The Future of K-12 Blogging

There are a couple of things that I think should happen with regards to K-12 blogging. I’d like to think that they will happen but the reality is that education does not respond quickly to new technology. We’re still not using computers in the classroom much better than we were when my son was a first grader 20+ years ago. We’re using them much better in school administration, just look at what you can get from a modern Student Information System today, but even there we are behind where we should or could be. But I’m an optimist so maybe by suggesting some things I can help make it happen a little sooner. So here goes.

  1. Every school principal and district superintendent should have a regularly updated blog. Yes I know they will say they don’t have enough time to keep one up but if you made attending school board meetings optional do you think your superintendent would still go? Darn tooting they would! And not just because they were not busy. Superintendents and principals need to realize that in today’s world communicating with the public is critical to their success. Blogs are a low impact (time wise) way of doing that. Blogging fits in the schedule when you assign it a reasonable priority. I suggest that a principal who wants to improve their school needs to have parents and the voting (especially non-parent voters) on their side. Blogging is a great way to do that.
  2. Every computer science teacher should have a regularly updated blog. Actually I would like to see every teacher have a blog but for the short term I will settle for computer science teachers blogging. There are several reasons for this.
    1. We need to build a community of practice in CS education. We need computer science teachers, who are generally alone in their building, communicating with their peers, sharing ideas, and supporting each other.
    2. The technology aware teachers need to set an example for the rest of the teachers. If they don’t use technology why should a social studies teacher?
    3. Most importantly, blogging is a wonderful way to share information with your students and their parents. Post links to extra resources along with a recap of a recent lecture. Give students an opportunity to comment on a current assignment or a recent test question. Expand the discussion and the learning outside the bell delimitated world of the classroom. Teach!
  3. School administrators and technology professionals have got to educate themselves about the Internet. They need to understand blogging, chat rooms, instant messaging, and other forms on Internet communication. They also have to learn the legal issues around Internet free speech, peer-to-peer networking and other related issues. Right now all too many of them are reacting in a knee-jerk fashion to things that come up. They are acting without understanding and that is leading to over reactions, embarrassing news reports and law suits, and missed opportunities to teach students. Any administrator who is forced to admit that their students know a lot more about the Internet than they do should be ashamed of themselves. Really ashamed. In fact they should feel about the same way they would if they had to admit that their students knew more about books than they do.

Can you see a school board keeping a superintendent or principal who didn’t know how to find things in a library or speak to a large group of people? I don’t think so. Being able to find things on the Internet and to use it for communication is that basic a skill and school boards should demand some level of knowledge and skill in those areas in their administrators.