|Graphic by marsmet451 used with permission under a Creative Commons license|
It's exciting to see educators' interest in blogging! I like to think of educator blogs as a world-wide ongoing professional learning conference where we can all learn from and support one another. The more people who contribute, the more robust the learning, and the greater the impact on our students.
So what can educators blog about? Here are some ideas from my own experience. No matter what type of educator you are - K-12, classroom, higher-ed, administrator, trainer, etc. - I hope the ideas below help you get past any writer's block you may experience now or in the future.
#1 Topic Tip: Blog About What You Know or Feel Passionate AboutThis might seem obvious, but it isn't. We often think what we already know is not very important or interesting. Surely if we are already certain of something, others already know about it, right? Not so fast! Take a moment to view this video. Then scroll down for some more ideas!
I love this video, and share it as often as I can. I hope it gets you thinking about things you know and how valuable those "obvious" things might be to others!
More Specific Topic Ideas
As you think about content for your blog, here are some topics you might want to consider writing about. Links are to example posts on my blog.
- A technology tool (program, app, website) you have trained others on or successfully used yourself or with your students. How did you use/implement it and what were the positive outcomes? Linking to or posting specific directions if you have time is a benefit to other teachers.
- A reflection on your own learning. Have you read a great article or blog post that got you thinking? Are you reading through a book on educational practice? Attended a conference or webinar? Taking a class or working on a degree? Or has life taught you a new lesson? The benefit of blogging about these experiences is it helps you retain your new learning and opens learning opportunities up to others. It also creates an opportunity for conversation. Our experience tells us that the majority of people learn better in community rather than in isolation.
- Notes from a webinar or conference you attend. I started putting my conference notes on my blog a couple of years ago, and it has been a huge benefit to me! Not only has it spread the learning to others who could not attend, it's also made it easier for me to find my own notes and opened up the conversation beyond the day of the conference. My notes posts are some of the most read on my blog.
- Resources that have been helpful to you. If you've been gathering resources for a unit you are going to teach or a professional development session you are planning, simply listing those resources can be of great benefit to you (you can easily find them the next time you need them) and to others who will appreciate the time you saved them and might become regular readers of your blog as a result!
- Information about a professional presentation you are making. Whether the presentation is being done at a conference or in a faculty/department/grade level meeting on your campus, posting the resources to your blog keeps them in a place that is easily accessible to you and your audience. It also lets others know where your areas of expertise lie.
- Advice. As you grow in your experience, you accumulate plenty of knowledge that can help others through challenging times. Don't keep all of that to yourself!
- A request for assistance/ideas. Starting a new project/unit/initiative and not sure where to begin. Even if there are tons of resources out there, it's often helpful to have folks who've gone before you give a little guidance. Don't be afraid to ask questions! (Having a Twitter presence really helps with this one, as you can send out a link to your blog post to get it some more attention.)
- A video that taught you something valuable. Chances are, if you learned something from a video, others will too! A blog post with the video embedded and a few thoughts on its value is a great way to spread the learning to others.
More Ideas & General Tips
- If you are still needing topic ideas or want support in establishing a blogging habit, try this 20 Day Blogging Challenge from 5th grade teacher Kelly Hines.
- Be careful not to reveal specific information about students, including their names, pictures, or work they have created. This is especially important if your blog is one not connected to your school district. Even if parents have given the district permission to post photos or other information about their students, that permission does not carry over to your personal blog. If you doubt that parents can be concerned about this, read or watch this news story.
- Also it is prudent not to speak badly of your employer, colleagues, students, or parents on your blog. Even in general terms with no names associated, you will lose respect from the education community in general and your immediate education community if you post on the negative side. Here is the story of a teacher who lost her job because she made comments on her blog which denigrated her students. Be professional and don't blog about anything that you wouldn't want colleagues, your students, and their parents to hear. Because chances are someone from those realms will find your words and read them.
Want Some More Advice?
Here are some valuable posts on the topic of educator blogging:
- And This is Why Teachers Should Have Blogs by George Couros
- Top Five Mistakes Made by New Bloggers by Sue Waters
- First Five Tips for Writing Better Blog Posts by Sue Waters
- Blogging Tips for Teachers by Angela Watson
- 11 Things You Should Know About Blogging by Richard Byrne
Now, Go Forth and Blog!
I hope you read something here that inspired you, whether you are new to blogging or have been at it for a while and just need some encouragement to pick it up again. If you are an educational blogger, I hope you'll share other topic ideas and a link to your blog in the comments below.
All original work in this post by Sandy Kendell is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported License. Please see specifics on my re-use policy in the right-hand column of my blog before re-posting/re-using any of my blog content.