June 28, 2006

Exc-el moving forward 4: Why would I write a blog?

Most folk tend to start off by explaining: “Who would ever want to read what I do in my job?” That’s a fair point. My tuppence worth into the debate is that blogging is not for everyone anyway. Not everyone can write or find their voice in the written word. Not everyone finds wreiting their thoughts down helps them to develop professionally or personally, although this is something I could now not go without doing.

There is some excellent advice on how to write well on the 'live web' in this list apart.

There is also some good advice from a business background that might help a Local Authority work out how to use blogging for a 'corporate' gain – and that would include bringing their employees together.

Exc-el is currently dominated by “diary blogs”, where teachers or managers explain what they do each day. I don’t know how helpful this is but, in the short term, it probably helps explain their job better. Don’s blog has recently moved more into thinking about why or how we do things, making some challenging reading for his staff. Alan Coady (pictured on left) runs a particularly fascinating blog, giving an insight to the world of the itinerant instrumental instructor, a lifestyle most teachers and students know little about.

Img_1694 Other blog types which are underexploited at the moment might be:

  • My new experiences
    Someone undertaking a new project or dimension in their job can write down the trials and tribulations, asking for advice and sharing discoveries. This is a bit of a learning blog as students or staff work out something new.
  • Info blogs
    Does what it says on the tin: it provides fairly dry info in brief form on what is going on in a particular school or cluster.
  • Best work blogs
    Students’ best work from one class, one year group or one school. This is probably the most accessible type of blog and, with a digital camera or phonecam in hand, any type of work can be recorded and displayed by the students themselves, with no need for teacher intervention.
  • Travel blogs
    Keep people in touch with field trips, like they do at MGS.
  • Creative writing blogs
    Building writing in small sections until you have a refined version, à la Progress Report.
  • Resources blog
    A department can categorise and upload their own resources or links for learning. No need for a webmaster or school website which doesn’t change. Files can be as large as required (Alan suggested podcasting would be a great medium for showing off musical concepts).

What other successful formats are there for blog writing?


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This is a very helpful piece for anyone thinking about what they might use a blog for and why on earth they want to think about doing it anyway! The article that you refere to is particularly helpful. As I am looking at starting this rolling with teachers in Renfrewshire it is a great launch pad. Thanks.

Blogs, writing and reading, are definitely not for everyone. But writing about what you do at work will (potentially) appeal to those in the same or related industries.

I read blogs related to ESL and education in order to get insights into what works for other teachers and ideas that I may try myself. Many of my blog posts are related to what I do in the classroom, education in general, or language. I often find the comments I recieve or read on other blogs helpful as they provide points of view that I may not have thought of on my own. Additionally many of my colleagues are not as active in their professional development as I am so it is good to be able to interact via the net with other professionals in my field.

Thanks for the mention, Ewan - nice alliteration by the way. What I was really trying to put across that day, although not very well, was the idea of a "learning zone" containing e.g. online aural training and theory of music workouts. These two areas tend to be marginalized in exams as they come under the banner of "supporting tests" and are therefore queezed in lessons so that time can be spent on other items. The truth is that they can be extremely time-consuming. This would be where the online training would kick in - pupils and parents could work through examples again and again until they increased in confidence.

I've been following your other articles with interest - nice writing.

All the best for the wedding!

Really, blogs are not for everyone at least because not all may express their thoughts by words. As for me-I may say that they even help me, because beginning to write about some situation sometimes I answer my questions myself. Being in the head-the thoughts are confusing and trying to resolve something I may forget a lot of facts which I thought some seconds ago! So I consider a blog be some kind of dialogue inside of me which leads to the truth and is written as a fact.

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About Ewan

Ewan McIntosh is the founder of NoTosh, the no-nonsense company that makes accessible the creative process required to innovate: to find meaningful problems and solve them.

Ewan wrote How To Come Up With Great Ideas and Actually Make Them Happen, a manual that does what is says for education leaders, innovators and people who want to be both.

What does Ewan do?

Module Masterclass

School leaders and innovators struggle to make the most of educators' and students' potential. My team at NoTosh cut the time and cost of making significant change in physical spaces, digital and curricular innovation programmes. We work long term to help make that change last, even as educators come and go.

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