There have been no shortage of posts related to the reasons educators should blog. As my blog, Molehills out of Mountains, approaches its two-year anniversary, I have spent quite a bit of time considering how blogging has impacted my professional life. I believe that it is entirely reasonable to say that blogging, and the connections I have developed through “social writing”, have been a professional game changer for me. It has stretched, and in some cases completely upended, my thinking about key educational issues.
Professionally, I have taken on a number of roles during my career. I have been a math teacher, a science teacher, a dean of students, an assistant principal, and now a principal, but the one thing that will never change is that I am a perpetual student. This has never been more apparent than since I began blogging and dramatically extended my professional learning network. I can’t help but think that if blogging has been so beneficial to my career as an educator, it would make sense that it can be equally as effective for our students. Consider just a few ways in which blogging enhances the learning experience:
- Thinking Aloud – writing is a fantastic way to formulate ideas, map out plans, and think through problems and issues. It is one thing to have ideas floating around in your head, but spending the time required to put words to paper helps “flesh out” ideas and crystallize concepts.
- Reflection – blogging is an incredibly effective means of reflecting on a teaching strategy, an activity, a lesson, or an assignment. In addition, blogging lends itself to “social reflection,” allowing others to add their thoughts and opinions and ask questions that lead to closer examination of the topic at hand.
- Inquiry – I frequently find that as I blog, I generate more questions than answers. There are times that I pose these questions to my audience, but I also frequently find myself engaged in further research, searching for answers to my questions, and seeking the advice of my professional learning network. Questions lead to more questions, more research and more learning.
- Authentic Audience – blogging allows writers to share their ideas with a global audience. Most people don’t blog for attention or notoriety, but knowing that your post will be read, and possibly shared, with others lends a certain energy to the process. Even as adults, this is evident. Shouldn’t students have the opportunity to expand their audience beyond classroom walls?
- Feedback – I blog to share ideas, but I also blog to get advice from others in the field of education. Because blogging grants an audience to those who wish to publish their writing, it also allows the author to gather feedback from a people with a wide variety of experiences and perspectives.
- Pursuit of Passions – Blogging is a means of pursuing our passions and sharing our interests with others. As I have previously mentioned, it is an excellent platform for connecting with those who share a common interest and developing a network of individuals who will be supportive, offer advice and provide encouragement.
The list could go on…and on…and on.
While all of these characteristics of blogging are beneficial to professionals in the world of education, they could be equally, if not more, beneficial to those with whom we work–our students. It is important to remember that, in some form or fashion, we are all students and we should all continually seek out learning opportunities. Blogging is one means of pursuing and it provides benefits for “students” of ALL ages. Blog on.
Where the Internet is about availability of information, blogging is about making information creation available to anyone. ~ George Siemens