Wednesday, December 27, 2006

Tips for teacher bloggers

Blogging teachers “welcome parents into their classrooms by facilitating active at-home participation,” says Dr. Tim Tyson, principal of Mabry Middle School in Georgia.

From the CEC Smart Brief:

Ed-tech author David Warlick sorts teachers who blog into three groups -- the independent, the professional and the instructional -- and offers school administrators tips on how to deal with each kind. He recommends establishing committees to develop policies that promote blogs as effective learning and communication tools. EdTech: Focus on K-12 (November/December 2006)
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FROM THE ARTICLE:
As blogging becomes more pervasive, schools have begun establishing ground rules for teachers who blog.


For the sake of this article, we will look at three categories of blogging teachers:

- independent teacher bloggers, whose writing is completely unrelated to their job with your school or district;
- professional teacher bloggers, who write in their capacity as teachers in your school or district; and
- instructional teacher bloggers, who blog as an instructional strategy, usually encouraging their students to blog, too.

If you deal with any of these types of bloggers, you’ll want to understand what they’re communicating and set guidelines.

DEALING WITH INDEPENDENTLY BLOGGING TEACHERS

- Urge teachers to blog and provide staff development.
- Produce a document that describes the legal implications of blogging and suggests proper and responsible practices.
- Deliver the message: “Don’t be stupid.”

For example, a list of blogging goals might include:

Teachers at Dreamland School District are encouraged to establish and publish through Web logs in order to:
- Promote the school, district and education profession as a critical and successful community institution.
- Establish productive communication between the classroom and home by providing ongoing information about instructional goals, expectations, policies and requests for support.
- Provide students with information that will help them be successful learners.

Teachers who blog are encouraged to publish information including, but not limited to:
- Weekly reports on what will be taught during the upcoming week, how it will be taught and why.
- Background information on topics currently being taught in the classroom, creating a context for students and for parents.
- Homework assignments.
- Descriptions of projects, including procedures, expectations, suggested parent involvement, assessment rubrics and links to last year’s projects.
- Achievements of students in the class, students in other classes, and other teachers, school support and administrative staff.

Finally, the policy needs a brief, clear list of prohibited activities:

Teacher bloggers will not use their blogs to:
- Conduct or promote outside business activities.
- Promote or advertise for commercial products unrelated or related to instruction.
- Defame or cause defamation of the character of any individual, organization or institution.
- Divulge any personal information about students, or jeopardize their safety in any other way.

DEALING WITH PROFESSIONAL TEACHER BLOGGERS

- Convene a committee and rewrite your AUP to reflect the read/write Web.
- Present the AUP to teachers in a proactive, promoting way.
- Select a blogging tool or service and configure it in order to leverage its best features for promoting the school’s mission.
- Provide professional development for blogging teachers.

For example, a list of blogging goals might include:

- Promote the school, district and education profession as a critical and successful community institution.
- Establish productive communication between the classroom and home by providing ongoing information about instructional goals, expectations, policies and requests for support.
- Provide students with information that will help them be successful learners.

Teachers who blog are encouraged to publish information including, but not limited to:

- Weekly reports on what will be taught during the upcoming week, how it will be taught and why.
- Background information on topics currently being taught in the classroom, creating a context for students and for parents.
- Homework assignments.
- Descriptions of projects, including procedures, expectations, suggested parent involvement, assessment rubrics and links to last year’s projects.
- Achievements of students in the class, students in other classes, and other teachers, school support and administrative staff.

DEALING WITH INSTRUCTIONAL TEACHER BLOGGERS

- Convene a committee to explore and write policies for student use of Web logs as an instructional tool.
- Select a blogging tool or service and configure it in order to leverage its best features for promoting student learning.
- Provide professional development that includes coverage of district policies, as wells as codes of ethics and laws.

3 comments:

Jason Falls said...

I have a friend who is a teacher. She is part of a group of friends I recently built a blog for, but she heard the word "blog" and insisted I remove all pictures, references to her, her husband, her children, etc. She said because of her work, she could get fired for being associated with the blog.

What advice would you give a teacher in her situation. The blog is intended for a group of high school friends, now in their 30s to keep track of one another, their kids, etc. There might be pictures posted (privately) on our Flickr account that has images of us with beers in our hands, etc., but nothing inappropriate or indecent.

I think she is massively overreacting because of her misunderstanding of what a blog is or can be and what her school districts policies (or lack thereof) might be.

ms.angala said...

Hi Jason,

Here is a list of guidelines that I believe are imperative if teachers are to have a positive social networking experience: http://thedreamteacher.blogspot.com/2008/07/busted.html

Staff Development for Educators said...

Nice post,It is very helpful tips for teacher bloggers.Keep sharing another article about teacher training.

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