Tag Archives: blogging

Where is Your Blog?

If you are an educator, you need a blog.

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It’s 2015.

Where are you creating your digital identity?

Where do you share resources with other educators?

Where do you reflect on your practice?

Where are you having conversations about learning and teaching?

Where do you model the learning we want to see in every classroom?

How do you demonstrate the Standards of Practice of the profession?

Where do you maintain a professional portfolio?

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Thank you to Dean Shareski (@shareski) for sharing this slide. The image links to the source on slideshare.

 

Last evening we had a rich conversation in the #OSSEMOOC open mic around why educators are not blogging.

1. Not enough time.

Educators are the hardest working people I know, hands down.  No contest.  They would NEVER think of not preparing for classes or not providing feedback on student work.

Isn’t blogging and sharing and reflecting just as important? How long does it take to share a few thoughts online?  How long does it take to upload a file to share?

 

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2. Fear of judgment.

Creating a safe environment for risk-taking is a classroom priority. Why do we make it hard for our colleagues to share their practice? Do our students feel they will be judged when we ask them to share? How do we model to our students that learning and sharing and growing together is a valuable use of our time?

3. Don’t know how.

Get started here:

Start connecting here: https://ossemooc.wordpress.com/2014/11/01/ten-minutes-of-connecting-day-1/

Why you need to make thinking visible through blogging here:

https://ossemooc.wordpress.com/2014/11/22/ten-minutes-of-connecting-day-22-making-thinking-visible-through-blogging/

Why you need to start your own blog here:

https://ossemooc.wordpress.com/2014/11/23/ten-minutes-of-connecting-day-23-yes-its-time-to-start-your-own-blog/

How to start your blog here:

https://ossemooc.wordpress.com/2014/11/24/ten-minutes-of-connecting-day-24-beginners-guide-to-starting-a-blog/

How others use their blogs (modelling) here: https://ossemooc.wordpress.com/2014/11/25/ten-minutes-of-connecting-day-25-you-have-a-blog-now-what/

How to turn your blog into a professional portfolio here:

https://ossemooc.wordpress.com/2014/11/26/ten-minutes-of-connecting-day-26-your-blog-as-your-portfolio/

Making your blog YOUR online space for sharing:

https://ossemooc.wordpress.com/2014/11/28/ten-minutes-of-connecting-day-27-more-blog-considerations/

4. It’s not really valued.

You are right.  It isn’t. At least not yet.

Until we teach in the B.Ed. program that open reflective practice and demonstration of the Standards of Practice of the profession is a necessity, we won’t see it.

Until we ask to see a blog with every job application, be it teacher, principal or system leader, we won’t value it.

Until every PQP and SOQP course makes open sharing, connecting, collaborating, reflecting and learning important, we won’t insist on it.

 

But let’s not wait!

The value in reflecting, sharing, conversing, connecting and honouring our amazing work in schools is obvious.

Let’s tell our own stories of the learning happening in our classrooms and schools.  The stories are powerful.

Share them widely.

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Special thanks to @timrobinsonj for sharing pixabay.com

 

 

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Sharing our Passion for Connecting Education Leaders: TEDxKitchenerED

Mark Carbone and I recently took advantage of the opportunity to share our passion for connecting education leaders at the TEDxKitchenerED event.

If you are wondering about #OSSEMOOC, here is the story of how we are working to connect leaders, and helping Ontario learners, to thrive in the complexities of teaching and learning in today’s rapidly changing world.

The Work-Life-Blogging Balance Challenge

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Jenni’s question this week is one that needs more that 140 characters to answer.

I think we have to begin with why we even bother to blog.  It begins with a fundamental belief that knowledge is to be shared and that learning comes from conversations.  It isn’t enough to just learn any more.  We need to learn, connect, reflect and share.  We expect our students to do this every day.  We need to model that for them.

We need to make our learning visible.

When we recognize blogging and sharing our learning as a priority, it becomes easier to do it.

Blogging
Sculpture by Ai Weiwei, Toronto City Hall, October 2013

Before blogging becomes a habit, though, professional learning needs to be a habit.  This was stated nicely in #satchat today.

Twitter PD

So how can professional learning become part of your life? Here are a few simple suggestions:

1) Listen to podcasts, all the time.  I hate mundane tasks like vacuuming and raking, but plugged into a great podcast makes the chore simply listening and learning time.  Suggestions?   Get ASCD’s Whole Child Podcast on your iPhone, along with CBC Ideas, HBR Ideacast (great stuff for school and system leaders), Moving at the Speed of Creativity with Wes Fryer (once listened to these every commute – learned a ton from Wes), CBC Spark (I’m a bit partial to Episode 195!).  Those are my favourites, but I could go on forever here with other suggestions.

2) Read your notes!  How often do you go to PD sessions and take notes.  Do you ever read them again?  You should!  As you learn and grow, some parts of previous learning sessions begin to make more sense.

3) Read great books.  Don’t know where to start?  Ask your PLN on Twitter.  Some recent favourites? Intentional Interruption by Stephen Katz and Lisa Ain Dack, Professional Capital by Andy Hargreaves and Michael Fullan.  I am certain your PLN can suggest many, many more.

4) Read other bloggers. Follow blogs that are being written by other great thinkers and educators.  Ontario teachers can use this list to start: http://www.scoop.it/t/ontario-edublogs.

Others I like to read include Alfie KohnSeth Godin, Grant Wiggins, Diane Ravitch, David Warlick.

If you don’t have time to read a blog, you can always “listen” to one.  Check out how Darren Kuropatwa uses his commuting time to work to post to his blog – “while walking“.Screen shot 2013-11-16 at 9.44.13 PM

5. Enrol in a MOOC!  There are so many MOOCs for learning out there.  Try Coursera if you can’t find what you want elsewhere.

6. Connect Online.  Enable Feedly, use social bookmarking, connect on Twitter.  Maximize sharing and connecting to learn from other educators.  There are endless ways to do this.

 

But what to share?

Sometimes just sharing your learning is so worthwhile.  I often do this after a particularly valuable session at a conference (Catherine Montreuil, John Malloy).

Sometimes things happen in your day that inspire a post about a topic you are learning about or that you want to explore further.

For example, this past week, I was explaining my new role in promoting digital learning throughout Ontario to my optometrist when he started into a rant on how we had better get Facebook out of schools.  It reminded me of how much work we have to do to teach the public about the importance of digital learning – a blog post for another day.

Doug Peterson (@dougpete  <– follow him) explains very nicely how he comes up with his blog topics here.

 

How can you organize your learning, your experiences, your blog ideas, your blog post catalysts?  There are many tools available.

Recently, I have started using a free app called Notability.

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It allows me to use handwriting or voice to quickly record my thinking.  blog layout in notability

I can organize it by topic.

notability organizes written notes

When I synch it with my other devices, the documents download to my laptop in pdf format.

Adobe notes from notability

I also use my phone to record ideas while walking or hiking.  Then, as I start to write the blog, I often switch to Evernote, which is synched across all of my devices and where I store and tag much of my online learning.

evernote organization

evernote take a note

And sometimes I even use good old-fashioned paper when I am really trying to sort things out.

John Malloy visual

Most educators I know are trying to do too much with too little time.  Having time to exercise, get outside, relax and heal has to be a priority.  Sometimes, this is the best time to reflect and consolidate learning, and as you make connections, why not share those ideas with your colleagues when you get back?  We are all learning together.

Start the conversation.

Further Reading:

Royan Lee: Writing in Snippets ~ How I Blog

“Nurture Those Around You”

There is no doubt that #ECOO13 was an outstanding opportunity for learning and networking. The event was exceptional from beginning to end and I am grateful for the talents and very hard work of all involved.

Of course the learning continues long after the event, as long as we continue to heed the “call to action” so clearly emanating as a theme for the event. Incoming ECOO President, Mark Carbone, summarized it perfectly in his closing remarks (posted here: http://blog.markwcarbone.ca/2013/10/25/ecoo13-call-to-action/).

In one of my presentations on Thursday, I cited the work of Stephen Katz and Lisa Dack, showing that most professional development does not result in a change in classroom practice. Our ECOO13 experience must be different. We must work to change our practice based on our new learning, and we must courageously continue to share our learning by taking the same risks we ask our students to take, and make our thinking visible.

Andrew Campbell has already started to do that (here: http://acampbell99.wordpress.com/2013/10/27/my-favourite-ecoo13-moment). Andrew’s ECOO13 experience renews our faith in each other and our profession to change the world one student at a time.

As I consider how my own practice will change as a result of #ECOO13, I find that Mark’s last bullet resonates with me: nurture those around you.

Nurture
 Jsome1 via Compfight cc

I have never really thought about “nurturing” as a method of effecting change. Nurturing is different from “leading” or “supporting” or even “building relationships”. It is far more personal, far more precise, and, I think, potentially far more effective.

It is empowering to recognize nurturing as an agent of change.

When I think about Andrew’s “new teacher” from Beaverton (where, coincidentally, my husband and I purchased our first home together), I wonder what she is doing now. I hope that someone is there to encourage her through those first difficult years and to connect her to this massive support system of educators.

I hope someone nurtures her so she too can recognize her full potential as a teacher and learner.

nurturing art
 artyfishal44 via Compfight cc

What Are You Thinking?

Photo Credit: jDevaun via Compfight cc
Photo Credit: jDevaun via Compfight cc

Recently, this post was shared with me on Twitter:

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It’s a very good look at the need to communicate and respond in many ways to all the stakeholders in the school community.

I would add another item to the list: Blogging

Why should education administrators blog?  For the same reasons we want teachers and students to blog.

#1: Make Learning Visible

Through blogging, educational administrators at all levels make their thinking visible to their team.  Learning is shared and open.  Conversations about learning become widely shared and asynchronous.  Anyone can join in.  Learning is enhanced for everyone who participates.  Introverts who may feel uncomfortable having a conversation with an educational leader face to face, can carefully consider their comments and share them in a way that makes them comfortable.

#2: Encourage Others to Make Learning Visible

When administrators share their learning, they model the practice of making thinking visible, encouraging all members of the school community to do the same.  They show that risk-taking is valued, that failing is a catalyst for learning, and that learning is important for everyone in the school environment.

#3: Share the Learning

How often do we hear that Principals are out of the building too often, and that Supervisory Officers are never in the school?  Blogging allows administrators to share their learning with others.  It is a built-in accountability that their time away is well spent and that the learning can be used to build capacity in the entire system.  What personal professional learning are you currently engaged in?  What books are you reading?  Share your learning with your school community and your PLN.  Model personal professional growth while encouraging your staff to do the same.

#4. Organize Your Thinking

A teacher who recently started blogging was preparing for a position of added responsibility this year, and she remarked at how easy it was to organize her thinking.  It was already organized on her blog!  Education Administrators who are called on to make presentations have easy access to the material they may need as they have already presented their thinking and learning in their blog.

#5. Connect With Other School Leaders

By following the blogs of school leaders around the world, you can engage in conversations and learn from their learning.  Be a part of the Professional Learning Network that believes in sharing, in challenging thinking, and in making thinking visible to all.

The Power of Visible Learning

I enjoy reading Hattie’s work (Visible Learning and Visible Learning for Teachers), but in all the quality time I have spent with Hattie’s writing, I have only really thought about how it applied to children/students.

My first day in #etMOOC changed all that.

I have been encouraging educators I work with to engage in the #etMOOC experience (“encouraged” may be perceived by some as an understatement).  You already know how I feel about this perfect/open/free opportunity to learn and connect.

Yet throughout the last three months of “talking up #etMOOC”, I thought only about how much my colleagues were going to learn about educational technology.  I had not expected to learn so much about learning – on the first day!

On day 1, Jenni Scott-Marciski wrote her first blog post ever.  She shared her experiences in joining Twitter, her hesitations about blogging, and here very personal thinking about connecting.

Even though I see Jenni every day, this was all new to me.  Yes, I knew she was using Twitter to learn and connect, and yes, I knew she had started #etMOOC, but I was astonished at how much better I understand her learning now with just one posting.

She was making her thinking and learning visible, and it helped me to understand where we need to go next.

I had a similar experience with my #etmooc introduction.  I have been trying to use iMovie for months now, sneaking in to watch and learn from students as they create videos in their classrooms, asking for help from friends.  But the process of making and posting a video made my learning visible to others, and as a result I have received direct instruction on what to fix and how as I move forward in my learning.

I would not have posted that video if it was for “marks” or if it was for an evaluation.  I would have kept my learning private.  But the understanding that I am in a safe and supportive learning environment made me feel encouraged to share and learn.

And what does this tell us about student learning?

Apples for the teacher