Three years ago, I began to blog about my journey to becoming a 21st century learner. At the time, I was comfortable with technology, but did little to integrate it into my teaching, curriculum or assessments. Throughout the years my blog has really evolved and now encompasses my thoughts about education and teaching as a whole. The evolution itself is symbolic of my journey into 21st century teaching as well as the development of blogging in my class.
Blogging also helps or, more accurately, forces me to reflect on my teaching. Self reflection is key to the development of any skill. Writing about my successes and my challenges helps me to sort out what works and what doesn't, but more importantly it asks me to reflect on why. Teaching isn't a job; teaching is a craft and as any craftsman will tell you skills are forged over a life time. It is easy to be swept up in the business of teaching (attendance, meetings, budgets, data), but blogging forces me to slow down my pace, reflect on my practice and hone my craft.
The biggest impact of blogging has been in classroom. Writing my own blog gave me the confidence to integrate blogging into my classroom. This process has evolved along the SAMR model over the past two years. My students first blogs were just a straight Substitution for journaling, but as I gave them more freedom and ownership of their blogs they grew. They have moved beyond the tool and are now focusing on communication, creation and most recently collaboration. Blogging has allowed my students to develop as writers, thinkers and learning.
It is has not been easy, but writing
is hard whether is it on paper or online. The difference is the students are writing for a real audience and about topics which inspire them. It doesn't matter if their passion is politics, snowboarding or Disney, they all have something to say when it is a subject they choose. As I look to the future, we are working toward Redefinition and my hope is students will be blogging with other students in other schools by this time next year.
Three years ago, I was reflecting on my journey to becoming a 21st century learner in an attempt to be a 21st century teacher, but as I reflect on my blogging excursion I realize my mission has changed. I have become both a 21st century learner and teacher and I am now attempting to redefine education for my students today and in the future. It's a lofty goal, but I know I am up to the challenge and I know I can strive to achieve it if I continue to write on!