I’ve blogged. So what! Anyone can blog, can’t they? What’s the purpose of my blogging? Have I simply shared my thoughts in my course with the instructor and classmates? Is it just a simple practice of reflection using an on-line journal rather than the traditional paper and pen method? While I have been focusing on how to use blogs in the classroom, I have somewhat pushed the idea of blogging for professional development on the back burner. So, here I am. The course is nearly over and I have learned many things that I can easily take into my world as a t-l. The focus has been on student learning but have I made the connection with and blogged for the purpose of professional development? I’d like to think I have to a certain degree.
Will Richardson has posted on his Weblogg-ed blog a posting called Blogs for Professional Development. In this blog Richardson links to and gives praise for Karl Fisch’s blog “The Fischbowl”. Richardson makes specific reference to Fisch’s explanation of a staff development program using blogs to reflect upon and share progress on school goals with the focus being on technology. As you scan through the page, you’ll see the list of teachers (colleagues) who have blogs and regularly update their pd as a result of this focus. It creates another way for teachers to share and reflect outside their 4 walls of the classroom.
Online Education Database has posted their top 100 education blogs. This list is very helpful because it categorizes the blogs so you can easily seek out which blogs appeal to you. The categories include Learning, Library & Research, Technology, Teaching, etc. I took a quick spin through some of the links and there are some excellent blogs that you could easily subscribe to an follow for professional development. Of course you’ll find links to well known blogs such as Weblogg-ed and Warlick’s 2 Cents Worth but there are numerous other blogs that may not be as popular or share the same large following that Warlick & Richardson have. When you get a chance, check a few of them out!
Edublogs must be one of the most comprehensive resources blogs availble. It hosts links to educational blogs on a wide variety of topics for all levels of educators. It not only offers many resources but also offers support, feedback & discussion, forums, etc. on blogs. It reminds us that we are not alone in this and that others are in the same boat and they are trying to support us however they can.
What does it mean for educators?
Quite often I have heard the same statement from teachers saying that there just isn’t professional development opportunities on a particular topic, or perhaps there just aren’t enough hours in the school day to meet with colleagues and share best practices or meet to plan units together. Well, here’s where blogs can help out. No longer do we have to worry about distance or time. We now have an amazing amount of wonderful resourceful people available through blogging. There are blogs that cover almost every imaginable topic available for teachers where we can reflect on, share, and have conversation with others on the topics that are important to us. Whether that be on a web 2.0 tool and how to use it in the class, or on classroom management techniques and challenges. Blogs are so much more than a reflection tool, instead, you can regularly be updated by your RSS aggregator on the topics that matter most to you. You don’t have to go out looking for ideas or re-invent the wheel (a task that teachers are all to familiar with).
Another wonderful use of blogging is that it can assist in professional research especially for continuing education students or for those who are keen to keep up to date with the latest in educational research. As one develops their subscription to various professional blogs, current and latest trend research is at your fingertips without ever having to visit your local library. As mentioned earlier, the research does not have to be in your own world, instead, you are able to actively read, contribute and comment on research around the world as it is shared. Anytime, anywhere learning continues to evolve!
Wrapping another blog up!
I never would have imagined how much professional blogs could have assisted in my own professional growth and learning. Prior to this term, I hadn’t really thought of blogging with the purpose of pd. Now, I must say, I’m a little addicted! I’ll approach research with a different lens when it comes to taking other classes, and even in my daily seeking of professional material or ideas. There are so many wonderful, credible resourceful educators out there and they have done so much for others by blogging and sharing using this powerful web 2.0 tool. I’d really like to initiate a professional blog for colleagues in the near future. Perhaps we can begin to tap into this wonderful resource and become more web 2.0 with-it while we’re at it!
Signing off, a dejected Riders fan,
P.S. Congrats to the Stampeders & fans on their Grey Cup victory tonight!