|This blog post was originally posted at remindBlog and was written by Andrew Marcinek.|
Education blogs have evolved from “here’s what I think about everything” to a place where educators can share their educational practices, make meaningful connections with other educators, and reflect on the work he or she has done over the course of year.
Why should I blog?
The term blog is thrown around a lot in education. In the last five years, blogs have become a public voice for many educators. Blogs allow teachers to share and connect with others. Teachers can subscribe to other educators’ blogs and see how another teacher is teaching Hamlet in North Dakota. Education blogs have evolved from “here’s what I think about everything” to a place where educators can share their educational practices, make meaningful connections with other educators, and reflect on the work he or she has done over the course of year. Blogs have become an open source curriculum binder that help all educators connect, share and grow professionally.
Since it is Connected Educator Month, I felt this would be a good subject to cover. With that said, here are some ideas on how to get started.
1. Find a platform
This is probably the easiest part of the blogging process. It’s equivalent to picking out an outfit for the day. You’re tied to that shirt and tie combination, but you know you can change it if you’d like. In short, don’t spend a lot of time dwelling on the platform or the theme.
Blogger offers a simple setup process for users, and if your school has Google Apps for Education, you already have an account setup and waiting for you. If you don’t have a Google Apps for Edu environment, you can simply create a blogger account for free.
WordPress is not tied to any particular email or environment, but is free as well. WordPress also offers premium accounts that include purchasing your domain. This option is available for both Blogger and WordPress accounts. The difference is in the address. For example:
Own the domain: andymarcinek.com
Free domain blogger: andymarcinek.blogspot.com
Free domain WordPress: andymarcinek.wordpress.com
2. Define your message
Once you have your blog set up, you want to design a format and goal. Basically, who is your audience and what do you want to give them? Some Examples:
Communicate to parents and students – Have your parents and students subscribe to your blog through e-mail or through a new or existing Remind class. On Remind, parents and students can opt to receive your updates via e-mail, SMS messages, or app messages. This way every time you post, they will receive it directly on their phones. You can also directly tweet your Remind messages from your account after you send them (for those parents and students who follow you on Twitter).
As a classroom webpage – I’ve used a WordPress blog as my primary classroom page for the past few years and it’s worked great. It’s allowed me to archive old assignments and reflect on what I did, as well as my students. throughout the year. Plus, it’s a centralized location for information that students can access almost anywhere.
As a personal reflection page – Sometimes you just want to share your thoughts, or an idea that you’d like feedback on from your network. I’ve used this format to share both professional and personal items in my career and my life. I honestly feel that the constrictive, honest feedback has been wonderful. Plus, for me, writing about personal moments in my life, whether it be of sadness or joy, has been therapeutic for me and also for other members of my personal learning network. In short, it’s a good thing to share and accept feedback.
3. Enjoy and share the process
Blogging is both a selfish and selfless act. And, many times, thankless. Blogging is a good process for educators to get in the habit of doing. It’s a time for us to reflect on our work and possibly garner feedback that we can use to make us and our work better.
Blogging is also a selfless, thankless act. When we blog, we place ourselves on the stage for others to see and respond to directly. It’s also a place that no one may show up to. And that’s fine. We shouldn’t blog for fame, awards, or royalties from Adwords, but simply because sharing is a good thing. When we share our learning, our process, or our educational journey, we invariably help others with their learning, their process, and their journey.
About Andrew Marcinek
Andrew Marcinek has experience in combining technology and education spanning several years inside and outside of the classroom. Most recently he assumed the duties of Director of Technology at Grafton Public Schools. Prior to that, he served as the Director of Technology for Groton-Dunstable Regional School District and Instructional Technology Specialist at Burlington High School. Previously, he spent seven years as a secondary English teacher and college professor in Pennsylvania. At Burlington, he played a major role in launching a 1:1 iPad environment, organizing the iPad deployment and leading several educational technology professional development events in Burlington and Groton-Dunstable Regional School District. Learn more