Sunday, November 11, 2007

A new idea for my workshop

Why have I been wanting others to try blogging? I know that I was introduced to a new world that I found exciting and informative, but after telling others about it, there is some but not much interest in it from other teachers at my school. There are lots of reasons given, mostly lack of time (i.e. they admit it might be good to do but are too stressed to take up some thing new). Others say “…but why would anyone care what I wrote and why would I waste my time reading about minutiae of other peoples’ lives?’ This seems similar to experiences Darren has had as well. I recently became aware that if one first came across random bloggers in the early days of blogging (not educational bloggers who share their discoveries and reflections about learning) then one might have a really negative idea about blogging. And if this same person came across students blogs (and we’ve all read them) that start off “I’m in English and I’m so boooored, can’t wait till lunch”, it’s not surprising that their initial negative impression is confirmed.

But on Wednesday I have a really interesting opportunity to speak to teachers of the MYP program at school about the potential of web 2.0 technologies to give further opportunities for learning, especially global collaboration and intercultural awareness, which is a big part of the IBO. Similarly the IBO curriculum is based on the latest in educational research and web 2.0 seems so suited to providing the necessary learning environment for 21st century students. Some of the teachers on this team are those who have been less than impressed by blogging.

Then I was listening to the Ed Tech Posse podcast and Dean Shareski said something that really made me think. The way I understood what he said (roughly) was that instead of people who see the value of blogging hitting others over the head with it, to put things around the other way and ask teachers who want our help to set up blogs why they thought it was a good idea. That would certainly save me a whole lot of time (I have been offering to go into teachers classrooms when I have a planning period to help set up class blogs and so often the resulting blogs are just left to die). Another teacher of my acquaintance says that if a teacher isn’t blogging of their own accord it really doesn’t help the students if he or she tries to introduce it in the classroom. This means that students who may enjoy blogging are not introduced to it by a teacher who is either against blogging or not familiar with it. But these teachers have their own unique gifts for their students and will take their students with them in other ways.

This is basically the mindset that I will go into the workshop with. I plan to say only a little (having possibly said too much in the past). Some teachers who have started blogging will share their journeys, Yvonne, a science teacher, Bernie, an English teacher, Katrina, leader of the Environment Group, Jennifer, teacher librarian and Vicki, PE teacher and new user of and wikis. I guess though, the ultimate point I want to make is that blogging is easy and fun but you have to be committed to it, and it may not be for everyone. (Even though I would like it to be.)

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  1. Jo

    Some good common sesne here that I need to take on board as well.

    Although I am actually shy I put a lot of energy into being in my colleagues faces about this. But It would be better to focus on those that show interest.

    At present that is a tiny minority.... but if I think about biotic weathering, a tiny seed falling into a crack in a boulder can eventually break up the boulder. :) :)

    Hmmm something for me to ponder over the next few days. Thnx

  2. So wise to bring in blogging teachers. I find they are far more persuasive than I can ever be. They are more credible because they are not techies.

  3. Thanks you much Russel and Susan for your encouragement. I'll blog about how it goes. :)

  4. Thanks for linking to your new teacher blogs.

    Just like the Young Writers '07 wiki we made to promote new and/or active student bloggers, maybe we should do something similar for new teacher-bloggers? Maybe that would provide them with some company. (And I know Ning is another option, maybe a this/and instead of an either/or, but I still feel that Ning mixes the message of what "open range" blogging is - thus the wiki idea.)

    I've got a few teachers starting to blog at my school. If we consolidated their links on a wiki, they might like the peer-support?

    Nice post, Jo. Good food for thought (and isn't Dean something these days?).

  5. Jo, This is what we wrestle with all the time.The other reason we keep on spreading the word is that we know this is best for students. I agree our next wave of bloggers will be those convinced by those who have joined blogging, not us. The next wave after that, administrators, beyond that parents. Ever hopeful.

    Love reading your blog!

  6. Oh, I am reminded, when you have your workshop, please add blog addresses to twitter and we will respond to the new bloggers. It spreads like wildfire, you know. It was a blast this summer when we did this in our blog workshop. Our new bloggers were amazed when someone from around the world commented on their blog. Please do this.

  7. Hi Jo,
    A good post and true too. I believe that everyone in life ( especially kids like me) should have the pleasure of blogging at least once in their lifetime! You're doing a great job and hope you continue doing so!

  8. I like your positive spin on things Jo. It sometimes gets disheartening when you realise that teachers just don't get it. I definitely agree with the concept of 'owning something before you can give it away'. I know a lot of teachers who start blogging with their kids but really should have started blogging themselves first. Cheryl had an amazing idea and I am going to use it the next time I do a blogging workshop. The immediate feedback would be a great motivator for people to keep going.

  9. The message I now give when I facilitate professional development is whatever the tool use it first for your personal learning, once you understand how to use it effectively than look at how you can use it with students.

    I was first introduced to blogging March, 2006 but the people who showed me did not relate well to blogging so it was not until this year when others showed me the importance of blogging and how to subscribe to blogs that I started appreciating the value. How can we expect others to engage if we don't ourselves. Ultimately every educator is a leader and should lead by example; hence Walk the Talk.

    I think connecting up the new bloggers is an excellent idea -- some how give them a sense of community and initially an incentive to want to be involved mmmm chocolate?

  10. While studying school librarianship the emphasis was always on "teach the teacher". Introducing new ideas, ways to do things and new technology always proved more successful trying to reach say 90 teachers rather than 1,000 students. It was also far more efficient to reach 90 than 1,000. Rely on a small enthusiastic few who will spread the word.