So far this summer, I have expanded my PLN by joining social networks, following blogs, and beginning to Twitter (gschwanke18). However, I have yet to begin blogging on my own. I have always thought about beginning my own blog, but I really don't know how to begin. What do I write about? Will I have time to maintain it? What will I and others get out of it? These a just a few questions that I think everytime I get the urge to start a blog. I would like to hear from others who have started their own blog. How did you begin? What have been the positives and negatives? What have your experiences been like thus far?

All input is greatly appreciated.


Tags: PLN

Views: 261

Reply to This

Replies to This Discussion

Hi, Greg. First off, I don't think you need a blog to have a vital and fruitful PLN. When framed in terms of the "push/pull" web, networks like Classroom 2.0 may be all you need to access ("pull") and share ("push") information. There is even a blogging tool here, if you want it. Steve Hargadon and many others have discussed the pros and cons of personal blogs versus virtual communities, and which yield the greatest potential for teaching and learning. You might search the forum discussions here.

I am a fan of Will Richardson and Christopher Sessums; they frequently "blog about blogs" and have helped me understand the value in blogging "on my own." And you really have to be OK with doing it on your own, because that's how it is for most of us billion or so bloggers!

Here is one particularly meaningful post about PLNs and blogs that Richardson wrote and that you might find helpful.

I have a blog that is relatively inactive at the moment but was vitally important and useful to ME when I was a student. When I was in graduate school I was *required* to start this blog for a class, and I experienced all the same doubts and uncertainties that you now share. Initially I used in to post class projects and updates on progress and periodic reflections, again, as required by my professor. And then, I dunno, something just clicked, and I started to see how I could use my blog to reflect on all my coursework, readings, and a-ha moments. The floodgates just opened, and I had so much fun personalizing my blog space, customizing the header, and tinkering with the CSS. I think this was due in part to the latent adolescent in me and the fact that as an older-than-average student, I was missing out on the whole MySpace phenomenon.

I enjoy writing, so that probably helped too!

I did a lot of my preliminary writing and early drafts in blog form, usually without comment and notice from others -- I have never drawn a lot of traffic to my blog. As part of my coursework, I did a lot of independent inquiry and reviews of the literature, trying to understand how blogs (and other web-based tools) can be used to support teacher reflection and professional growth. This research helped me come to terms with the sometimes lonely nature of blogging. Even in the absence of others' comments and feedback, I realized that ultimately, expressing my ideas and firming up my ideas in a public venue, such as a blog, was making me a more disciplined thinker and writer.


So, I guess I would encourage you to consider what it is exactly you want to achieve with a blog, and go from there.

I still love my blog -- my Wordpress draft box is overflowing with half-baked ideas and half-finished posts, but right now I am a full-time mom with two children under the age of four. . . .

I hope this help you and I wish you a lot of success this summer as you grow and nurture your PLN.
You always give such good advice! :)
I'm going to check out those links you mentioned too.

I am a new blogger as well. I have yet to pick up the momentum that I want. I have a lot of unfinished drafts in my blog and a list of ideas in a google doc, just waiting for a chance for me to use. I agree that it can be a more lonely experience compared to a network like Ning or Twitter. It does serve a purpose to document your learning, share resources, journal ideas, and become a better writer.

Post a link if you decide to blog, so we can leave you a comment. Mine is here:

Good luck!
Hi Jennifer - Well you've taken a 'puller' to 'pusher' status! This is my first contribution to the discussion. You can probably tell from the profile pic that I am an old dog and this is a new trick. Here goes...

The emerging technologies light bulb clicked on for me this spring working with a district outside of Dallas. My Instructional Technologies friends in HEB ISD didn't laugh when I asked them to explain wiki to me! I design and deliver professional development in the arena of continuous school/classroom improvement and they introduced me to the infinite possibilities for collaborative, participatory, engaged learning via Web 2.0 tools. I had just finished reading Wagner's "The Global Achievement Gap" and Christensen's "Disrupting Class" so that timing was perfect!

Since that first 'kiss' I did a presentation at our semi-annual team meeting in July on emerging technologies complete with "Tech It Out!" quiz. I've set up a wiki for our team where we're learning together (1) what Web 2.0 tools are out there; (2) how these tools can help us as a team of educational consultants and deliverers of professional development work more collaboratively AND efficiently/effectively; and (3) how these tools can and are being used by the educators we work with to continually improve the school and classroom learning system.

Thanks to you for the clarifying comments on PLN's. It's all about the learning!
Hi Marilyn! So happy to "meet" you! You've piqued my interest: what is the "Tech It Out!" quiz? Can you share?

I just finished teaching a summer course on technology integration for preservice teachers. My students -- the hyper-plugged-in generation that can multitask with multiple windows and tabs open -- struggled with the Web 2.0 tools in the context of teaching and learning. They just couldn't bridge the gap. The technical facility was there but not the values or habits of mind -- collaboration, sharing, the whole tug between self-interest versus what is best for the group. I think the whole experience was best summed up for me by one of my students who reflected, "A wiki is sort of a like a professional Facebook!" She actually isn't that far off the mark! I would have loved it if others in the class had been able to draw such connections.

This was my first experience facilitating a course with adult learners, and I struggled too. So I would love to see more of your work, links, etc.
Hi Jennifer - I'm delighted to share! A little background first...

My "team" - Jim Shipley & Associates, Inc. - consists of 16 former teachers and administrators from FL, OH, PA, WI, NM. Adult learners are our bread and butter, and that fact that we deal in change management, new ways of thinking about school, and the difference between TEACHING and LEARNING is a match for your experience - technical facility is there but not the values or habits of mind. Add to this the fact that we live in 5 different states and work in 15 different states means we need to learn new ways of thinking about work. We have the values but not the technical facility.

The quiz is intended to get a laugh and it doesn't take long to see that C. is always the right answer.

The response from my teammates to the wiki and the use of google docs for a collaborative design project has been very positive. My motto is - you can't understand what you haven't experienced. We're trying to experience what our principals and teachers are using to make schools and classrooms learning systems vs. teaching systems.

More later! MCW
I blog to flesh out my thinking abt things happening in my life and classroom. Therefore my blog is a mish mash of things. I share my learning experiences as well as teaching practices. I talk abt weight and relationships and dating. For me it is a release. It's reflection. After 3 years of blogging my blog still has no direction and only few faithful readers, but it has made me a better teacher and person. However, the process of reflection has changed me!
I'll jump in on the pro side, Greg. I blog to organize my thoughts--for myself, my parents and students--and to force me to stay up to date on what's happening in the education world. I collect a variety of feeds on my Google homepage and scan them daily to see if there's anything I should share with parents and students. this is a great way to stay in touch with parents, let them understand my approach and teaching better, and as a result, encourage their trust.

I also blog to share my tech teaching with everyone. Equity issues are important to me, so the more I can help students find FREE sources of technology, the better.

The statistics of people accessing blogs is stunning. 71% of readers take blogs more seriously than traditional news media! There are several conclusions I'd draw from that (which I didn't, when I posted this study in my blog).

Last thought: It's painless and free to try it, which makes it even better.
I began my blogging on Amazon in reference to fictional novels by a popular author. I was a little nervous at first, but then I realized that my opinions and knowledge could be valuable to others. So just dive in there, Greg! Tell us what you have to say. Be ready, however, for other opinions or conflicts. Mostly, I have had a great experience. I'm sure you will as well.
I am using edublogs for my school blog site and I use blogspot for a personal blog. I am a volunteer for the Memphis Area Golden Retriever Rescue group and I have a blog for my foster dogs. The addresses are and if you want to view them.
Dear Greg,
I've been blogging since 2003 and I have to tell you that you have asked the right is a time taker upper and sometimes you run out of ideas.

I started off by reflecting on my own experiences in the classroom...things that worked and things that didn't work so well. I found that I have a big readership on certain topics...robotics, reading strategies, Google Earth, summarizing. Kind of a weird mix huh?

The best way I've found is to keep a list going. Use Word or Stickies or whatever makes sense for you about topics, ideas, quotes, stats...anything that makes you want to stop and and think. Then when you have time to blog, you can go back to that idea file and pick one out to blog about. I read lots of other bloggers...and I feel that is super important. It builds community if you read and comment on other people's blogs. It maybe one of the best ways for you to start. There's a neat archived Comment Challenge that Sue Waters hosted a few years ago. You can read through it and still do all the will help you generate literacy and ideas for starting your own blog.

Best of luck and just get out there and try.
I'll add one idea to your list for blog topics, Marsha: Listen to your students and parents. What's on their mind that you can discuss more thoroughly in a blog format. Meaning, you can edit, rethink, clarify, before publishing.
This is a fantastic idea! I wish I had used this approach during my short teaching stint this summer. My students stimulated a lot of ideas that are still coalescing in my mind.



Win at School

Commercial Policy

If you are representing a commercial entity, please see the specific guidelines on your participation.





© 2021   Created by Steve Hargadon.   Powered by

Badges  |  Report an Issue  |  Terms of Service