One of my biggest excuses for not blogging was that I was writing the UNTANGLING TECHNOLOGY column for NAGC'S Teaching for High Potential. After stepping down from that responsibility, I no longer have that as an excuse. A real reason for becoming more involved with the blogosphere is that I am organizing a NAGC Pre-Conference Session on November 13, 2014 called BUILDING BETTER BLOGS TO PROMOTE THE 4 C'S: CREATIVITY, CRITICAL THINKING, COLLABORATION, AND COMMUNICATION. I am very excited to be presenting alongside Ian Byrd, Tamara Fisher, Krissy Venosdale, and Maria Selke, but in this crowd of "celebrity" bloggers, I am definitely the low man on the totem pole. So, I really need to up my game.
To increase my digital footprint, I am challenging myself to blog everyday for the month of November. I am calling it BLOG-VEMBER!
To get started, I have decided to go back and review my very first column for Teaching for High Potential. Published in early 2007, Blah, blah BLOG! What's All the Fuss About Blogging? is admittedly a bit of a time capsule. Here is an excerpt:
Undoubtedly you have heard the term blog, but what really is all the excitement about? In their most simple form, blogs appear to be merely electronic journals, but blogs provide a free and simple way for individuals to share their thoughts, ideas, and lives with the world. The ease of use of this tool has allowed for massive amounts of user generated content to be created and is one of the primary reasons that Time Magazine declared the 2006 Person of the Year as “YOU.”
The heart of the THP Column was FOUR STEPS for Getting Started with Blogging. These steps remain good advice for me or anyone who wishes to get started with blogging for themselves or their students.
1. PROVIDE A PLACE
Choosing a blogging service is a big step. You should choose something that is going to be easy for you. I have looked at WordPress a number of times over the years, and while it does offer the most power and customization, it is also seems unnecessarily complicated. I have been using Weebly for a while as my web design tool of choice. I like it because it has clean design templates and an easy to use drag and drop interface. Weebly also allows you to create a blog as I have done here. The key here is to find what is going to be easy for you to use and that you are not going to spend a great deal of time trying to make it look pretty.
2. PROVIDE A PURPOSE
This is really going to vary widely. If you are blogging personally, then talk about what you are interested in. I plan to use this blog as a way to try out new ideas or to share lessons, tech tools, random geeky things, all in the name of promoting creativity. If you are blogging with your students, you may need to narrow the focus a bit. By providing some constraints, you can actually help your students to be more creative and productive in this environment. As I have been contemplating BLOG-VEMBER and how I am going to ever accomplish it, I have come up with a few reoccurring ideas that should help me along such as Mobile Mondays, Ted Talk Tuesdays, Web Resource Wednesdays, and Throwback Thursdays.
3. GIVE IT TIME
In the 2007 THP Column, I wrote, "As when introducing any new technology, don't expect immediate results. Also, be sure to allow students time to play with the idea of blogging before placing serious expectations on the students' use." This seems like good advice. Never underestimate the value of play. For me, and this current and long lasting endeavor into blogging, I need to be sure to put the time in so that I can get to STEP NUMBER FOUR.
4. WATCH IT GROW
"By creating structure and support for the use of blogs, you may find that students are motivated at all new levels." This is certainly my hope. Also, blogs allow continual asynchronous discussions which is one of the things that I have always loved about learning online. Blogs force us to take a stand and let our voice be heard. This is true for me. This is true for you. This is true for your students. We have the power to let our voices be heard.
Thanks for reading. I hope that you will consider joining me for BLOG-VEMBER!