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Blogging-Workspace“Unless you try to do something

              beyond  what you have already mastered, 

                                  you will never grow.”

                                                    Ralph Waldo Emerson

 Recently,  I engaged in some great conversation with fellow educators on the benefits of blogging. We discussed the paramount role of reflection and collaboration for our professional growth and how a simple blog supports these vital skills.    Admittedly, I was a little fearful of taking the blogging plunge myself. Committing your thoughts to a global audience can be intimidating  Yet, I quickly discovered the benefits of this conversational and reflective opportunity.  If you are considering a blog launch, here are a few responses to some of those questions you may have about getting started.

Do I have the extra time it takes?  

Let’s face it – we all could use a little more time. But it’s also been my experience that we make time for the things that matter most. What if I told you that a few extra minutes committing words to a blog could fundamentally improve your teaching practices?  Would it be worth it? Keep in mind that blog posts don’t have to be multi-page publications.  If you treat a blog as the reflective activity it can be, entries can be short, yet still impactful.  And because you can keep active drafts, it’s okay to start and stop your posts as many times as necessary before publishing your final product. Set a goal to post monthly in the beginning, and commit 20-30 minutes a week to construct your entry.  The good news is most blogging services allow you to schedule publications.  So, if you’re inspired to crank out several posts at once, create now and cue for later!

What am I going to write about?

If you’re like me, at any one moment you have a myriad of ideas and reflections dancing in your head.  Be intentional about jotting them down.  Create a Google doc or Evernote that you can easily add ideas to from your mobile device.  Some of the best blog posts are direct, often focusing on one idea, so don’t overthink things.  Vary your topics to include a combination of informational vs. conversational writing.  Think about the “what, how, and why” when considering a topic. Life happens all around us, not just in our classrooms.  Let your everyday experiences and inquiries guide your submissions and don’t miss the opportunity to discuss what may seem like a trivial topic.  Chances are, if it impacted you, there are countless educators out there who will connect to the content as well.

Will anyone want to hear what I have to say?

Most certainly!  As educators, it is easy to get lost in the four walls of our own classrooms, yet we are eager to share and learn from others.  Blogging is an excellent way to let your voice be heard while building a digital footprint that reaches far beyond your school or district.  We naturally take comfort in knowing we are not on an island when it comes to challenges and barriers.  In addition, we are inspired by success and the excitement of discovering a new instructional approach.  Either way, when you share your ideas, you have the potential to impact a global community of connected learners who are eager to learn from you. Don’t worry, you don’t have to be the expert – we all have room to grow!

How do I get started?

There are several great blogging platforms out there. If you aren’t already following a few blogs, I would first recommend browsing some well-established and committed bloggers to observe what you like (and don’t like) about their setup.  For inspiration, here are a couple of lists of top educational bloggers:

25 Brilliant Teacher Blogs Worth Following via Edutopia

Top 100 Educational Blogs via Teach100

Choosing a blogging platform should reflect what you want to accomplish with it.   A few of my favorites include WordPress (our eTechCampus platform), Blogger, and Edublogs. There are countless setup guides and video tutorials for each of these platforms.  All three services are user friendly and will provide even the novice blogger with the necessary tools for a successful blogging journey.

So, if you’re still contemplating a blog, what are you waiting for?  Own your genius and embark on an adventure that just might change the way you see yourself, your students, and the world.

About The Author

Tiffaney Lavoie currently serves as the Director of Instructional Media and Design at Edvergent Learning. An educator with a business background, she has served over 60 school districts in Kentucky as an instructional technology consultant where she developed and delivered professional learning opportunities and partnered with school and district technology rollouts. A former middle school teacher, Tiffaney has a passion for effective technology integration and recognizes the importance of accessible digital tools to support teaching and learning. She has presented on a state, regional, and national level, and values immersive digital learning environments that better equip students to compete in a global society.