Blogging 101

The What:Google's Blogger gives its users amazing options with even more amazing analytics about who is visiting and what they are viewing.

The Why:

Why do educators blog? Many educators get sucked up in the analytic part of blogs- how many page views a blog post gets is very seductive. There are, of course, many other reasons it might be a good idea to blog.

The biggest reason is articulation. It is easy to go through the motions of teaching each day. If something doesn't work, we adjust on our feet and fix what we need. We are never asked to articulate what happened during our lesson plans though and I've found this articulation is the most important reflective practice an educator can do for himself/herself. When we force ourselves to explain why something went horribly wrong or why we were super-successful with something else, we are analyzing our pedagogical practices. We are becoming experts on what works and what does not and WHY they work and WHY they do not. Know the WHY part in lesson designing is what can make us mediocre teachers and what can make us amazing teachers.

The second biggest reason for creating and maintaining our own blogs is to model failure. We've been hearing that we should model failure for a while now. This is one excellent way to do so. Why? A few years back, I became very interested in implementing 20-Time in my classroom. I didn't know where to start but after reading Kevin Brookhouser and Troy Cockrum's blogs, I knew exactly where to start and what NOT to do. Because these two educators articulated their failures in the classroom, I was able to learn from their mistakes and not repeat them. This kind of collaboration and practice is priceless.

The When

One of the best times to blog is when you're at a conference. Many times we learn so much new and exciting information that we can't remember everything. If you take just 10-15 minutes to go to a quiet corner or even a designated blogger room such as a Blogger Cafe, you can type everything you just learned in one session, save it, and then have your head clear for the next session.

Another great time to blog is when you are trying something new in the classroom. At the end of the day or after the class, type out what the lesson was and how it went. Remember, if it didn't go well, this is a perfect time to reflect and discuss why it didn't go well. Help your readers out!

The How

Okay. So how do you get started? You can go all in by buying your own domain and getting a fancy WordPress site. My advice is to start out small though. Try Google's Blogger or Weebly to get started. Their easy to use interfaces make setting up a blog (they guide you through it step-by-step) and maintaining a blog virtually painless. Check out the tutorial below on how to set up a Blog with Google's Blogger.

* Thinking about doing this with your class? Check out this page.

Image CC Flickr Aaron Davis