These days digital portfolios are a hot topic. They give students the ability be authentic authors and document their learning journey. One of the simplest ways to build a digital portfolio is a blog. But don’t be mistaken: a blog can also be one of the most powerful tools a student can have to tell his or hers story of learning. Blogs can carry almost anything: from plain text to images, video and other online assets.
Practice what you preach
If we agree on the power of the blog for our students, why don’t we embrace that medium ourselves as teachers? I want to build a strong case to advocate for teachers to start blogging too.
Is a teacher’s day not filled enough? And now you want us to start a blog on the web too?!
If we want our students to be online publicists, we should do it ourselves. Let me sum up some reasons why this is a good idea.
1. Share what you care about
You are an expert and you show your expertise every day with your students. It strikes me how little most teachers share this with their colleagues, let alone share this outside the school. In Flanders, we need to report what we’ve done in our classes every hour in preparation of inspections. Almost all teachers find this a nuisance. Why not make this reporting more meaningful by sharing best practices in a journal. Other things to share are thoughts on professional learning sessions, great work of students or any other thing you are proud of.
It certainly is a myth that a teachers does not have anything interesting to share.
For me personally, writing a blog post is one of the most valuable ways to reflect on my work. I need to question what I did, how I did it and most importantly why I did it. Getting feedback from your readers is a critical part of my reflecting process.
What even helps me more is that I get feedback from people outside of my educational cocoon.
In education, we gather so many impressions during a school day and get so may ideas, I need to clear my head in the evening. Writing helps me focus on thoughts that are developing during the day and turn them into resources for myself at later moments.
3. Professional Learning
I don’t just write stuff, I read a lot too. It is a natural consequence of creating a blog that you will also read other blogs. Obviously, I read lots of educational content, both in English and Dutch.
4. Reach out and expand your network
I already mentioned my educational cocoon. Publishing online and sharing with the world breaks these bounds. When I send a tweet with a new article, I reach a huge potential audience. I know a lot of followers personally and have met some of them, but the vast majority of my personal learning network have names staring with “@“. Maybe building this global network of peers is the most valuable outcome of blogging.
Where to start?
My blog is on a self-hosted domain and uses WordPress. To write the actual text, I use an app called iWriter Pro (on macOS and iOS). I chose this app because of its clean interface, its ability to sync across my devices and its support for markdown-syntax (do a Google search, you’ll love it).
If you are looking for a “Blogging for dummies” solution, have a look at wordpress.com or blogger.com
image credit: pexels.com – license: CC0