I had the good fortune on Thursday to finally catch up and say hello to a couple of teacher bloggers who I read regularly and meet in real life two people I’ve only connected up with online until now.
Graham Wegner blogs out of a smallish primary school in Adelaide and his emphasis was on the blog as a tool for professional development and growth. He discussed how professional development used to be driven externally and measured in terms of the number of hours you clocked up or conferences you attended and how radically that had changed for him as he charted his own professional learning journey.
Graham told about how blogging had helped him reflect on his own professional growth, and connect up with educators around the world. He talked powerfully about ‘taking control of my own learning’ and gave us some great links to some educator blogs that I hadn’t seen before, and some great tools such as SlideShare, a nifty tool for embedding slideshows in blogs. You can see Graham’s presentation on SlideShare HERE The image above is the final slide in Graham’s presentation.
Jo McLeay blogs from a secondary English classroom in Victoria and her blog title, The Open Classroom, really fits her philosophy. Her presentation focused on classroom blogging and she spoke passionately about her experience getting students blogging. She said that she began working with student blogs because she’d seen the effect it had had on her own learning. I loved the honesty and integrity of Jo’s presentation as she spoke about the successes (and failures at times) of her experience.
One thing that struck me about both these presentations was the emphasis they made on the comments in blogs. Graham said that comments offered insights, built on ideas, shared your experiences and pointed to other useful resources. Jo talked about how reinforcing and affirming positive comments can be for young bloggers who are putting their ideas out to the world. It made me think I’ve got to be more proactive about that part of my blogging experience.
The other thing that struck me most powerfully in both these presentations was the absolute authenticity that emerged from both these teacher bloggers, teachers with busy lives and schedules, blogging about their world and their journey. It was a very positive afternoon.