Blogs are becoming more and more popular these days.  I have never really considered myself a writer, but always felt like I had something to say.  Whether or not I spoke up is another story.  Throughout my career as a teacher, I have always had opinions and ideas about education.  I would talk to my friends in small groups and give my two cents, but never felt comfortable speaking up to an entire faculty, especially with the principal present.  Last October, at a conference in Indianapolis, I was chatting with a colleague of mine.  He told me that I should start a blog.  My initial thought was what I believe most people think, “No one wants to hear what I have to say.”  This is a misconception.  If everyone thought like this, then we would not have any blogs out there to read.  So, the following week, I wrote my first blog post.  Now, here I am 1 year later with 46 posts and 3,882 views from 11 different countries.  I had never dreamed of such a thing.

Now that you have heard my story, are you interested in starting your own blog?  Here are some things to consider.  What is the purpose for your blog?  Is it to express ideas or opinions and try and make a difference?  Is it to help people with something you know about or something that you have experienced?  Is it to connect with people that have similar hobbies or interests?   Is it just for fun and to be creative?  Can your blog have more than one purpose?   Well, it is your blog and I believe you can make it anything you want it to be.  My blog is mainly to promote eLearning and help educators find webtools and utilize digital devices in their classrooms.  However, I have occasionally written on topics that are personal or that cover current events.  I believe that this helps your readers get to know you as a human and make connections with you.

Once you have your purpose in place, there are a few more things to decide.  How often are you going to write a post?  Will it be daily or weekly?  I think if you wait more than a week before the next post, then you will likely lose some of your audience.  Choose a frequency that works for you, which leads to my next tip and that is to be consistent and committed.  Being consistent allows you to meet your audience’s expectations and create a secure place for them to visit again and again. Your consistency will be rewarded with reader loyalty.

Your blog’s success will also depend on its visibility to others.  You need to find a way to promote your blog.  This can be done via social media such as Facebook, My Big Campus, and Twitter.  Each time you post or update your blog, Tweet it out, post it on My Big Campus, or on Facebook.  I highly recommend that you do all three.  You cannot listen to the movie Field of Dreams that states, “If you build it, they will come.”  You not only have to spend time writing fascinating and interesting posts, you have to work outside your blog to advertise it.

One way of becoming a better blogger is to read and follow some experienced bloggers.  I follow several blogs that help inspire me with ideas and topics to write about.  It is also a way that I learn about new tools and concepts to share with the teachers and administrators that I work with.  I highly recommend that you follow blogs that you agree with, as well as, some that have different opinions than you.  This allows you to learn from others and see things from a different perspective.  It will also equip and prepare you for comments from your readers that may push back on some of your opinions.  Remember to be a good digital citizen when leaving or responding to comments.  Never say anything in the heat of the moment that you may regret.  It can be very difficult to delete or remove a comment.  Never say anything that you would not say in person.  Follow the Golden Rule.

With these tips and bits of advice, I believe you could get a successful blog up and running.  Lastly, I would like to share with you some blogs that I follow as well as a list of recommendations from the ICATS team.

  1. Education Dreamer
  2. eLearning Educator
  3. Education Rethink
  4. Speed Change
  5. The Playground Advocate
  6. Teaching Quality
  7. 2¢ Worth: Teaching & Learning in the new information landscape…
  8. For the Love of Learning
  9. Free Technology for Teachers
  10. The TED Blog
  11. The Innovative Educator: Way Out of the Box
  12. Teach Paperless
  13. Cool Cat Teacher Blog
  14. Mind/Shift: How We Will Learn
  15. Dangerously Irrelevant
  16. Connected Principal
  17. Brian Bennett’s Blog
  18. My Hullabaloo
  19. Shaping the Vision
  20. Stump the Teacher
  21. Teacher Re-Boot Camp
  22.  Will Richardson’s Blog
  23.  Edutopia
  24.  Dennis Sparks’s Blog
  25.  Technology Bits, Bytes, and Nibbles

photo credit: i_aint_got_no_id via photopin cc

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Jeffrey Tron
I graduated from the University of Southern Indiana in 1993. I got my masters degree in education in 1999 from Indiana Wesleyan University. I taught 6th, 7th, and 8th grade at Helfrich Park STEM Academy for 17 years. While there, I was the technology coordinator, student council rep, book coordinator, and I ran the announcements on the television studio. I taught reading, English, mathematics, social studies, science, and health in all three grade levels. In the summer of 2010, I worked for the IDOE to help implement the Indiana Science Initiative. I led several workshops around the state helping teachers integrate notebooking and hands-on science kits in their classrooms. During the 2010-2011 school year, I taught fourth grade science at Fairlawn Elementary School. I am currently an eLearning Coach for an elementary school, two middle schools, and a high school. I love technology and I love teaching and helping teachers. Put the two together and you have my dream job. I am very excited about being an eLearning coach and helping others implement technology into their daily instruction.

10 COMMENTS

  1. I enjoyed blogging when I was doing it really regularly, but I always found myself picking between blogging and grading papers. At first, that was an easy choice, but as time went by and the ungraded stack got bigger, I was more and more ignoring my blog.

    This year, I have found a way to work it into my schedule a bit more. I am having my seniors blog this year as quick writes. I am grading them more as a completion grade instead of as a completed, polished piece of work. But we do these in class and I blog with them. I put my Weebly up on the Promethian board and they can see me blog as they do theirs.

    Not only has this given me time to write with them, but it also is a way for me to model for them what writing can look like. They can see my ideas and how I approach the topic. They can also see me make mistakes, back space over errors and try to make my ideas sound better; I have even asked someone for help picking a better word or for someone to read what I wrote and tell me what they thought. Since I just want them to write, and they see me just writing, I hope that I am giving them a comfortable and easy entry into that world.

    • I think modeling is an excellent way to show them good blogging skills. I have seen first hand that you are doing great things with your classes via multiple types of social media. Keep up the good work!

  2. That is a great idea. You have inspired me to try something new. I have some ideas for a professional and a personal blog, but I am not sure where to start. I am planning to read some of the blogs that you have listed, maybe that will help me identify the direction I need to go. Thanks, great food for thoughts.

  3. Great post! I am mostly interested in reading the blogs of others. I fear that if I blogged my highly opinionated voice may not get good feedback. I definitely believe there is so much we can learn from each other and sharing through blogs is a great way to do it.

  4. Hi Leah,
    It is amazing how easy it is to create a blog post. If you have a great conversation about education with another teacher, that alone could be a post. If you watch a movie and a line or scene inspires you, that can be a blog post. Carry a pocket notebook or make a quick recording on your phone when you get an idea for a topic. If you don’t, it will likely be forgotten and never written. As far as your audience, start out with your friends on Facebook or followers on Twitter. If you don’t have a Facebook account, I highly recommend you set one up before starting our blog. Promoting your blog is a huge part of getting readers. Thanks for the comment and if there is anything I can do to help, please feel free to contact me.

  5. I have wanted to create a blog for personal and another for educational use; but never really know where to start, say, etc. And who’s going to read it was a big question too. When I get some free time I hope to take a look at this list and hopefully it helps motivate me! I have looked through Tim’s, Brett’s Bill and even yours before. Thanks

    • Hi Leah,
      It is amazing how easy it is to create a blog post. If you have a great conversation about education with another teacher, that alone could be a post. If you watch a movie and a line or scene inspires you, that can be a blog post. Carry a pocket notebook or make a quick recording on your phone when you get an idea for a topic. If you don’t, it will likely be forgotten and never written. As far as your audience, start out with your friends on Facebook or followers on Twitter. If you don’t have a Facebook account, I highly recommend you set one up before starting our blog. Promoting your blog is a huge part of getting readers. Thanks for the comment and if there is anything I can do to help, please feel free to contact me.

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