Blogging in NEISD has come a long way over the past couple of years. More and more teachers are realizing the potential of this powerful platform to truly transform current teaching practices. In the past, I have offered several 3 hour courses within our district and have not been pleased at all with the outcome. I soon realized it was way too much information for someone to process in such a short amount of time. Teachers easily became overwhelmed and, as a result, abandoned their blogging efforts.
This year I tried something new. I redesigned the 3 hour course into 5 one hour sessions. Each session is scheduled 2 weeks apart, which not only allows teachers to process new information, but also allows them to practice the new skills in an authentic way. Once they have had 2 weeks to complete specific homework assignments, they are ready to tackle new information during the next session. I can’t believe how much of a difference that made when trying to motivate teachers into trying something new. Almost all of the participants attended every single session and are continuing to maintain their blogs. Here is a brief description of what was taught during each session:
- Session 1: Setting Up Your Blog: Learn more about what a blog is and why educators have their own personal or classroom blog. Setup your blog, customize settings, and choose your theme.
- Session 2: Setting Up Pages: Understand how pages are used on blogs. Set up an About Me and Contact page. Learn how to create a customized navigation menu.
- Session 3: Publish Your First Posts: Understand how posts are used on personal blogs. Learn tips on writing effective posts and publish your first post. We will also cover appropriate commenting etiquette for you and your students.
- Session 4: Working with Widgets and Plugins: Understand how widgets are used on personal educator blogs. Learn about commonly used widgets and how to change/add to your sidebar. Also learn how categories and tags are used.
- Session 5: Cool Tools to Embed: Learn about easy to use online tools that you can embed into posts and pages to enhance the blogging experience.
During the last session, I asked the participants for permission to share their blogs with you. (Some were brave enough to say yes:) I’ve created a Thinglink to showcase their work and would love for you to leave comments in support of their efforts. I’m so proud of the time and energy each one of these educators put into improving their craft. Click here to check out the dates for the next NEISD Bloggin’ Boot Camp that starts this January.