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Classroom Blogging – Building a Professional Blog

Classroom Blogging: A Teacher's Guide to Blogs, Wikis, & Other Tools that are Shaping a new Information Landscape (2nd ed.) by David F. Warlick.

Teachers need blogs.

Teachers are highly educated and have a wide set of experiences – not only in the academic world, but also in the worlds of athletics, the arts, the Church, local business and industry, and a dozen others. In other words, teachers have a long reach into the communities in which they teach. Therefore teachers have a crucial role to play in the growing global conversation.

We cannot teach what we do not know. A teacher who is not, in some manner, participating in this 21st century conversation is in no position to prepare 21st century students. Teachers should be looking for ways to model for their students what it looks like to be literate in the digital age.

The structure of the classroom must change. Curriculum must change. The media that we use to help out students learn about their world must change. Our definition of what it means to be literate must change. The topic of this book indicates the degree to which our very information landscape has changed. (118)

We may not think that all of this change is good or healthy...but the change has come anyway. The conversation is changing. Blogs are an important way in which that conversation is being realized, and one which is readily accessible to teachers and students alike.

What makes blogging unique, is that it places literacy within the context of today's information landscape. Today's information is digital, it is networked, and it begs to be worked, shared, built upon, and connected. (128)

Of course, not every teacher will have the writing skills, or confidence, to “go public” on a blog. Blogs are not the only way to engage in 21st century conversation, but it may be one of the easier to carry off.

What should your blog say? There are countless possibilities. But, a few that might made sense for the teacher include articles on student performance and learning, professional reading journals (like what I am doing right now), or even hobby blogs on architecture, photography, travel, model trains, etc.

Blogs to avoid: anything which dwells on your personal life, discussion of the workplace or colleagues, or current events blogs where your political views are on overt display. Remember that your remarks are public and permanent. Most things on the internet get archived and stored in various ways and places, and will not be fully forgotten. Moreover, we've all seen comments and videos which have gone viral – and that is rarely to the benefit of the person who said it. So, a healthy dose of the same cautiousness we use when we speak in front of our classes is a good idea here as well.

Lastly, some technical stuff. Throughout this section of the book, Warlick offers specific guidance and instructions on how to set up bogs with EduBlogs and Blogger, and also how to integrate a flickr account into your blog. However, the instructions seem dated and folks who need assistance would probably be better off searching for one of the many, many helpful instructional videos available today on Youtube.

Warlick also plugs his own specialized website, which is kind of a blog, and kind of an aggregator (see previous posts). I am not impressed by this resource. The format is dated and confusing, and the posts seem to feed randomly from dozens of unrelated blogs. This is not the model I would point teachers to. I have seen much better blogs, and I will make point of compiling a short list of the more impressive ones before I conclude this series.

Blerkins is an eclectic blog of scholarly reflection and cultural commentary for folks who still believe that Western civilization has merit; and that life is far too interesting to give up on, or waste on television.
Our audience tends to be people exasperated with the world but too idealistic to give up on cultural engagement; who swim in a world seemingly devoid of truth, yet are too ethical for hedonism.


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