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Why Every Teacher Should Blog

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.

2. Reflection

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 or

image credit: – license: CC0

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Learn all about iPad automation from Brian Foutty

You might know that I did a series on this blog about using iPad as your only computer. In order to make that a success, you need some power tools. Automator has always been such a work horse on macOS. The app (yes, it is on your Mac too!) allows you to create menu actions, small apps and workflows to automate lots of tasks that would otherwise consume a lot of time. Renaming files, cropping and resizing pictures, combining PDFs, …

Apple never made Automator for iOS, but three young guys did and they named it Workflow. The app was recently acquired by Apple and they made it a free download from the App Store.

Fellow ADE Brian Foutty collects an amazing collection of Workflows on his blog that can seriously speed up your work on iPad. My all time favourite is the YouTube Downloaded. I know this is against YouTube regulation, but …

Not only does Brian list these Workflows, he also explains what they do. By doing that, he thus also teaches how to create your own workflows or tweak existing ones.

Read more about Workflow here.

Go to Brian’s website here.


Oh, and don’t forget to read his blogpost and Chromebooks and the new iPad!

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Listen to ‘The Wired Educator Podcast’

I strongly recommend this podcast by fellow ADE Kelly Croy. Kelly is an ADE from Oak Harbour, Ohio and teaches in Middle School. He is also a Keynote Speaker on art and education and published author. I had the privilege of talking to Kelly on Global ADE Institutes and the guy is truly inspiring.

Episodes of the Wired Educator Podcast are approximately one hour. Kelly had some pre-roll with follow-up of previous episodes and things he likes to share himself. The main feature of every episode consists of an interview with anyone interesting from the educational world. This can be an author, a classroom teacher, school leader, …

Kelly has the ability to find the right people for his podcast and ask the right questions. It is always a delight hearing his interviews.

On a personal level, it is also very pleasant for me to listen to this podcast since Kelly picks a lot of friends from the ADE community to interview. We don’t get a lot of opportunities to see each other, so this series sort of gets us back in touch.


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iTunes U courses by ADEs (and me too!)

The iTunes U catalogue contains some fabulous lesson ideas made by Apple Distinguished Educators.At the ADE Global Institute in San Diego last summer we were asked to design one great course to publish to iTunes U.

In the last weeks these courses are coming available here. Yesterday I received a very nice message saying that my course ‘Building Blocks of a Song‘ got published too. In this course, you learn all the necessary steps to record a pop song all by yourself. It cost quite some effort to get this thing ready. For me, it was a great experience to be part of a worldwide publishing.

Screen shot from iTunes U

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