Jenni’s question this week is one that needs more that 140 characters to answer.
I think we have to begin with why we even bother to blog. It begins with a fundamental belief that knowledge is to be shared and that learning comes from conversations. It isn’t enough to just learn any more. We need to learn, connect, reflect and share. We expect our students to do this every day. We need to model that for them.
We need to make our learning visible.
When we recognize blogging and sharing our learning as a priority, it becomes easier to do it.
Before blogging becomes a habit, though, professional learning needs to be a habit. This was stated nicely in #satchat today.
So how can professional learning become part of your life? Here are a few simple suggestions:
1) Listen to podcasts, all the time. I hate mundane tasks like vacuuming and raking, but plugged into a great podcast makes the chore simply listening and learning time. Suggestions? Get ASCD’s Whole Child Podcast on your iPhone, along with CBC Ideas, HBR Ideacast (great stuff for school and system leaders), Moving at the Speed of Creativity with Wes Fryer (once listened to these every commute – learned a ton from Wes), CBC Spark (I’m a bit partial to Episode 195!). Those are my favourites, but I could go on forever here with other suggestions.
2) Read your notes! How often do you go to PD sessions and take notes. Do you ever read them again? You should! As you learn and grow, some parts of previous learning sessions begin to make more sense.
3) Read great books. Don’t know where to start? Ask your PLN on Twitter. Some recent favourites? Intentional Interruption by Stephen Katz and Lisa Ain Dack, Professional Capital by Andy Hargreaves and Michael Fullan. I am certain your PLN can suggest many, many more.
4) Read other bloggers. Follow blogs that are being written by other great thinkers and educators. Ontario teachers can use this list to start: http://www.scoop.it/t/ontario-edublogs.
If you don’t have time to read a blog, you can always “listen” to one. Check out how Darren Kuropatwa uses his commuting time to work to post to his blog – “while walking“.
5. Enrol in a MOOC! There are so many MOOCs for learning out there. Try Coursera if you can’t find what you want elsewhere.
But what to share?
Sometimes things happen in your day that inspire a post about a topic you are learning about or that you want to explore further.
For example, this past week, I was explaining my new role in promoting digital learning throughout Ontario to my optometrist when he started into a rant on how we had better get Facebook out of schools. It reminded me of how much work we have to do to teach the public about the importance of digital learning – a blog post for another day.
Doug Peterson (@dougpete <– follow him) explains very nicely how he comes up with his blog topics here.
How can you organize your learning, your experiences, your blog ideas, your blog post catalysts? There are many tools available.
Recently, I have started using a free app called Notability.
I can organize it by topic.
When I synch it with my other devices, the documents download to my laptop in pdf format.
I also use my phone to record ideas while walking or hiking. Then, as I start to write the blog, I often switch to Evernote, which is synched across all of my devices and where I store and tag much of my online learning.
And sometimes I even use good old-fashioned paper when I am really trying to sort things out.
Most educators I know are trying to do too much with too little time. Having time to exercise, get outside, relax and heal has to be a priority. Sometimes, this is the best time to reflect and consolidate learning, and as you make connections, why not share those ideas with your colleagues when you get back? We are all learning together.
Start the conversation.
Royan Lee: Writing in Snippets ~ How I Blog