Blogging in the classroom: a professional development scenario

Classroom photoProfessional development of teachers, especially in relation to integrating learning technology into the curriculum, is problematic. This scenario is intended to initiate discussion of some key issues and principles involved – what can go wrong? How do we ensure that professional development is effective?

Q: Mary, tell us about your school’s learning technology project…

Mary: Well, we’re meant to be using blogs in the classroom as part of our learning units. So if we’re doing a unit on families and communities, say, there’s a blog where what we find out is recorded on the blog with words and pictures, maybe even some videos of interviews. I guess the purpose is to make sure students develop some skills in using the technology…

Q: You say you are ‘meant to be using blogs’ – how is it working for you?

Mary: To be honest, I haven’t got started with it. I know some of the other teachers are probably doing great things – they’re very confident with using the technology but I’m a bit out of my depth. Sometimes I think the kids know a lot more than I do – scary! And I’m not sure how I’d manage the whole process, whether I’d need to upload everything into the blog or just let the kids do it.

Q: What professional development have you had?

Mary: We had a training session at the end of last year. Someone came in and did a demo of what you can do with a blog – I think it was a high school they had worked with, amazing stuff. They were obviously a real expert but some of it went over my head a bit, and I couldn’t really see how it would work in my classroom.

Since then I haven’t had a chance to get started with using blogs – the start of the year is very busy and stressful. But now the term is underway I’ll give it a go – maybe this weekend if I can remember what she showed us. It’s just a matter of sitting down and putting in some serious time – maybe I could check out the public library to see if they have any books on blogging. It’s all a bit daunting but I need to get started before my performance review at the end of term!

Professional development for teaching with technology

Photo: U.S. Census Bureau

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