Focus on your school!

As I caught up on two weeks’ worth of blog reading tonight, a few thoughts struck me (yes, that’s all ;^). First, I’ve seen an increase in the number of school-based educators writing online, but it’s still not enough. The ed-blogosphere is dominated by people who don’t work in schools, and I want to hear about what teachers and students are actually doing in schools. So if you blog and work in a school, please keep writing about what is actually happening in your school!

Second, if you blog and work in a school, please remember that you have the most impact in your school! Fortunately, most school-based bloggers I follow seem well-rooted in their schools, but a few seem to have forgotten their local context when writing. It’s okay if you only post a blog entry once a week (or fewer). We know that you are spending your work hours meeting with teachers, keeping up a computing infrastructure, helping students, or building a new tool.

This past week at Catlin Gabel, our new Global Connect site gained its third, fourth, and fifth groups. We created Global Connect in order to have a Catlin-hosted, but not Catlin-branded, place to group blog for global ed. The site was originally for exchanges, but now pre-trip planning groups have also joined. I figured out how to use taxonomy access control lite to give groups the choice of whether they wanted their discussions to be public or private. Interestingly, the two groups actually talking with students in other countries opted to go private, whereas the three groups using the site for pre-trip planning went public. We’ll see whether that distinction holds up going forward. Next, I need to put a public commenting system into place, so just hold your horses (or use the contact form) if you were hoping to post a comment.

global connect

One man’s struggle to restore real-world issues to the core of the school program took another step forward this month with the launch of the Economic Crisis Reading Group moodle site. This one is private (sorry, legions of interested members of the public). 34 students have signed up for the Moodle course, which includes news and discussion about the most compelling post-inauguration teachable moment of the year. I hope this takes off, to prove that students are indeed interested in chatting online about serious issues in a school context.

moodle screen shot

This week will be dominated by (yet another) presentation, this time to our board of directors. Seriously, it’s been a great year for our IT team to discuss social networks and other compelling issues with teachers, students, and parents in the school community.

3 comments

  1. blogging2work says:

    hi, nice topic. nice to know you…..

  2. Steve Taffee says:

    Richard – I think there must be something in the air that is contributing to the buzz in schools about social networking, blogging, Google Docs, wikis, and the like. I have not felt this excited about the development’s in educational technology in some time. I can feel the same excitement in your blogs about what’s happening at C-G.

  3. Barbara Cohen says:

    Thanks for the reminder…and gentle nudge…encouraging recalcitrant site-based bloggers like me to get back on the blogging train. I can’t wait to hear more about Global Connect and your student reading group, Richard. Keep us posted!