Here is the write-up for the 2 hour Professional Development seminar that I ran today for 9 dedicated teachers who showed up on a sunny Saturday, after a full day of Pro-D on Friday.


Start Your Own Blog
A practical session that will introduce you to blogging.
You will see how others use their blogs and you will get a chance to create your own blog.
You will also learn just how easy it is to create links, add pictures and even movies to your blog.
Also, you will learn a bit about web2.0 and very easy to use tools that make your time on the web faster and friendlier.

Start Your Own Blog on Edublogs Wiki on Wikispaces

& a blog post with instructions on how to hyperlink, embed images and videos, as well as tag a post on edublogs,

Making a Splash with Your First Post

I did my best to make these resources that could be: a) used by others to structure their own Pro-D sessions; and b) used as a self help tutorial.

… any feedback would be appreciated.

The session went very well with the teacher participants asking great questions and showing enthusiasm. Overall, I spent too much time talking about the tools, and didn’t get onto creating their blogs until we were rushing against time. Feedback from one participant was that we should build the blog first, then talk about the tools- an excellent idea, and I will change the wiki sometime soon (well, not too soon, I’ve spent enough of my life collecting resources and building these tools over the last couple weeks!)

The power of WE: Special thanks goes to a few people who saved me hours of time by helping me out, and by having great resources already built, so that I didn’t have to create them myself.

• Kris (Wandering Ink) for helping me find worthy links for my example page: A variety of bloggers, blogging mostly about blogs and blogging. Kris also edited my ‘Making a Splash‘ post. I hadn’t published it yet so I threw it into a Google Document, where she edited it. We chatted on MSN throughout and then I cut-and-pasted the edited sections back into my post. It was easy to do – especially with our dialogue via chat. A teacher and a former student collaborating, (late on a Friday night), to create a tool for teachers, in a way that was impossible not too long ago… very cool!

• Cool Cat Teacher Vicki Davis for 10 Habbits of bloggers that win and How to comment like a king (or queen)… both great posts!

• Mike Temple for his blog Edublog Tutorials. This blog linked to another great resource: MSU (Michigan State University) video tutorial. Mike has done a great job with this blog!

Thank you to these people, and all the wonderful people that I linked to in on the wiki.

Start Your Own Blog Wiki -Table of ContentsPersonal Reflections:

-This was the first time I tried to do technology based professional development, beyond introducing a few tools to my staff, and I am happy with how things went.

-We only had about 1:45 minutes and this would be a great 3 hour Pro-D. A typical teacher blunder when trying something out of your comfort zone… pack too much in!

-As a mac user, I need to be a little more familiar with a pc lab.

-I really should have them make their blogs first, as was suggested.

-I only got the e-mail address of 4 of the participants and none of their new blog addresses- I’ll have to hunt these down for a feed I created. I think this is a good idea to offer support and community for new bloggers, and I should make the collection of this information more formal.

* I invite feedback on the Start Your Own Blog tools… and I hope that others will find them useful!



Originally posted: April 22nd, 2007

Reflection upon re-reading and re-posting:

Why on earth did I do a Pro-D on ‘start your own blog’ instead of on ‘start blogging with your students’? Of the participants, one started a blog with her students in an elementary school (in the interior of BC… I offered her some help last year, but have lost touch this year. I don’t think any of them maintain their own personal blog.

Tonight I commented on Darren Draper’s post: The Future of the Future of Professional Development. I actually participated in the first session of Darren’s OpenPD and spoke over Skype about my Science Alive Wiki (this was a live invite to share, not a planned talk). I also mentioned this in my Brave New World-Wide-Web slide show as part of being a networked teacher.

In the post Darren asks a few questions including:

  1. How do we transform OpenPD so as to attract the kinds of teachers that aren’t the most technologically savvy?
  2. How do we garner the participation of additional groups of teachers? Sure, individual participation from wherever you may be is fantastic, but a class of multiple classes would be ideal.

Here, in my comment, is one possible direction I could see Pro-D going if we want more people to engage meaningfully with technology:

If you want to capture a ‘new’ crowd then you need to offer them low-hanging fruit. Twitter has a difficult introductory stage. RSS takes time to develop… why not just have a few educators sharing with Google Reader on a resource wiki and let that be an initial introduction to RSS… challenge participants to add to the resource page.

I think wiki’s are a great entry point. They are easy to use AND when students begin to learn from their peers, or take responsibility for their own learning on a wiki that excites the teachers to want more!

Give them a project with easy-to-find success within reach. For example, a fully developed 2-3 week student project with rubrics they help develop (with your help too) – something with a start, and a finish, and a lot of opportunity to build student buy-in, to get support and to find success.

It is a fallacy to say that a networked teacher does less, or has an easier time engaging students… that takes hard work and good teaching. So, don’t pump-it-up as the greatest thing since sliced bread.

Instead, provide an opportunity for teachers to see and experience the transformative nature of these tools on LEARNING (as opposed to ‘teaching’). Once this happens it is difficult for a teacher to go back into their pre-technology cave of shadows… they’ll be hooked and they will seek out the new tools, and take the time to develop their own network.