Blogs are just the coolest things, are they not? Each time I think I have my head wrapped around exactly how they might be used best, I stumble upon a diffferent approach…a different use of the tool…that opens up all sorts of new opportunities.
I’ve recently assumed a literacy and technology coaching position, and I’ve spent much of the summer learning all that I can about how to help the teachers I will be working with best over the next year. This sort of work is very new to me, and having the opportunity to learn from established literacy and technology coaches at the Communities for Learning Summer Institute was my first step in finding community with those who are far more experienced than I am in this role. With their help, I’ve begun to completely redefine my role and rethink what it might mean to truly “help teachers.”
In a recent session with teachers, conversation turned toward what it means “to be an expert” and while I said very little at the time, I know that this is something that I debate in my own mind on a fairly constant basis. The fact of the matter is that everyone is an expert, and one thing that I relish about the new role that I’ve assumed is the fact that I am not there to “hand” anyone “stuff”, as I was often expected to do in my previous life. In fact, I’m simply a part of the larger community, and while I may serve as the group’s leader, the expertise will be found within the membership of those that I’m working with. Continually defining, growing, and sharing our expertise will remain our greatest priority. In thinking about the year ahead, I wondered where I might be able to access models of this sort of learning…of this sort of “professional development.”
Enter the EDUBLOGOSPHERE.
This year, the teachers that I will be working with will identify one technology tool that they would like to gain a comfort level with professionally. The hope is that eventually, they will be eager to begin using the tool with students. Many teachers are interested in blogging, and this summer, I’ve begun introducing them to blogs that speak to their unique professional interests. They are beginning to study how different bloggers use the tool for different purposes, and they are considering the varied ways in which blogs might be used in their classrooms to promote literacy. What they will be able to discover on their own will be far more valuable than anything I might be able to deliver to them on paper.
I follow Paul Allison on Twitter. One of the cool things about Twitter is that edubloggers often draw their followers’ attention to interesting posts by “tweeting” when they update. This has proven quite helpful to me in my quest to connect teachers with bloggers to follow. Paul’s blog, New Journalism, is unique in that he uses it to “collect his thinking” rather than “organize it”, as many bloggers do. I’ve shared his blog with teachers as an example of what one could do as a blogger, but it is such a profound example of what we all need to begin doing as teachers and thinkers and learners. His most recent post exemplifies all that I’ve rambled on about here quite succinctly. It had me thinking all over again about what we assume we know, what we really know, and who the experts are.