I’ll start off with my bottom line. The be all and end all of everything.
This is a list of thirty practical reasons why your blog can become a powerful vehicle for self-expression, self-realisation, professional success, and socially-intelligent community-building.
I have reflected, experienced, experimented and questioned myself deeply in order to come up with these powerful results-oriented concepts on how we live and work the way we do, and why we live and work the way we do.
Our blogs and what we do with them may have much deeper implications than we realise and may serve as extensions of ourselves and who we are becoming from day to day.
What’s it all about?
The bottom line is CREATIVITY.
“Creativity is not a talent. It’s a way of operating”
When you start your first blog and publish your first article, you are putting yourself out there beyond the comfort zone. You are acting, exercising, and setting your difficult, quirky, off-beat thoughts and feelings free.
This is dangerous and exhilarating. Only dangerous if you refuse to recognise the new you typing itself onto the page, saying things you’d never have said otherwise.
It’s exhilarating when you realise that you are making a great difference……..
1) When you set up your blog, you think of a title, which forces to to define your niche area of interest.
2) As you define your niche area of interest, you come face-to-face with your underlying teaching values, the raison d’etre of your life as a teacher.
3) Your niche and purpose will mesh intrinsically & extrinsically to prepare you for sharing your message with the world.
4) Your classroom practice and experiences will take on new significance because now you can view your own work through fresh prisms of insight, your perspectives will have shifted beyond your moment -to -moment preoccupations, and you’ll be able to see yourself from a distance and question how you measure up to your own ideals.
5) Your professional radar for excellence will light up with every new opportunity to experiment, notice or engage in action-research, and these ideas and experiences will be published in your blog.
6) Beyond your ideas and experiences, a new approach will evolve. This approach will be your trademark, niche, personality, inspiration, and it will introduce fresh winds of change into the classroom.
7) You will be energised and strengthened by these new feelings, insights and results which will become the source of newer insights and a new educational series to be published on your blog.
8) Your energy and integrity will strike a chord in the blogosphere and others will want to do what you do, know what you know, and answer your call , the call to connect. This happens unknown to yourself.
9) You will be noticed and introduced to people you’ve always admired from a distance, you will network in exciting places, you will move beyond the blog – onto video, into webinars, conferences, and eventually books and publishing.
10) You will be empowered to set up online classrooms, courses, or professional development initiatives if you so wish, and, basically, move beyond yourself to …….
Make a difference…..
11) By providing informative, entertaining content for others to read, reflect upon and comment on.
12) By becoming a magnet to like-minded professionals who can resonate with you and your work and finally feel understood, inspired and connected.
13) By providing challenges (intrinsic and extrinsic) to those in your personal learning network through thought-provoking prompts, or step by step professional development initiatives.
14) By ‘forcing‘ people to respond because they can’t resist responding.
15) By pitching ideas, introducing controversy, igniting debate, fine-tuning your highest degrees of social intelligence, unleashing powerful, new community-building skills, and creating hubs of connectivity that will inevitably lead to exciting collaborations such as……
16) Reaching out to others through guest-blogging, community blogging, blog challenges, video blogging, interviewing, webinars, conferences, massive open online courses, collaborative school projects all over the world, and writing books with others.
17) By coming across rough patches, dry patches, temporary failures and dark moments in public, showing your human side, and showing others you won’t give up.
18) By getting up, by prevailing, and in doing so, inspiring others even more than you did in the ‘ spotlight of perfectionism’
19) By helping those who lose their way because you, too, have been lost before.
20) By inspiring others to find their own unique voices, to trust in their own values and to contribute towards the greater good, in order to…….
Make a difference…..
To the future of education:
(Top down & bottom up)
21) Academic bloggers can free themselves from stifling intellectual constraints by sharing their research and thought processes throughout the blogosphere. This will revolutionise the experience of academia and break down barriers across the educational divide.
22) Academic bloggers can remain creative and socially relevant by expressing themselves boldly on blogs, away from the restrictions of academic writing styles.
23) Academic bloggers can become known as experts in their fields and build up followings before they ever graduate.
24) Academic bloggers build up the kinds of socially intelligent and culturally sensitive skills that are often repressed in the stern halls of dark intellectualism.
25) New spectrums of learning will open up throughout global communities beyond ivory towers and socio-economic inequalities.
26) Grassroots teachers who have practical insights into classroom realities can share ideas through their blogs around the world and help each other. This is already happening at a massive rate, especially through the British Council Teaching English page on facebook.
27) Schools can set up class blogs and and inter-school blog challenges through school collaborations. This is also quite well-established and a wonderful platform which specialises in bringing schools together for blogging is ClubEFL. Here’s an example of a blog set up by an 11 year old child in Greece. Here’s another one. These were shared with me by Dimitris Aivazoglou, the creator of ClubEFL.
28) Governments will have to loosen their vice-like grip on outdated curricula impositions as teachers and students learn to bend local laws in the name of creativity and deep learning. They will be inspired and empowered to do this through creative ideas that are shared throughout the educational blogosphere. They will be able to teach with the coursebook and beyond the coursebook but not from the coursebook in ways that are unstoppable and untraceable by government agencies.
29) More and more teachers will become content creators, curate cutting-edge information online and work through online spaces accommodated by blogs. Schools, by default, will become more creative and adopt more flexible policies from the bottom up.
30) More stories will be told; teacher stories and student stories. More hearts will be reached, more breaking news scandals will be revealed by citizen journalist teachers and students, and learning through blogging will be a new way of life for all.
This will inevitably make a difference in lives, homes, families, schools, societies, policies…and more.
I’ll leave you with this presentation and webinar link from the Fall Blog Festival which inspired today’s post.
The slideshow is full of blog links and multi-media links to show you the philosophy and process of blogging and sharing to make a difference. To fully get into my train of thought and experiences, you can watch the webinar through the link on the last slide.
My points about academic blogging and the future of education were inspired by PhD bloggers who share the process of their work through their blogs.Two of these fascinating thinkers, Achilleas Kostoulas and Nick Sousanis have agreed to guest blogs and interviews with me in the near future – stay posted for some truly inspiring winds of change from our new generations of academics online;)
At the other end of the spectrum, I’m also hoping to interview some child bloggers in the coming months.Indeed, let’s keep writing out loud, and building new spectrums of communication where none existed before.
Finally, I truly believe that this list of 30 could be expanded upon and built upon by other teachers and bloggers out there, or that on a different day, in a different mood I could come up with 30 different ones.
I’d love it if other teachers added to my ideas in the comments below or in a new blog article – a kind of challenge?