Promoting Blogs: Getting peers to buy into it…

I just stumbled onto a post by Graham over at Teaching Generation Z that suggests this problem of getting peers to buy into the importance of teaching (or even implementing in their own practice) the use of social software: “One issue that keeps coming back to my brain is how hard it is to sell the concept of blogging to fellow staff members” (“Finding Time To Blog” ). I find this is the case as well. Teachers I have interacted with at conferences, and in professional context seem to have that ‘head in the sand’ approach. I have blogged about this on several occasions, especially around the area of appropriate use, as has Aaron over at Teacher in Development . This seems to be a problem that borders on universal in its’ occurence, yet, Graham’s post contests my former ideas that one reason keeping teachers from stepping into the blogosphere is the hesitancy to change from their ‘traditional’ ways of learning and teaching. Graham states that he has been in the ‘field’ for 18 years: “I just know I am embarking on the greatest professional development of 18 years teaching and sometimes feel like I’m arriving well after the party has started” (“Finding Time To Blog” ). I think Graham’s feelings of being behind the ball are not limited to the seasoned veteran. I am still working on my first year of teaching and feel as if I am in a similar situation (even though my teaching degree included tech. training), but I agree with Graham’s statement that our feelings of being slightly behind the technology curve are not a viable excuse:

But for the sake of our students, teachers have to get involved in the regular use of new technologies and connect to others to experience the wealth of collective learning opportunities. (“Finding Time To Blog” )

I have blogged similar things, especially in light of the fact that students are growing up ‘immersed’ in such technologies (see my comments re ‘Syncing the IKid’ on Teacher in Development blog) :

Members of today’s digital generation of students have spent their early lives immersed in robust, visual, electronic media–home computers, video games, cyberspace networks, and virtual reality. They expect–indeed, demand–interaction, approaching learning as a ‘plug-and-play’ experience. (James Duderstadt, qtd. in Ganley, “BLOGTALK Paper (an excerpt and in full): Blogging as a Dynamic, Transformative Medium in an American Liberal Arts Classroom” )

Graham’s assertion of the blog manifesto is right on:
“I know that one can blog on any topic but for educators, this is the ultimate way to get a world perspective”(“Finding Time To Blog” ). Blogging and using social software empowers us to go beyond the walls of the traditional classroom; to truly get a more global and diversified perspective…
redux: (added ten minutes later…) Case in point: Graham is an Aussie teacher. I am blogging from the other side of the globe, hemisphere, equator, in Canada.

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3 thoughts on “Promoting Blogs: Getting peers to buy into it…

  1. James, thank you for the comments re: Finding Time To Blog. I have to say I don’t feel like a veteran teacher especially here down under where the average age of a teacher in South Australia is 50 years old. I have been involved in ICT technologies for most of my teaching career and have always looked for the bleeding edge even if I’ve never quite been there – my current role is that of an ICT coordinator, but somehow I didn’t twig to social software technologies until mid this year. I mean I’ve been aware of blogs for a fair while – it’s just their potential for educators (and students) that caught me by surprise. So your age theory has merit – the longer a teacher has been in “the game”, the more likely cynicism has taken hold and for a lot of teachers who can glimpse the retirement light at the end of the tunnel, blogging and tagging and podcasting aren’t important enough to them in their minds. I’m not sure what the answer is – but now I have a new blog to interact with so, thanks for contributing to my learning!

  2. Thank you, Graham, for your comments…
    I find it great that I can connect with an educator on the other side of the world and share in his knowledge…
    I agree with your sentiment that “the longer a teacher has been in ‘the game,’ the more likely cynicism has taken hold”. I have been in this game for less than a year, and already feel as if I am losing my edge… I agree, podcasting, blogs, and tagging seem to be far from the minds of many experienced teachers who are ‘glimpsing’ retirement. Unfortunately, I think they are missing a great opportunity for enrichment in their teaching and learning.
    I think the biggest effect blogging has had on me is that it fuels my appetite for learning…I read a lot more now, because I want to have something to say. If this is the only benefit I ever see, then that is great, but I see the potential for so much more.
    I am currently experimenting with using blogs in the classroom. It is a slow introduction as I try to wrap my head around them and integrate them into my teaching…the first step I took was porting my class homepage over to a blog format, which has saved me a ton of time and energy (I am not code savvy, so would spend time staring at the screen trying to tweak the code so it would look how I wanted…now, I just post to the blog, and it is done), but I don’t think it is utilizing blog tech. to its’ full extent.
    My next step into classroom blogging will be to create a class blog where all students are contributors and are responsible for maintenance and reflecting on the literature we are encountering…
    It is a small start, but I think it is a worthy endeavor.
    How is your experience with blogs? Are you using them in your classrooms? I would love to hear what is and is not working for you…

  3. Pingback: Teaching Generation Z » Communicating With The World

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