Dan Meyer has been looking back at his short, albeit significant career as an educator. Someone left a comment wondering what he would attribute his growth over the past few years.
In a word: “blogging.”
In seven words: “blogging and probably using a digital projector.”
The digital projector opened up my classroom and practice to visuals, which was a profound, if rocky and still ongoing transition.
But blogging was the cheapest, most risk-free investment I could have made of my personal time into my job. You start by writing down things that are interesting to you, practices you don’t want to forget. And then you start trying new things just so you can blog about them later, picking them apart, and dialoging over them with strangers. Periods of stagnancy in your blogging start to correspond to periods of stagnancy in your teaching. You start to muse on your job when you’re stuck in traffic, in line for groceries, that sort of thing. That transformation has been nothing but good for me and it all began on a free Blogspot blog.
Whenever I ask my pre-service teachers or classroom teachers to blog, it comes with a variety of reasons and purposes. Not everyone uses a blog to be reflective, but reflective practice in isolation has its challenges. There’s nothing like a solid testimonial like this to once again point to the value of open and transparent exchange of ideas. This is also why I often hesitate to suggest twitter to folks wanted to engage with other educators. Not that it has less value but there’s no way twitter can replace blogging as a form of reflective practice. I don’t suspect many use it that way but when it’s referred to as "micro-blogging" I get a little worried about that comparison. Blogging isn’t about building a sizeable audience necessarily. It’s about finding enough critical friends to make you work at getting better. Thanks to all who have done that for me.