Thanks to the wonderful world of Twitter, I stumbled across a tweet with headline: “Share your tips” – and win BIG and decided I like a challenge! The Edublogger is running a competition for student/teacher bloggers so I thought it would be a great idea for my next post. In this post, I’d actually like to ask questions of other bloggers! I’m pretty new to blogging, so I think it’s time I tried to figure out exactly what I want from it. The following are my 5 most important questions I’d like to ask of experienced bloggers and why:
1) Why did you start blogging?
Did you start because someone suggested it to you? Did you start because you read another person’s blog and got inspired? Did you start because you were trying to enhance your students’ learning? Did you start because you wanted to learn something yourself? The reasons people start blogging are probably all different, but they can help inspire others. When I started blogging, I didn’t read that many other peoples’ blogs at first. I think I should have. I think you get a good idea of what to blog about, or how to use your blog, if you know what other people are using theirs for.
2) How often do you blog?
Do you blog everyday? Do you blog once a week? Twice a week? Once a month? Once a term? What do you think is the recommended time between blog postings? Should you post religiously every week – as in always post on a Monday for example? Should you just post when you think of something to write about? Do you feel pressured ever to post blogs so that people stay interested in your blog? Will people stop reading your blog if you leave it too long between postings?
3) How do you find the time to blog?
As a teacher of only 3 years, I still have a lot of planning to take care of for my classes, so finding the time to blog when it is not for my classes can be difficult. I haven’t implemented blogs for any of my classes yet, the only blog I’ve got is the one you’re reading now and it is aimed at other teachers. But I still find it difficult to sit down for a while and write a meaningful post. I want people to read what I’m writing because I have just started trying to use more technology in my teaching and I am constantly searching for advice and tips. But I’m worried if I don’t write often enough, people will become disinterested in helping me, or they won’t really see the advice I give. So I’m thinking of setting aside a particular time each week (or fortnight) and writing some posts down, not necessarily posting them, but having them there as backup when I have not posted anything for a while. Or when I don’t know what to post. Is this what other people do?
4) How do you implement blogs in your classes?
What exactly do you use blogs for in the classroom? Do you pick a topic and have the students write about it? Do you have them blog their assignments? Do you use it for peer review? One of my biggest problems is figuring out how to actually implement the use of a blog in any of my classes. I think this may be to do with the fact that I teach Science, and so writing (as in English or History for example) is not what we’re all about! I’d be specifically interested in other Science teachers using blogs or blogging. I haven’t really read many Science-related blogs (my own fault – lack of time, but also I haven’t really found any) so I’m not sure how Science teachers blog. I would like to blog more often. Or write more relevant posts. But after spending time reading all the latest tweets from my PLN, reading their blogs or checking out the links they tweet, RTing, replying, DMing and tweeting my own tweets (as well as actually working!), it’s difficult to find the time.
5) Does your blog have a particular theme for the posts?
Do you follow a theme with your posts? As in, do you only write about certain things? Or do you only aim your blogs at a certain audience? Is it better to follow a theme, or subject, or target audience rather than writing about anything and everything you know or want to know about? Is it advisable to write entries in a series following a particular theme? Will people stay interested in what you have to say, or subscribe to your blog via email or RSS if you are writing about similar things each time? Or does the content matter more than the theme?
I appreciate anyone else’s advice on blogging or teaching, and thoroughly enjoy reading other blogs that give advice. For example I had NO IDEA what pingback was (thanks @Sue Waters) until I read this post. But I hope to help others too. Maybe the questions I’ve asked here today are questions other teachers want to know the answers to as well, so by commenting or answering my questions, you’re not just helping me, but helping others as well.