I ran across this blog post recently. It’s called “Why Should Someone Read Your Blog?“. It comes from the business side of the blogosphere but it still is a good question that I’d like to answer in this post.
Perhaps a little history is in order.
When I was in the classroom as a Computer Science / Business teacher, there really was a sense of isolation. I don’t think it is unusual, but I was the only one teaching the courses that I did. I didn’t know if I was doing it right. I didn’t know if I was doing it wrong. I inherited the teaching load from teachers that were relieved to get rid of it. The course sort of followed a textbook that described older versions of the Fortran programming language in one case and a new language to me called Hypo in another. Even on professional development days, Computer Science teachers didn’t get together so I had no idea about pacing or levels of difficulty. Fortunately, I had exceptional students who loved the stuff and pushed me like crazy to keep the course moving along. I did have a pretty good background in the field with a degree in programming myself so I could handle the technology and I had some terrific profs at university who had instilled a well rounded approach to programming, problem solving, and computational thinking.
But, the sense of isolation really stuck with me. It actually went away a bit when we started a computer programming league among the schools in my board and the city board. Those of us who would bring students to the three hour evening competitions would talk about pedagogy and direction as we waited for problem solutions to be submitted for marking.
Later on, I was fortunate enough to move to a position as a Computers in the Classroom Teacher Consultant. Right off the bat, I focussed on bringing the Computer Science teachers together but school visits revealed that there was a whole other element of computer using educators. There were people in Kindergarten classes, Grade 5 Language Arts Classes, Grade 12 Geography Classes, etc. and they were all trying to use computer technology effectively with their students. As the “board office guy”, how do you address all of this?
For me, it started by producing a monthly (paper, gasp!) newsletter covering the gamut of software, hardware, and online use of computer technology. Fortunately, that didn’t last for long and I soon moved to a monthly electronic newsletter. The cool thing about that was using full colour and introducing interactivity in a connected world. And, while I tried for perfect content before announcing the release, I could always sneak back in and fix typos and other errors! The first page of the typically 12 page newsletter was always an opinion piece.
Back in 2007, Will Richardson was one of the keynote speakers at the annual RCAC Symposium and we retained him for the following day to get hands-on-ish on blogging, online learning, connectivity, wikis, etc. I think that it was at that moment when I realized that I was working too hard!
Instead of doing my opinion piece in Dreamweaver, it would be a whole lot easier to do it in WordPress or Blogger. I chose WordPress and never looked back. I maintained the monthly newsletter because it became a single point to share a month’s worth of learning and information with the system but instead of bookmarks and scraps of paper all over the place to keep track of my learning, I blogged about them as time permitted.
It was always my opinion that a teacher, not in a classroom, but working with other teachers should be constantly supporting their innovation. I actually got a hoot from the fact that people were reading my work (and some actually printing the webpages, gasp again!). The newsletter was ready the first day of the month and I’d get email inquiries should I not have it out and announced on time.
For me, I used it as an opportunity to share my thoughts, reviews, ideas, tutorials, thoughts, and I gave myself license to make posts about whatever I wanted.
So, why would someone want to read my blog? I’m going to preface each of the bullets with
“I’d like to think I…”
- am easy to read. You won’t mistake my writing style for an English major’s but hopefully, I can put enough words together to get the point across;
- do a great deal of reading to stay current. I absolutely love finding a new resource and making the connection to education or personal computing. I hope that my enthusiasm for it is catching;
- know what I’m talking about. While my immediate background was secondary school, I’ve learned from some incredible elementary school educators;
- offer a clean, easy to read blog. I don’t monetize my blog and you won’t find any advertisements initiated by me. (I do believe that WordPress itself does insert advertisements occasionally);
- try everything that I recommend. There is a lot of software that has been downloaded and tested here at dougpete labs. When I find a goodie with a definite purpose, I kick the tires before sharing it;
- promote the best of the web that I find. In particular, I really like supporting other Ontario Edubloggers – Fridays are always blogged about something from Ontario;
- amass a nice set of resources for educational use at all levels. It’s not just my blog. Check out “About Doug and This Blog” and “Doug’s Digital Footprint” above for the rest of the story;
- present positive approaches to all that I write about. Oh, I certainly do have a dark side but try my best to keep it under wraps.
As I get ready to schedule this to be posted at 5:00 tomorrow morning so that Andy can read it at 5:01, I think that has been a good exercise. If you’re a regular reader, then perhaps now you know why I do what I do. If you’re a new reader, this may be TMI but it gets better…
If you’re a blogger, yourself, I would challenge you to write your own “Why Should You Read This Blog?” post. Perhaps it will provide an opportunity for some reflection on your own. Perhaps it will make you feel good about your blogging habits. I know that it did for me.
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