These past few weeks I’ve been reading some game-changing posts by George Couros. I’m particularly drawn to his posts about why educators and administrators should blog, and about having students create digital portfolios via blogs. Both of these ideas resonate with me, particularly the part about students having a voice for an authentic audience, and using that voice in a positive way. Students should learn how to utilize social media wisely and curate what they send out to the world. Luckily, student blogging is a strong way to increase their digital presence in a positive way.
Why student blogging is beneficial
I recently discussed this with my students as we embarked on our blogging journey. I could see them really processing the idea about no longer being anonymous on the internet, and that now is the time to start molding their digital footprint into something that showcases their strengths, talents, and interests. While they’ve heard the horror stories about stalkers on the internet and about how things that end up there can haunt you forever, they’d never thought about the idea of purposely posting positive content about themselves. Or creating a digital portfolio of their experiences. I posed the question, What would you find if you Googled yourself? Will it be a picture of you in a compromising situation? Or will it be a picture of you doing something that you’re passionate about? Will your online presence create or cost you a job? Entrance to the university of your choice? A full-ride scholarship?
I understand why parents are apprehensive about putting any sort of personal information about their kids, including pictures. However I think 8th grade is a good time to start teaching them how to be responsible and mindful of their online behavior.
Thankfully the other teachers in my interdisciplinary team – Laurie Baker (Math), Athena Manjarrez (U.S. History), and Sarah Reimund (Science) – have the same students, and we’re all having them blog in each of our classes. Our students are lucky to have teachers who are willing to work together for this cause!
Why I blog
I really love reading blogs and borrowing ideas from other educators who are more creative than me. Since learning never stops, I’m often inspired by the innovative authors behind these blog. While I don’t feel like I have anything new to contribute to the conversation, I just love being part of it! Even if I’m echoing somebody else, I want to spread the word that somebody else spread to me, and it turns out to be like a really powerful game of telephone.
I also find it useful to reflect. I’m ALWAYS REFLECTING. I’m always looking inward at myself, at my thoughts and actions, and how they affect other people. How to utilize my thoughts and actions to help other people. Constantly asking myself, How’s that working out for you? Blogging gives me a venue to take that to the next level and journal.
Therefore I feel I’ve accomplished by goal of blogging about my thoughts on education, lessons, goals, accomplishments, failures, and everything relating to my teaching. Whether or not anybody reads it or cares is irrelevant; what really matters is that I’m doing my part to improve my digital footprint.
So I leave with a TEDx video featuring George Couros that solidified my resolve to embrace this change. Enjoy!
Be sure to check out my Student Blogging Workbook below, which includes a paper blog post template, a lesson on analyzing student and class blogs, and a blog post checklist!
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