Wednesday, July 24, 2013

Blogs, Blogging, and Edublogging

Today I learned that…
 Ben is right.  I moved this post from my edublog post.  I will use google Blogger.
 Here is my post from my Edublog called "What I learned at school today" moved over here...

Today I learned that...

It can take a long time trying to learn something new on the internet!

I’ve found lots of great classroom setup ideas on pinterest, but three hours just disappeared from my Summer. I am searching for ideas to create a welcoming bulletin board outside my classroom door, but it seems like many pins and repins are of the same bulletin board. Also, I want it to be a board that welcomes students and families to OUR classroom. I want it to represent us, what we believe in, and what a visitor will discover in OUR classroom. I am not welcoming families to Mrs. Internet’s classroom, I am welcoming you to room #9, OUR room, YOUR room and MINE too.
Pinterest, was a place to start. But, I don’t think it will end there.

When I follow the links to the original pin, I do find some cool teacher blogs. The ones that I find most useful are the ones that tell stories. I don’t mean that I find narratives, but I have discovered a few blogs that make me imagine what it is like to be in that teacher’s room.

I learned that, maybe I don’t want to be a Pinterest follower, maybe I want to be a teacher’s blog collector.

But, first I figured I need to start my own blog. Not that I haven’t done this before… I have a blog through my school district. It was once a district expectation that we posted to our blogs weekly, then monthly. Then the tech people started a wiki. And then we learned about google docs. They dropped the posting obligations, and many teachers complained that parents aren’t looking at the blogs anyway. I thought, “maybe your blog just isn’t very interesting….” Neither was mine. I posted what I thought would be useful. I am good at sharing useful information, and I certainly know my blog won’t get views because of my humor. I’m just not funny. That has always been my sister’s role in our family, not mine. Maybe she should start a blog. Anyway, I added a counter to my blog. I did get some views. Maybe they were all me, checking the counter on my blog.

I imagine parents want to see pictures of their kids, I like to look at pictures of my adorable boys! Well, they aren’t exactly cute anymore now that they are young adults, but I still stalk their Facebook pages for images of their smiling faces. I made some videos and slideshows for my kindergarten classroom blog, and I labeled the post: Take a peek into our classroom! Someone misunderstood, someone complained, and my principal asked me if I had a video feed of my classroom linked to my blog. Really? No. Yes, he really needed an answer to the question.

I learned, I can’t try to be metaphorical or I will be misunderstood.

State it clearly on the classroom blog: Click this link, the one below this typing, it’s blue, and you will find pictures of students in our class whose parents have signed permission to use photos of their child on my blog page. No wonder, the blogs don’t tell good stories. Just to be clear, there is no link below this text. There are no classroom videos of kids on this blog page, the one you (meaning me, the reader, re-reading what I just wrote, for an audience of one, me) are reading right now.

Anyway…. the questions, to which I have not yet learned the answers… remain.

Should I maintain a blog? Well I already have started one or two… three.
Which one is the keeper?
Which is the most useful blogging platform? Because I know I won’t have time to write on all three.
Will anyone want to read my blog? Remember, it won’t be funny.
Do I have any insights that other teachers might be interested in?
Can my blog just be a personal journal, my own teacher reflection space?
Am I content to be the only reader of my blog?

Before making online decisions, best to consult Ben

OK, I decided.  One blog it is... well, in addition to my school blog.  Thanks for the conversation, my Ben.

Edublog - limited unless I pay, I'm not likely to use with my 2nd graders anyway.
Blogger - already connected to my google accounts (including docs, email and photos), and free