Image courtesy of Alexander Baxevanis
Note: This is in response to the post I did yesterday about the ELT Research Blog Carnival. Some of you asked about another option rather than blogging since some of you don’t blog. I wanted to respond to that and to provide some options. Also, I recently read a post by Rose Bard about her blogging experience. You can read it here. I also read a post by Vicky Loras about PD and blogging. You can read it here.
In January 2012, I made a resolution that I was going to start a blog as well as join Twitter as a way of sharing what I was learning and to learn from other ELT professionals. Knowing how successful resolutions tend to be, I wasn’t expecting much out of it, but I was at least willing to make an effort to try and make it work. I was pleasantly surprised (and still am) that so many people would be open to reading, commenting, and sharing what I wrote. I was also able to meet some amazing people who have added to my growth as a teacher. With the amount of information that was out there, I never expected to be noticed. All of that is great, but what does blogging do for me and for those I keep in touch with? Here are some reasons to blog as a teaching professional:
- People can get to know you at a deeper level. I have really enjoyed meeting new people on Twitter, but it is through their blogs that I begin to know them at a deeper level. I somehow puts everything into context.
- People can learn from you. In an age where we are bombarded by so much information, we have to pick-and-choose who we are going to listen to. The combination of Twitter and blogging has helped me choose who I am able to trust as a content source. We all have different areas of experience and knowledge and it is helpful to share that with others who can also learn from it. I started blogging about education and technology and I was surprised that people from around the world would ask me questions that I thought was common knowledge. I would then blog on that topic and discovered there were many others who had the same question. Sometimes people don’t even know what to look for. By sharing what you know with those whom you have built a relationship with, others can make discovers and move on from there on their own.
- It makes you think about why and how you do things. Through blogging, I have had to contemplate why I do what I do as a professional as I put things into words. Just typing it out has made me stop and think and possibly reconsider why this is important to me.
- It builds a professional image. Blogs have become a way that future employers and others who wish to work with you can see who you are and what you believe and think. This is probably the scariest thing about blogging. Once it is out there, it is difficult to remove it. Think of this as an extension of your electronic portfolio.
- WordPress.com: This is where I have my blogs hosted. It is a free hosted blog site and is very popular with teachers.
- Blogger.com: This is similar to WordPress, but is owned by Google. If you already have a Google account (ie. Gmail, Drive, etc.), you already have access to a Blogger blog. Just set it up and go.
- Wikispaces.com: This is popular site for schools since you can have many people add or edit content, depending on who you allow in. This is also a good place to create an e-portfolio.
- PBWorks: Another wiki site that is popular in education circles. Fairly easy to use and set up.
- Google Drive: Again, if you have one Google account, you have access to online storage and document creation with Drive. You can collaborate in real-time on a document, or you can just share documents with others. You can also allow comments.
- Skydrive: This is Microsoft’s online storage and document creator. If you have an email account with Microsoft, you have access to Skydrive. You can also share documents you create with MS Word by sharing on Skydrive. It also allows comments from readers.
- WriteURL.com: This is a registration-free site that allows you to type up or paste in text with simple formatting and can then be edited by others or shared as a webpage. Simple and effective for those who don’t want to sign up for something.
- Evernote: This is what I use when I am taking notes at a conference, meeting, or when I am observing someone. I can then share my notes online (these are available to anyone with the link, but is difficult to find otherwise) and make changes when or if necessary. You can also share documents and webpages very simply. It is a free account and software for almost any version of computer, tablet, or phone.
- Google Keep: Using your Google account, you can post notes and other things, much like Evernote, but using the Google Keep website, Chrome browser, or mobile app.
- Microsoft Onenote: This is a part of Microsoft Office (not all packages) and is similar to Evernote but uses Skydrive to store your notes.
- Google Sites: This uses your Google account and is a simple way to create a static webpage.
- Tackk.com: A great way to create a single webpage that is easy to use and looks great. I wrote about it here.
- Crocdoc Personal: This site allows you to upload a document (PDF, Word Doc, etc.) and it hosts it for free. You can then share the web address and people can read it and make comments. This is a registration-free option.
- Google Drive: Upload a Word document or PDF and then share it with others. You can even allow others to make comments. It uses your Google account.
- Dropbox: This is an online (cloud) storage option where you can upload files and then share them. People can view your document online and download it. It requires a free account.
These are not all of the options, but it shows how easy it is to get your ideas out there. Find something that works for you. Let me know if you need any help. Thank you.