
10. TAKE A CHALLENGE or a class, or create one—for yourself or for a group of educational bloggers. Committing to a challenge or a class will motivate you–yes, you are a teacher so you are task completion oriented! I suggest trying The Teacher Challenge as it is really straight forward and has lots of support on the site. I’m sure there are others, I am not aware of another good one. Feel free to send me links about any you might know about.
Finally, Just DO IT! It might just change your life or the lives of your students!