10 steps to get teachers into blogs…

Flying for many hours means I have had plenty of time to catch up on reading saved blog posts. I think I’ve learned more from reading (and writing) educational blogs than I have from any other professional learning during the many years that I have been in education.

Some of my favorite posts contain examples of great practice, thoughtfully written, that make you wish you were there. I enjoy open, honest posts about dilemmas and failures and what was learned from each experience. I like posts written in the writer’s authentic voice, without self promotion or pretentious language.

How can I encourage those teachers at my school, who haven’t yet opened this book, to read (and maybe write!) blogs regularly, to see what teachers are doing globally, further their awareness of what’s possible, engage with new ideas and see their existing beliefs validated, questioned, or shared by teachers around the world?

Here’s my plan for a series of short, supported sessions for those teachers in the new year. Let me know what you think…

10 steps to get teachers into blogs…

1. Read.
Start by sharing a print-out of a powerful blog post.

2. Discuss.
Print off a number of posts on a similar topic. Discuss the different perspectives.

3. Connect.
Bring your device. Each one gets a link to a different blog. Read and share highlights.

4. Navigate.
Find your way around blogs. Follow links. Go to other places..

5. Subscribe.
Set up a reader with recommended blogs. Learn how to subscribe to feeds.

6. Communicate.
Talk about something interesting you discovered via your reader. Share a newly discovered blog.

7. Participate.
Join the blogging conversation. Start by writing a combined comment. Choose a post and write your own comment.

8. Collaborate.
Work together on a collaborative post for our teacher-blog (to date most posts have been written by me, and not widely read!)

9. Create.
Each teacher creates a post sharing an idea from a blog they read, how it influenced their thinking, or a picture of practice from their class.

10. Reflect.
I used to think… Now I think…

Might it work? Am I missing anything?

29 thoughts on “10 steps to get teachers into blogs…

  1. Thanks. Great ideas! I try to share posts as often as possible but I rarely get any answers or feedbacks from my colleagues. Does it mean they don’t read the article and they are not interested? Or does it mean they just don’t have time? For me it is difficult to start a conversation … Anyways … I’ll try not to give up.

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    1. Hi Verena

      I had the same doubt when I first started my blog way back in 2009. I wondered who would ever consider reading my posts! I later on, embeded a widget- a visitor counter; it monitored who visited my blog and from where. This counter still excites and motivates me.

      I think that many readers are simply ‘lurkers’- they read posts and move on to the next. As they read, they collect ideas and try them out quietly in their classrooms. I was a lurker once. Then there are the contributors- those who take the risk and put their thoughts out there and are ready to dialogue with other professionals.

      Keep working on your posts and sure enough, you will soon have a big audience:) What is the link to your post?

      Naini

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  2. Great ideas! I have seen such great sharing of ideas this year since we started our own collaborative blog (aptly named The Collaborative Learner🙂

    The natural follow up would be linking Twitter to finding blogs!

    Might have to borrow this for a staff meeting series!

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  3. Hi Brian! Have introduced blogs to some interested teachers before, but need to pursue the rest. Tried twitter and managed to convert one or two. Never giving up, as Verena says above!

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  4. Hello Edna,
    Thank you So much for this great article. It sets out just what I have been wanting to do for a couple of years now but haven’t had the courage to try. Best of luck in your quest and thank you for sharing your ideas in such an easy to read/understand manner. I find students a lot easier to motivate to use blogging as a learning tool than fellow staff members. I constantly wonder why?
    Cheers and all the best for the 2012 School year.
    Yvonne Osborn

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  5. I’m wondering about how this practice may be received by undergraduates in a teacher education course where I work. Thanks for the post! I have to “sub” for a professor this week, and may try this out.

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  6. Hi Edna,

    How nice to see you blogging again. Usually makes my morning here in Brooklyn.🙂

    Seems to me this approach will work well and I look forward to seeing how it plays out for you. Much to learn.

    I was particularly struck with steps one and two as it is consistent with the idea that Notice. Engage. Mull. Exchange is helpful way to think about the process of learning. By printing out a post and sharing it at the same time with a teacher it creates the experience of Noticing Together. My strong hunch is that the very act of all having the physical presence of the post at the same time will lead to a significantly different experience from suggesting, asking, cajoling teachers to go on the web and read a post and then discuss.

    From what I understand it is consistent with the insights of Visible Thinking as well as my own experience in the difference between engaging with the screen vs engaging with Print , where ideas sit still.

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    1. Hi Michael,
      I’ve heard you before on the topic of print vs screen and know how much, as a retired printer, you value the former! I think starting with print will be key for some of the reluctant technologists. I’ll let you know how it goes.

      I really loved your image of print as a place where ideas sit still,
      Edna

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  7. Thanks for the blog post. Many teachers I have talked with would love to write a blog but they can’t fit it into their busy schedules. How about this…

    11. Schedule 30 minutes of quiet reflection and writing time at school everyday.

    I think it depends where teachers are at on the cycle of life. Young teachers taking care of families, older teachers taking care of parents. Thanks again!

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    1. Oh yes, I agree, Terry. Time is always the issue for teachers. And I have seen how much depends on the individual teacher’s stage of life.I like the idea of scheduled time for reflecting and writing. For now, if I can get more teachers reading education blogs and starting to join the conversation by commenting, that will be enough. If I can get them writing a pst from time to time for our collaborative school blog, all the better.

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  8. Great ideas, and I couldn’t agree more about the point of Blogging (reading and creating) being one of my most powerful PD tools.

    One of my professional goals is to get more people blogging this year. The idea of “going it together” is powerful. It helps spark those ideas about your next blog posting when you are talking in the hallways or staffroom. It helps keep motivation levels high being part of a group.

    Here is a link to a collaborative blog one of my colleagues started up…http://collaborativelearner.posterous.com/

    Thanks for sharing, Edna.

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    1. Thanks, Dan.Brian shared the link with me too and I have started reading some of the posts. I wonder what percentage of your teachers are willing to get involved.There is a core group of learners on the staff at my school, who turn up willingly to voluntary reading and discussion groups, tech sessions and so on. Getting them blogging seems to be another story entirely.

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  9. Hi, Edna! I have been following your blog for over a year and love it.

    My recommendations come from the fact that I have contemplated starting a blog during the past year, but a couple of things keep stopping me. If you could address these, I think you would be on the road to success:

    1. As you share sample blogs, be sure teachers see that not every blog entry is earth-shattering, make-you-jump-up-and-shout stuff. I think my struggle with starting is that I feel like what I have to say can NOT be that interesting or important.

    2. I think this is what you intend in your steps 9 and 10– be sure to set aside some time when teachers can actually set up their blogs and begin their first posts. I think I would be much more likely to start if I was sitting next to someone who was working on it at the same time, and who I could bounce ideas off of.

    You inspire me with your blog…maybe I’ll get started in 2012~!

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    1. Thank you, Virginia! #1 is an excellent point. I have to say that when I started blogging, I felt the same way as you.I had about 5 readers and 3 were related to me. But apparently other educators out there are interested and anyway, I soon realized the value of blogging in the opportunity it gives me to reflect and to process new learning… I write as much for myself as for anyone else. I suggest you start out with that in mind and write what you’re thinking, in your own voice. Readers will come later. Let me know how you go! As for your second point, you are right. We have done that with teachers setting up class blogs.

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  10. I love #3-Connect! I can’t keep track of the number of conversations I’ve had in ped leadership teams about trying to get people to close their laptops or other devices during mtgs or pd. Why fight it (all the time)? Think it would be great to set aside time for everyone to connect and explore blogs/twitter and encourage that behavior. Thanks for some great ideas!

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    1. Thanks Kasssandra and Marissa. What I like is the fact that a different item has resonated for each person🙂 Kassandra, we have done that a few times with different groups of teachers… Had some success in introducing people to reading blogs but despite our enthusiasm (@lindawollan is our ICT facilitator and @fionanbir our librarian), we haven’t really converted anyone else. (yet)

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  11. Sounds like an excellent, well-thought-out list to me, with a nice sense of progression about it, tho’ remember that old habits die hard… (well, about 21 days, anyway, apparently…)

    Good luck!

    Simon

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  12. I found this post very helpful. I have had a class blog for about 18 mnths, and started a personal blog a few months ago. At the moment my posts are factual recounts about a learning engagement, usually with an element of reflection, but mainly recount. I think this works well for my class blog as the primary purpose is to share children’s learning with parents and to help the children reflect on their own learning at home. However, your post has helped me to see that for my personal blog I need to move forward. I need to make more time to read other people’s blogs so that I can reflect on their ideas and make connections to my own ideas and understandings, and then respond to what I have read. Hmmmm!

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    1. I loved your comment, Tasha. When I wrote the post, it never struck me that it might influence others in the way you describe. The ‘hmmmm’ is good.. It means I made you think:-)

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  13. Great tips for starting a blog or the reasons to continue one. I started my own PYP PE blog over a year ago and like Tasha, the main purpose was to share student learning. As well, to share my own teaching practice and assessment. Blogging has helped me to really, and I mean REALLY, think about my own teaching practice on a much deeper level. My students love seeing themselves on my blogs and on my website. I realize how much of a motivational tool it is for them as well. I keep it up regularly and love it!

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  14. My name is Mckinley Kennedy and i am a student in Dr. Strange’s EDM 310 class at the University of South Alabama. When i found out that i had to take this class i was shocked. I keep asking myself,” why would a Physical Education major need to take a class about blogging”? Well after reading this blog i can understand that it would be really useful to have a blog and to read other teachers blogs. It could really help with finding new ideas of what to teach to my students. I could talk to other teachers and share my ideas with them, as well as them sharing their ideas.
    Sitting down and sharing my blog posts with teachers would be an amazing way to reach out to them. I think it is a way of lending a helping hand to first time teachers. I really enjoyed reading your blog about this. It really out the whole blogging experience in perspective for me. It taught me that time and effort in blogging can make a difference

    http://kennedymckinleyedm310.blogspot.com, http://edm310.blogspot.com/

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  15. Hi Edna! I have visited your blog on and off and it is always stimulating. Rather than just be a passive reader, I decided to start a blog about my classroom. Still figuring it out but as all writers need to have an editor – I asked my class (Yr 6). I am modelling the writing process and talking about my thinking. We revise and edit using the 6 traits and then I post. I want my class to contribute. I hope this collaborative blog will help upskill the class in time for Exhibition when I want them to manage their own blogs. It’s also letting me experience what the class does every day – writer’s block… and how to overcome it. We’ve taken baby steps but the only way is forward!

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  16. I love your 10 steps! I introduced twitter last year and fell flat……..would love to try again. Am also trying to figure out how to get social educational networking (blog writing/reading, twitter chats, etc) to count toward CEUs for certification renewal.

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