Sunday, February 13, 2005


An Ounce of Prevention

It is only natural that when new approaches to teaching & learning enters the educational field there will be many reactions, concerns and questions. Take blogs for example, now that blogs are being used as a tool in schools, people are having concerns (I have to say most of my students have their own personal blogs and have had them for some time now. My goal is teach them how to use them constructively). Anyway, the trepidation is fair and is also a very natural phenomenon. However, I believe over time this fear of blogs will dissolve over time. How I got to this point was reading a posting from Tom who urges Will (or Will commenting on Tom uuggh I cannot remember) to give advice to teachers encouraging them to use caution while blogging. Anyway, I do appreciate Will's top 10 list for educators who blog. Here's the list from Will's Weblogged site:
1. Decide carefully if you want to create a public space for your ideas with your name on it. Maybe going anonymous would be better. There are a couple of great anonymous teacher blogs out there, Hipteacher among them.2. When you write, assume it will be read by the very people you may not want to read it. Think about the consequences.3. As much as possible, blog on your own time with your own equipment.4. Tell the truth. If you can't, don't write.5. Ask people's permission before you write about them in your blog, especially if it revolves around some struggle that you might feel worth reflecting upon or sharing with your audience. 6. If you do use a blog for professional reflection or opinion, my personal wish is that you take the time to present those ideas well. I'm not perfect when it comes to misspellings or errors, but I try to read everything at least twice if not three times before publishing.7. Start simple, and find your groove. If you just post about news and don't add much in the way of commentary at the start, it will give you time to develop your voice.8. Again, if you decide to blog openly, don't try to hide that fact from peers or supervisors. 9. If you think people may have an issue with your blog, ask first, and make your decisions based on the feedback you get.10. If you find yourself looking over your shoulder, don't blog.

I almost didn't post about this, out of fear of the unknown (pioneers never get where they're going easily) but it's a "teachable" moment; so I thank Tom and Will. And here's my 2cents...if teachers use the same professionalism they use in the classroom, blogs will continue to be used creatively and educationally. Occasionally, you will have someone making poor choices when it comes to blogs or any other venue. Just like in class you will have some students making poor choices; my advice when teaching about blogging begins with common sense and to continue to focus on the students. Once your focus turns away from the students and on to your own agenda problems will arise.

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