Things to do and not to do

So, have you started your Teacher Blog yet?

As teachers, we typically like rules.  So, I had to smile when I ran across this old blog post.  There are some good pieces of advice there and a couple of points that I think I take issue with.  I understand that the intended audience is for business blogging so I can understand most in that context.  For education, I think a couple of the points could be softened.

For example, #3.  In education, a blog isn’t necessarily dealing with the technical aspects of something.  I find that the more informal or conversational the blog is, the more I can identify with the author.

I had to chuckle at #9.  There are so many educational blogs filled with edu-babble from researchers and it’s obvious that there’s a gap in understanding between the intended message and what the writer is saying.  I think, at times, that education is its own worst enemy.  If we could just somehow couch a simple concept in a big collection of words, some folks attach more credibility to it!  Think about it and check yourself next time you want to use some big technical term that some big time speaker used – could it be expressed in simpler terms.  Hopefully, you do it when writing report cards when the audience is students and parents.  Why can’t it be done between colleagues?

All in all, I think that there’s some pretty good advice there.  Chances are you’re not blogging for money so just ignore the spots about advertising.

The only thing that I would change is to turn the “not do” into the “do”.  My personal preference is to write in the positive.  You know the old proverb – “You catch more flies with honey than you do with vinegar”.

To that end, let me add a few more things to the list.

  • Use PNG images.  I learned about this the hard way.  I used to do screen captures and put them into JPG format.  I had a person ask me once why the images in my blog were sometimes blurry.  It turns out that when you let the software – on your end and on the receiving end do the conversion of the images, there can be problems, particularly if one end decides to resize them.
  • Know that the world may not be using the same computer and settings that you are.  I’m writing this on a 17inch screen on a computer using Scribefire in a Firefox browser running Ubuntu.  Chances are you’re not.  Yet, you should have the same reading experience.  I used to proofread my blog posts on my iPad and my phone just to make sure that they’re OK.  Now, I’ve chosen a modern theme that adjusts according to your end and the new WordPress editor has a preview for various screen sizes.  I love it.  Is it the sign of the times that the default is tablet?
  • Related to that – proofread your post.  Despite the complaints from Lisa and Sheila, I do proofread this blog.  I just sometimes use the wrong term or rely too much on the proofreader in the software.  Other times, I just over a word. I appreciate having a second and third set of eyes to look things over.  If I’m going to specifically reference someone else’s work or do an interview with someone, I let them preview it before it goes live.
  • Let people know that you’re blogging!  That can be tough; you could share with the colleague across the hall but consider asking your school’s webmaster to put a link to your blog on the school’s website.  Update your Twitter profile with a link to your blog.  That’s the first thing I check for when I get a new follower and, if you’re an Ontario Edublogger, I add you to my list.  Post to Twitter to let us know when there’s something new.  You can have all blogging platforms do that for you.  Or, just tell Donna Fry that you’re blogging and she’ll let me know.
  • Consider scheduling your posts.  Not everyone is online 24/7 waiting for your post.  If you could become reliable about your posting time, people get to know that and go looking for it.  I’m an early morning person with my reading and writing and then I’m off doing something else for the rest of the day.  I might return but often I don’t until I check for messages in the evening.  It’s always nice to know just when you’re going to post so that I can adjust accordingly.
  • Create a “blog do” list.  This is the single best thing that I ever did for myself.  When I decided to start blogging, I would sit down at the keyboard and stare at the screen waiting for inspiration to hit.  Now, I use Evernote or Keep whenever I get an idea, no matter how silly.  They just fill up with ideas that I visit every now and again.  Somehow, I’m convinced that ideas about the concept just flow when I revisit them.  That was my cure for writer’s block.
  • Wrapping it up.  The sad reality is that many people give up on their blogging after a while.  In too many cases, the blog ends up just being “roadkill on the information superhighway“.  It happens.  Why not write one final post indicating that you’re done so that people don’t keep looking for things and can remove you from their bookmark collection? 

The best advice of all – just do it.  Your first few blog posts may look rough around the edges when you look back a few years from now but at least you started.  I can’t think of a better way to inventory and express your thoughts and ideas. 

So, are you ready to start your Teacher’s Blog now?

2 thoughts on “Things to do and not to do

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