Good afternoon! I’m taking this post to welcome visitors from the Texas Computer Educators Association Conference in Austin. I am lucky to have fellow teacher Kathleen Wotring presenting with me today in a session called, “Driving it Home With Your Classroom Blog”. I was running on the “Discover Your Destination” conference theme and probably got carried away with the driving and car metaphors. Kathleen was forgiving. J

To save trees and rely more on digital sourcing, the handout used today can be found here: TCEA Handout. The guide to building your own blog can be found in the reference pages under ‘Creating Your Own Blog’ in the right hand menu of this blog.

We actually have several goals for our presentation today. First, we want to present reasons for supporting blogging in the classroom environment. Secondly, we want to continue the discussion about the different ways a classroom blog can have a positive impact on the classroom. Thirdly, we will spend the last 25 minutes of the session walking through the blog setup procedure. This will be a mountain peek experience since blog setup can take much longer than 25 minutes. We want to provide the basic experience so the extremely cautious new blogger will feel more comfortable getting started when they get home.

The last goal is that we accomplish all of this in an easy, relaxed environment. Sit back and enjoy your stay and ask questions if you have them.

I’m looking forward to a week at the Texas Computer Educators Association in Austin. I was given the opportunity to give a presentation about blogging at the conference and asked a classroom teacher to present with me. There are over 20 workshops or sessions that deal with blogging in some way, which tells me there is still great interest in it.

I’ve been thinking about the things I hope to walk away with from the conference this year and what my experiences have been in the past. It does often seem that there are so many, “Here’s a hammer. Now go build something,” workshops. Yes it is important to learn how to use the new tools, but teachers often fall back on “But we have testing,” “I don’t have time for that,”  or “How will that really impact my students?”

Why should a test-centered principal really care about Web 2.0 or blogging specifically? A blog won’t teach Bobby how to multiply. A blog won’t teach anything.

To borrow from a bumper sticker, Blogs don’t teach kids. Teachers do. Differentiating today’s curriculum and providing a technology foundation is getting more difficult for the teacher every year. Teachers use many different tools to meet the needs of all their children, and blogs very possibly could help.

In our presentation this week, I will refer to the ISTE NETS for students because I think that they really answer many of the ‘why’ questions for using blogs in the classroom with students.  I admit I’m not Plato, I don’t quote the high and mighty, and don’t always think of Standards before lessons, but the NETS-S are great guidelines for planning and incorporating technology into your curriculum.  And, maybe you will also find a home for blogs as well.

If you are at TCEA 08, drop by 16B Thursday at 1pm and say “Hi!”