Blogging For Teachers

In a stack of papers called Instruction.

  • Mar
  • 12
  • 2006

San Jose State University requires ENED 353: Methods of Teaching English of all students seeking an English teaching credential. In the fall and again this spring, I delivered a presentation about blogging to that class. It went well both times and I really feel like it gave most of those teachers a chance to do something they wouldn’t have otherwise. I am honored to have been asked back a second time and thrilled that I got to present the first time. Having another presentation in the can is almost always a good thing and having a second chance to fine tune it is even better.

The Basics

Both Jonathan, the instructor of the Methods course, and I felt like the presentation only scratches the surface. A bulk of the time set aside for the presentation (4:30 to 6:45) is spent simply getting participants registered with Blogger. Add to that some time to get familiar with the system, cruise through links to other blogs, write a brief blog posing of their own, and comment on at least one peer’s blog, suddenly we are only left with about 30 minutes to debrief. And this isn’t poor planning on my part; for both sessions, I had a much longer debrief planned, but the participants simply needed more time at the computers registering, looking, and writing.

It’s a worthwhile presentation, but much of the time we have is spent on the basics since many people are not familiar with blogging or Blogger accounts. I like being there to address questions and concerns participants have as they register, but that’s all pretty basic stuff. The realization of a blog’s potential is what’s been missing in the past. We spend all this time registering for the account, but we don’t get on to discussing how it’s useful. I think this results in another class session that’s good that day, but doesn’t apply to their classroom. A longer debriefing session would help create that application and make the 2-hour process of registering more valuable.

Advanced Discussion

I’ve been asked to return for a follow-up session at the end of April and am excited about it. We ended last Thursday’s presentation with a tiny bit of time to discuss some pitfalls and possibilities, but the end of class sneaks up just as quickly in college as it does in high school. Time’s funny that way.

That conversation we ended with is the road I’d love to take another 2 hour presentation on. Spend 2 hours registering, getting used to how it all works, looking at other examples, and responding to each other online. Now take a break. When we come back, let’s take a closer look at what some other people are doing, how I’m using it this year, and how you might want to use it in the future. Finally, we can get to how to use this thing that we’ve just spent 2 hours growing accustomed to.

Near the end of April, I’ll have a chance to carry on that conversation. I have ideas about the issues that are going to come up and I see all kinds of possibilities for blogs. But I’d like to know what ideas some of you out there see for how blogs can be used in education, for teachers, students, parents, and any other participants in the system. Additionally, the concerns people have about blogs are worth noting, so please tell me what these teachers I’m talking to should be aware of. The more input I have on this, the better off these future teachers will be.

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