Blogging Goes To School

Are blogs entering or leaving schools? Both.
That's the expressive power of blogs and their reach
beyond the school walls for teachers and students.
Rather than creating a new blog for the purposes of my TEC-950 elective course, Web 2.0 Tools for the Classroom, as part of the CUE Innovative Educator Certificate program, I've chosen to include the posts here. This blog is still in its infancy and I can't imagine starting another at this point!

Module 6 focuses on blogging in schools. No matter what blogging platform is used their reach extends beyond the school walls. Blogs allow for an exchange of ideas both within the classroom and beyond. Blogging can help students find their voice, especially our quietest students. Blogs can provide students and their ideas an audience beyond their teacher. With an authentic audience, students take care in crafting their thoughts, refining their ideas, and have opportunities to comment on other ideas.

Starr Sackstein in her recent book, Blogging for Educators, eloquently describes "Blogging is one way to get back in touch with ourselves and communicate the truth of our experiences with others."1 To effectively do this requires a vulnerability that many are not accustomed to sharing with a potentially global audience. As such, fear becomes the greatest challenge to blogging practice. If teachers do not feel comfortable with such a writing platform or practice themselves, they will find it difficult to use with students. This was part of my decision to starting this blog. In my role as an instructional coach, I can not recommend using a platform or instructional strategy without firsthand knowledge myself. I work with amazing teachers who are doing incredible things that I wish everyone could see. It's hard to encourage them to blog, and "communicate their truths" when I do not do it myself.

Administrators and District officials worry about safety and what might be said online about other students, a teacher, school, and/or district. As a result many blogging platforms are completely inaccessible to students and staff. For example, this blog is considered inappropriate content on my district's network because it has blogspot in the URL. However, if we place our trust in students after teaching them online safety, choose a platform and determine sharing settings that we feel comfortable with given our students and teaching context, blogging can be safely integrated into our instructional practices.

District Blogging Pyramid.
Just imagine the possibilities!
Administrators also have a unique opportunity to utilize blogging as part of their leadership practice. They have the capacity and potential to tell the story of their school and provide a digital leadership model for teachers who may be reluctant to try blogging themselves. Wouldn't it be great if every district blogging practice resembled a pyramid? My hope through my Basics for Administrators Course project is to have several of our administrators blogging next year. And through their leadership have more teachers blogging and in turn more students.

1. Starr Sackstein, Blogging for Educators: Writing for Professional Learning, Corwin Connected Educators Series, Corwin Press, 2015, p.2.