Technology I Don’t Use: Blogging

April 16, 2011 § 1 Comment

This week I attended the Blue Ribbon Schools Blueprint for Excellence Institute – an annual conference that, this year, had a heavy focus on technology for academia. I almost didn’t go, but I am glad my wife convinced me to join her; I took a lot away from this conference. As I often do, I found myself inspired to make sweeping changes in education. As they say, “be the change you want to see,” so this blog is my next step.

There are many great tools available to enhance learning, and frequently I encourage educators to take advantage of the many technology tools that should now be in every educator’s tool belt. Unfortunately, I often don’t follow my own advice! Therefore, my first few blog posts are going to focus on creating a list of technology tools I DON’T take advantage of, why I don’t (despite the fact that I often recommend that other educators do!), and why I should. I am hoping this will be a prescription to myself and other educators on how to take a small step out of the traditional classroom into the modern learning environment.

Blogging.
I am beginning here, on MyTakeOnIt, so I may as well begin here, with blogging.

I don’t blog. Or, rather, I don’t write a blog, and I read only a handful of other people’s blogs. I’ve always wanted to keep a blog; anyone who knows me knows how much I have to say.

Why don’t I blog?
Time. And fear.

My excuse is that I don’t have enough time to write a blog. In fact, that is the number one response (in my experience) teachers have to my suggestion that they adopt any new technology tool: “I don’t have time.”

The other reason is fear. Of course there is that general, undefined fear of the unknown; of trying something new. But there is also that more specific fear of putting your life on the Internet. Internet safety: The threat that I may give up some personal information online that could be used, one way or another, against me.

Why SHOULD I blog?
David Warlick, the keynote speaker at Blue Ribbon Schools conference this week, said in a workshop, (I’m paraphrasing):

“Blogging is a conversation. It’s not about an expert voicing his view but commenting on one-another’s blogs. Keep it short.”

Ok, so my maiden blog post may not be short, but that’s something I can work toward. There are a lot of conversations rattling around in my head, and I have so few chances to have these conversations with people in person. I can begin these conversations in my own blog, and contribute to other conversations on other blogs (something I already do, but not as much as I would like).

Blogging is active learning. I say something or read something, and that “something” is followed-up with a comment. Someone else pipes in, and I am hooked. It doesn’t take long before a full blown conversation erupts, the opinions of many are spoken, minds are broadened, and we learn. Why should a conversation between a limited number of people begin and/or end in a room (be it a classroom, a workshop, the faculty room, etc…) when billions of people around the world can have an equally rich conversations online?

As for my concern for safety… How can I take myself seriously if I’m willing to jump out of a plane but not write a few sentences on a page? I can’t. I take many risks: skydiving, cliff jumping, owning my own business. In fact, it is one of my core beliefs that taking risks and pushing myself out of my comfort zone will make me a better person. Taking risks enhances learning.

So here’s what I’m going to do: I’ve already started this blog. In fact, I’ve owned the domain name MyTakeOnIt.com for YEARS with the intention of beginning a blog! Next, the scary part: I am going to tell every one I know that I have started a blog.

Finally, the fun part: I will commit to spending time writing my blog entries, reading other blogs, commenting on those blogs, and following up with comments on my own blog. I am going to stop watching TV and instead participate in an online conversation.

Please join me in this conversation.

Oh, one more thing: The facts presented in my blog may not be accurate, and the opinions belong to those who state them. Don’t believe something I say? Look it up. Don’t like something I say, let’s talk about it. Leave me a comment.

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§ One Response to Technology I Don’t Use: Blogging

  • I look forward to it. I’ll have you at the top of my igoogle list!
    I want to figure out how Warlick linked his slides advancing to twitter and run the knitter chat. I’d like to destroy some walls on my classes and invite others to participate or those present to participate differently. Until your next post.

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