Teachers who blog, or is it bloggers who teach?
Earlier this month, I led a workshop at the wonderful Teachers Who Write (PDF) conference in Montpelier. Sponsored annually by the Vermont Council of Teachers of English Language Arts, The National Writing Project in Vermont, and the Vermont Department of Education, the conference brought hundreds of teachers together to attend workshops and network. It was a fabulous event and I hope to go back next year as an attendee.
I’d hoped to get this post online in time for my presentation at the conference as a sort of virtual handout, but grading and other end of semester chaos got in the way. Finally, though, here are links to some of the things I told the two groups of interesting teachers who came to hear what I had to say about blogging and podcasting.
As I’ve said on this blog before, starting to read blogs and creating your own personal/professional blog, to me, will have a far greater impact on one’s daily academic life than creating course blogs. Blogs are a great teaching tool and these days I can’t really envision myself teaching without a blog for each class, but if I had to choose one or the other I’d probably ditch my course blogs and keep my own one running.
One of the things I always tell faculty from UVM, and I repeated this at the Montpelier workshop, is that it’s not at colleges and universities where we’re seeing the most cutting edge uses of blogging in the classroom. It’s actually in the k-12 classroom, and sometimes right in those earliest grades. I had a great chance last year to help lead the month-long summer writing workshop put on by the National Writing Project in Vermont and, after spending all of July working alongside teachers from across the state, I found myself more enthused about teaching than I’ve been before (and I have always loved that part of my job).
As part of that summer 2006 workshop, I gave a presentation called “The text in the machine: Writing, publishing, and the blogosphere” in which I talked about blogging and talked about some of the best practices I’ve seen in the k-12 context. My virtual handout for that presentation can be found here, and it encompasses a lot of what I had to say a couple of weeks ago in Montpelier. For this latest presentation, I also found a number of new examples of some great blogging work going on in the K-12 context and you’ll find those links below.
What follows are some of the links I showed everyone in my latest workshop.
Key Resources for educators
weblogg-ed, the blog of Will Richardson.
WIll Richardson’s book Blogs, Wikis, Podcasts and other Powerful Web Tools for Classrooms is an invaluable resource
supportblogging.com (lots of great info and links to class blogs)
Blogical Minds (5th grade)
Excellence and Imagination (grades 7/8)
Joseph H. Kerr School, Snow Lake, Manitoba
Room 9 Nelson Central’s Blog (Ages 6-7, Nelson, NZ)
Audacity (a free sound editing tool for all platforms)
garageband (Apple’s amazing audio software has some great features specifically designed for recording podcasts)
iPods with microphones attached or any other mp3 players with recording capabilities
A few more links worth checking out:
Weblogg-ed: It’s the empowerment, stupid