Total Pageviews

Thursday, October 26, 2006

Why Teachers and Students Should Blog

For the purposes of the following suggestions electronic publishing includes but is not limited to blogs, podcasts, video blogs (vlogs), wikis, and message boards.

“The process of teacher evaluation and professional growth should allow for
teacher reflection, teacher collaboration, and staff contribution to the learning
community.” pg. 3

The above is listed as a guiding principle of teacher evaluation in the state of Missouri. In all professions it is important to constantly evaluate practices and share those that are effective. Blogging, or on line journaling, is an effective tool to reach this end.

Teacher On-line Posting
· Reflection is required by the evaluation process and is integral to professional development.
· Collaboration and the sharing of best practices are vital to quality education.
· In order to be a world class school district we need to present our ideas on the world stage.
· The Internet is an effective means for communicating with parents and the community.

Rules & Regulations
· All postings should pertain to educational or content area topics only.
· Confidential or privileged information should never be posted.
· There should be no relationship, implied or otherwise, between the opinions expressed in the blog and the School District.
· On line posting should be non-commercial.
· Internet postings should not be disruptive to the School District.
· All rules of plagiarism and libel apply.

Effective teaching is a process cycling between practice and reflection. Constant questioning, not only of what worked and what did not, but why it did or did not work is vital to providing effective instruction. When focusing on data driven decision making we often neglect the decision part for an over emphasis on the data. The quiz scores were low; the information needs to be re-taught, but why and how? The answers to these questions can often be found upon reflection, but making these reflections public also permits answers to come from our colleagues around the world.

Part of being world class is inviting the world into our classroom. The world starts with parents and the local community, but the power of the internet lies in its ability to instantly reach a massive world wide audience. If we are worried about our test scores lagging behind those of students in other districts, why not solicit opinions and suggestion from those districts. Why stop at the borders of our state or country? If a teacher in Australia has an effective technique for teaching, then I want to know about it. Conversely, a brilliant strategy developed in our district needs to be shared with other so that we may be an exemplar.

There are inherent pitfalls to instant publication so certain precautions should be taken, but these precautions are no different than when we are communicating with the public by more traditional means. Confidential information should never be given out, public discourse should never disrupt the normal functioning of the district, and district resources should not be used for personal financial benefit. These restrictions are no different than those placed on teachers when talking to the press or parents.


Students in Missouri public schools will acquire the knowledge and skills to communicate effectively within and beyond the classroom.

Goal #2 Show-Me Performance Standards

This goal goes on to specify that students “use technological tools to exchange information and ideas.”

Student On-line Posting
· Reflective and meta-cognitive writing are vital to a quality education.
· An authentic audience for these writings enhances the experience, improves writing skills, and provides an opportunity for feedback.
· Student on-line postings will provide parents with a deeper insight into the classroom.
· Electronic publishing is a basic communication skill that will be required of those wanting access to power in our society.

Rules and Responsibilities
· The blog is a cyber-extension of the classroom, therefore all rules of speech and conduct outlined in the discipline handbook apply.
· Though all classroom writing is public, the instant publishing allowed by the Internet requires that students constantly keep in mind their world wide audience.
· Students are responsible for managing all responses and comments to their blog.
· Students are responsible for the content of websites that they link to in their postings.
· All rules regarding plagiarism apply.

Journaling and reflection are proven learning strategies. Blogs not only motivate the students to write, but the authentic audience created by electronic publication adds a realistic dimension to the writing that merely addressing the teacher does not provide.

Blogs would allow an unprecedented window into the classroom. It would provide an answer to the age old parental question, “ What did you do in school today?”

The ability and desire to use Web 2.0 applications is vital for students to have access to powerful literacy. Traditional avenues of access are narrowing. Though students are becoming adept at filling out on line job applications for Best Buy, to be truly powerful they must create their own opportunities.

No comments: