13 May 2014

Teaching and Blogging, Blogging and Teaching

Does anyone care? If so, they are few. Am I wasting my time? Probably, unless it's somehow cathartic. Why do it? Maybe it feels like productivity even though it's procrastination.

I'm talking about my blog. Each of my posts gets an average of 20 hits, except for the time I made Harry Potter Monopoly and I became a minor Pinterest celebrity. (That's an exaggeration, but I did feel pretty cool when my wife's coworkers showed her the design on Pinterest and she said, "My husband was the designer. He made it for me.") So, occasionally, I reflect on the questions above. I suppose I blog because it's cathartic to get my opinions off my chest without inflicting boredom upon my friends and family members. Then again, there's a little more to it.

I blog because no one else does.

No, I'm not saying there's a shortage of teacher blogs, but I originally started blogging because I couldn't find any online resources for my subject areas. Back then I was teaching CTE Intro, but now I'm exclusively Graphic Design and Multimedia, which is fairly rare in junior high. I felt (and still feel) a bit like a pioneer in introducing younger students to the graphic and media arts, I might as well share what I learn so if, by some miracle, a similar teacher discovers this, they might not make the same mistakes I made.

Of course, a quick googling of the topic has led me to Digital Art Education, which apparently has a ton of crossover with graphic design. On page two of the search I found Mrs. Dahl who is sharing a lot of her students' art/design work.

Now I wonder if I tried very hard to find resources back when I started this blog.

I blog because I agree and disagree with people.

I peruse the app Zite quite a bit, following Education, among other things. In that perusal I stumble upon articles that I agree or disagree with, and rather than count myself among the numberless rabid commenters, I instead place myself in the pool of rabid bloggers.

For example, today I stumbled upon a New York Times article/debate, Teaching Code in the Classroom. I already camp on the side of yes, and the writers merely confirmed my position. Ready for rabid reaction?

Dvorak says that it's a scam, that it's a ploy by computer companies to sell more computers to schools. That's completely ridiculous! Districts pour boatloads of money into more computers in schools, with or without coding curriculum, and I don't think schools would need more computers if they did choose to teach coding. He states, as if it were a fact that he's personally aware of, "These kids ultimately end up spending more time posting pics on Facebook, giggling over online gossip, and watching cat videos. All these things are a waste of time and pathetic." Maybe he's using language specifically to incite a reaction, or maybe he's really that obtuse. It's such a ridiculous, wrong, generalized statement that it warrants no rebuttal.

Jose Vilson, on the other hand, argues that it opens doors, and that it should be considered right alongside STEM. In my opinion, it already is. The T is for Technology, code should simply be taught with technology. Either way I agree.

Why am I ranting about whether code should be taught when this is a post about why I blog? Well, let it be a sample of why I blog. Online comment sections are cesspools. I'll spare you the explicit analogy description.

I blog to reflect.

I know that some famous author has a great quote about writing and I'm going to paraphrase and butcher it because my google skills aren't helping me find the real thing: I don't write to tell how I feel, I write to discover how I feel. I used to journal a lot for the same effect, but if it's education-related, there's something mildly exciting about the chance that someone reads your thoughts and opinions. Maybe I'm just a part of Generation Me.

I blog because it's required.

Working on my undergrad, one of my classes required a weekly reflection post about things we learned. A year ago I was working on leveling up my teaching license, and one of the requirement options was to blog. Now that I'm in the throes of grad school, once again I'm required to blog (this post is the first assignment for one of my classes). I'm ok with that because it just gives me more incentive to write. It feels less like a waste of time because other students will be required to read my nonsense.

On that note, I'm required to share links to some other educational blogs. I've provided a few, but I'll throw some more out there to make sure I get all the points I need:

  • Free Technology for Teachers - I follow this guy on Facebook and his posts show up in my feed. Usually the tech doesn't appeal to what I'm looking for, but occasionally he'll share something I pick up.
  • Blend My Learning - I often tout the blended model, and this blog shares a lot of interesting information about it.
  • Hack Education - Just discovered this today as a part of this assignment. This blog may incite a few 'agree' posts from me in the future.


  1. I like the advice that this famous programming blogger gave.

    I should start a blog -- even if no one reads it, at the very least it will help me improve my writing skills.

  2. I look forward to your blog, Richie. The nerdier, the better. Unless you go into too much programming detail, in which case I wouldn't understand anything. Oh and that link was top notch. Inspired me to keep writing.